Those who read this blog know that I am not a fan of hate group the Family Research Council. But this one time, I will give the organization props for pointing out - in its own way - a positive development on an incident I earlier wrote about:
LGBT activists bullied a local news station into deleting a news-breaking story and reporting their version of events instead. On September 28, 2022, WCAX-TV interviewed a high school volleyball player at a high school in Randolph, Vermont, who along with her teammates was barred from using their own locker room because they felt uncomfortable changing in front of their male teammate, a boy who identifies as a girl.
That was FRC's rendition of the situation in question but like so many other times, the group plays fast and loose with the the truth. From the Vermont news source Seven Days:
WCAX-TV has quietly erased from its website and social media accounts a September 28 news report about a transgender volleyball player at Randolph Union High School. The story went viral among conservative media outlets and was condemned by LGBTQ groups and allies. But on Tuesday, links to the controversial story and a recording of the newscast from that night went instead to a page that read "404/Not Found." When Seven Days asked about the missing content, WCAX news director Roger Garrity said the station took it down last week "to prevent others from using our reporting to attack people in the transgender community.
The original article was poorly written and didn't even include information from the trans student or her family. Because of this, the narrative was that cisgender girls were barred from using the locker room because they said they felt uncomfortable with changing around the trans student. This rendition was shared on several right-wing websites. Even Franklin Graham gave his un-asked-for two cents:
WCAX's initial story reported that the Randolph Union High School girls' volleyball team had been banned from its locker room while school officials investigated a conflict involving a transgender athlete on the team. But the piece featured just one interview with a first-year volleyball player, who said a transgender teammate made "an inappropriate comment" and that "biological boys" should never be allowed in a girls' locker room.The story quickly went viral on right-wing websites such as Fox News, Daily Signal, the New York Post, the Daily Wire and the Epoch Times. Shortly after, the Randolph school district was forced to disable its website after it was hacked and inundated with hate speech targeting transgender people.
The trans girl's mother went to Seven Days and complained that the WCAX article was wrong. She said her daughter was the one who was being bullied.
The mother said her daughter was actually the one targeted, by several girls on the team, and that the school closed the locker room while investigating the incident in order to keep everyone safe. Orange Southwest School District superintendent Layne Millington, who said he was unable to comment about the details of the investigation because of federal law protecting student information, confirmed part of the mother's account in an email to Seven Days. The locker room was shut down "to ensure student safety while the investigation is conducted, and the shutdown applies equally to the entire team," Millington wrote.
According to the initial Seven Days article:
One week before the WCAX report aired, she said, her daughter was changing in the girls' locker room before volleyball practice when three teammates started yelling at her to get out and to stop looking at them. Her daughter hadn't encountered that kind of open negativity about being transgender since moving to Randolph in eighth grade, the mother said, so the aggressive comments came as a surprise. The girl had also previously changed in the same room as her teammates."She never really felt unwelcome or like she didn't belong," her mother said. After being yelled at, the girl went into a locker room bathroom stall to change. She wasn't sure if she was supposed to put on her team jersey, so she popped her head around the corner at one point to check with her teammates. The girls started yelling at her again. When the transgender student walked into the gym after getting changed, she encountered the volleyball coach, who told the girl that she had overheard what had happened and was planning to report the incident to the school administration.Two days later, an administrator called the mother to tell her that three people reported that her daughter had been bullied and harassed. As a result, the school was launching an investigation. The administrator also told the mother that the girls' volleyball team could not be unsupervised in the locker room until the investigation was completed.
In spite the truth being known, FRC continues to make it seem as if the LGBTQ community bullied WCAX into changing its story:
It’s clear who’s bullying whom here. The political power in Vermont is all on the side of the transgender lobby. National heavyweights came in and pummeled a local TV station, which is probably operating with a shoestring budget and a skeleton crew to remain profitable. They not only forced them to delete the offending story but insisted on crafting the apology that the local station would be forced to recite. This is the grown-up equivalent of sitting on a smaller kid before locking him in the janitor’s closet. The LGBT lobby has lots of power, but, somehow, they insist on always being the victim.“Why are you bullying me?” they cry, as they punch another kid with his own fist. Note how men are victimizing women (again), but the transgender narrative twists the facts into the opposite interpretation. Note how swiftly and ruthlessly they suppressed this story from the single news outlet brave enough to report the girl’s side of the story. Note that what offended the powerful transgender lobby was not a right-wing smear campaign, but the simple, honest reporting of the facts.
It's ironic how the Family Research Council is accusing others of playing the victim while hogging up centerstage in the arena of self-pity. What happened was that a news organization published a badly-written article which presented an inaccurate view of a controversy. This article went viral after being shared by entities exploiting the incident for their own twisted purposes. The news organization recognized its error.
A trans student sharing a locker room with other female students (as she had done before with no issues) was this time being bullied.
A school official - her volleyball coach - saw what happened and reported it to school administrators.
The school launched an investigation and because of the investigation, the volleyball team could not be in the locker room unsupervised.
Again, according to the initial Seven Days article, school officials tried to keep the locker room open by having adults supervise the students, but they were unable to because the story had gone viral and things got really ugly. The school district's site was hacked and defaced with profanity and awful comments about trans people.
It's mind-boggling to read FRC's deliberate twisting of the incident and the concern it claims to have for what the group deems are the victims here.
It's gaslighting to the highest degree.
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