Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Anti-LGBTQ industry blames trans policy for school assault. But the policy did not exist at the time of the incident.

The transgender bathroom predator lie has been called out many times over the years. But that doesn't stop the anti-LGBTQ industry from continuously repeating it.

 Here we go again:

Right-wing media have seized on a report of a sexual assault at a high school in Loudoun County, Virginia, to attack trans-inclusive bathrooms, often suggesting that a policy in the school district opened the door to predators in girls’ bathrooms. In reality, the policy was not in effect when the reported sexual assault occurred, and it is always illegal to assault or harass someone. 

 On October 11, right-wing outlet The Daily Wire published a story about the reported assault and interviewed Scott Smith, the victim’s father, who was arrested at a June 22 school board meeting after an altercation. 

 In the article, Smith seemed to acknowledge that the suspect might not have been affected by the district's trans-inclusive policy, which allows students to use facilities that align with their gender identity. He said, “The person that attacked our daughter is apparently bisexual and occasionally wears dresses because he likes them. So this kid is technically not what the school board was fighting about." However, he then seemed to blame the policy, saying, “The point is kids are using it as an advantage to get into the bathrooms.” 

 However, the policy was passed by the school board on August 11 -- months after May 28, when the assault was reported to have taken place, making it impossible for the suspect to have used the protections “as an advantage to get into the bathrooms.” 

 The myth that trans-inclusive bathrooms allow predators to attack women has been repeatedly debunked; additionally, assaults and harassment are already illegal regardless of whether bathrooms allow trans people. In fact, the suspect was later charged in a second assault in Loudoun County that was reported to have taken place in “an empty classroom.” The suspect has now been arrested and detained in juvenile detention. 

 The Washington Post has noted that authorities have not confirmed the gender identity of the suspect or that they were wearing a dress but identified as a boy.

Media Matters goes on to call out the right-wing publications and activists who spread the lie about the incident, none of which have issued a clarification.

This is second time in which the conservative propaganda and the anti-LGBTQ industry have been caught spreading false stories about trans students or policies designed to help trans students. In June, The USA Today published an expose which pointed out that bills pushed by state legislatures which banning trans athletes from girls sports were based upon lies and misrepresentations.

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