Wednesday, August 09, 2023

Conservatives relied on transphobia for Issue 1 in Ohio to pass. They never stood a chance.


The above nauseating campaign ad was an unsuccessful attempt by Ohio conservatives to convert anti-trans hysteria into a win at the polls even though trans issues didn't have anything to do with the vote at hand. 

 Allow me to move backwards. First let's talk about the vote which took place Tuesday night. 

 Ohio voters on Tuesday resoundingly rejected a Republican-backed measure that would have made it more difficult to change the state’s constitution, setting up a fall campaign that will become the nation’s latest referendum on abortion rights since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned nationwide protections last year. The defeat of Issue 1 keeps in place a simple majority threshold for passing future constitutional amendments. It would have raised that to a 60% supermajority, which supporters said would protect the state’s foundational document from outside interest groups. 

 While abortion was not directly on the special election ballot, the result marks the latest setback for Republicans in a conservative-leaning state who favor imposing tough restrictions on the procedure. Ohio Republicans placed the question on the summer ballot in hopes of undercutting a citizen initiative voters will decide in November that seeks to enshrine abortion rights in the state. 

Issue 1 had nothing to do with trans issues, but its supporters, hoping to capitalize on the anti-trans sentiment taking place in states and their legislative bodies across the country, said that it did.  A right-wing organization, Protect Women Ohio, ran commercials such as the one above and brought in Republican personalities such as former VP Mike Pence and Kari Lake to repeat false talking points about how Issue 1 would lead to "trans ideology" forced in classrooms and "sex changes" for children.

It didn't matter that none of this was true.

Issue 1 supporters even held a religious rally Sunday before the vote:

Prominent activists are urging Ohio voters to support a measure that would require constitutional amendments to pass with support from 60% of eligible voters, warning that parental rights and the safety of minors hang in the balance as voters are also scheduled to weigh in on a ballot measure that would establish a right to abortion in the state. 

 The advocacy group Catholics for Catholics held a Prayer Rally to Save Ohio’s Children in Norwood, Ohio, Sunday. The event took place two days before Ohioans are scheduled to go to the polls to vote on the fate of Issue 1, a referendum that would require proposed constitutional amendments to secure 60% support from voters to take effect instead of a simple majority. 

 The purpose of the rally was to encourage Ohioans to Vote “Yes” on Issue 1. As explained by Catholics for Catholics, “Issue 1 is part of a fight culminating this November over a ballot measure that would enshrine abortion in the Ohio Constitution and limit parents’ legal right to consent to what procedures are done to their children.”

One of the speakers was Chloe Cole, a woman who claims that she was trans but detransitioned only after surgery to remove her breasts when she was a teen. Her story has yet to be verified, but still Cole has made a name for herself by testifying in front of legislative bodies for laws which would deny trans kids any form of gender-affirming care.  She is supposedly suing Kaiser Permanente healthcare system, but others have pointed out that the lawsuit is highly suspect.

At the rally, she tailored her story as a reason to pass Issue 1:

Cole added that several states have passed measures banning sex-change procedures for minors in state legislative sessions before warning that the failure to pass Issue 1 might result in the erosion of “the victories that we have achieved.” She called on attendees to “let this state be an example for Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and the rest of the country that is so grappled by the pseudo-science” behind the push to provide children with irreversible gender transitions. 

 “Children are relying on us, as parents, older brothers and sisters, educators, doctors, as adults to guide them towards a healthy adulthood filled with opportunity,” she added. “I hear a lot of talk in this state about Issue 1 and reproductive freedom but that seems to end when we start talking about the fact that children are having their right to reproduce taken away from them with sterilizing drugs that are used to convert healthy girls and boys into just a mimicry of the opposite sex. Where are their reproductive rights?”

And now we are back where we began. Issue 1 never stood a chance because voters simply didn't buy it. And folks on Twitter were quick to point out how badly the anti-trans angle failed:

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