Nel's New Day

May 8, 2016

Altercation over ‘Potty Police’

It’s Mother’s Day, and conservatives are working to convince mothers that they aren’t safe in bathrooms at Target stores and in states that don’t prevent trans people from using the facilities that match their identity—and appearances. When one considers the way that anti-trans activists are behaving, all women might worry about going into public bathrooms. One example is comes from the ultra-religious American Family Association, that is sending men into women’s bathrooms at Target.

According to AFA’s director of governmental affairs, Sandy Rios, the group is asking men to go into women’s bathrooms to build the AFA boycott against a company’s policy that customers can use the bathroom where they think they belong. AFA’s premise is that there will be “trauma, certainly for little girls [by] having men dressed like women coming in their bathrooms.” Therefore, AFA are going into these restrooms to frighten people—create “trauma”—instead of using the restrooms for their intended purpose. By now, however, AFA has gotten such bad publicity about doing this that they are denying that they have promoted this shocking behavior.

AFA is also announcing that they have over 1.2 million “pledges” to boycott Target, and news outlets in our post-fact world are publishing AFA’s press releases instead of investigating the facts. According to The Daily Beast, AFA used the online form Wufoo, owned by SurveyMonkey, which fails to check if the emails are related to real people. Different investigators have each signed the pledge with multiple emails, both real and bogus. The submissions are all accepted because there is no direction to “Allow Only One Entry Per IP.” Anyone can set up a robot to enter emails, resulting in the 1.2 million “signatures.” AFA also does not display any names of signers, nor do they send written confirmations to them.

Those earnest people who plan to shop at Walmart, recommended by Faith Driven Consumer, show that company policies don’t bother them. Walmart has had nondiscrimination protections for its trans employees since 2011. The same people may already be shopping at Walmart because the prices are better and the stores are more accessible. AFA-based Mississippi has 80 Walmart stores but only six Target locations in the entire state. Alabama has six times the number of Walmart stores as Target.

In answer to objections from protesters, Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder stated: “We certainly respect that there are a wide variety of perspectives and opinions. As a company that firmly stands behind what it means to offer our team an inclusive place to work — and our guests an inclusive place to shop — we continue to believe that this is the right thing for Target.” She added that people uncomfortable using their multi-stall restrooms are welcome to use the stores’ single-stall/family restrooms.

target

 

Continuing the obsession with bathrooms across the nation, Kansas legislators have introduced a “spot a penis win prize” bill that will help students pay for college tuition.  If the bill becomes law, schools can be sued for $2,500 every time a trans student walks into a facility “designated for use by the aggrieved student’s sex.” The bill even has a four-year statute of limitations, one year longer than child molestation has in former House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s state of Illinois.

jessica rushMen now feel free to go into women’s bathrooms on the belief (pretense?) that they saw a man go into the facility. Afraid that Jessica Rush was peeing in the wrong bathroom at Baylor Medical Center in San Francisco, a man barged in after her.  Rush, born female, was wearing basketball shorts and a T-shirt from her alma mater, Texas Tech. With her bleached blond fauxhawk, she has been accused of being a man in a woman’s bathroom before. Trying to take advantage of these accusations, she decided to use the men’s restroom when the woman’s facility was full and immediately got thrown out. Men quickly figured it out and yelled, “Whoa, there’s a chick in the bathroom! Get out, get out!”

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While conservatives worry about the nonexistent trans “predators” in bathrooms, they protect their own molesters. About serial child molester Dennis Hastert, GOP colleague Tom Delay wrote that he “has never disappointed me in any way.” He also tried to justify Hastert’s “transgressions” by doing is when he was “a young man.” Yet Hastert was still molesting young boys when he was over 30 years old.  Former CIA director Porter Ross wrote about Hastert, “Perhaps, the Speakers greatest gift to the House was trust.”

Republicans who vilify trans people who just want to pee give enormous privilege to those who display “Christian” piety. DeLay explained that Hastert “loves the Lord [and] gets his integrity and values from Him” because Hastert started a lunch-time Bible study for his colleagues. Protestants have been outraged at Catholic Church leaders who hid child molestation, but they allow their own to hide and continue their crimes under the guise of religion. In the Christian religion, repentance exonerates the criminal.

April 30, 2016

Bathroom Laws Endanger Transgender People – Take Action

 

Fear is a driving force for conservatives, according to studies using brain scans. The amygdala, an area related to fear, is larger in conservatives, causing them to be reactionary rather than thoughtful. Other studies examining skin conductance and eye tracking show that conservatives focus on negativity when they walk into a room, searching for anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. Imaging that tracks oxygen in the blood can identify racial bias. Identifying these physical differences explains the deep divides among people on hot-button issues such as war, abortion, immigration, and same-gender marriage. And transgender people.

transgender girlChristian Extremist and president of a theocratic law group named Anita Staver, president of the Christian extremist Liberty Council, claims that she will be carrying a firearm with her every time she uses a public bathroom. Texas police officer Tracy Murphree, sheriff candidate in Denton County, said he would beat any transgender woman in a public restroom with his daughter until she lost consciousness. Corey Maison (left) is one of the transgender women Murphree threatens.

Conservatives can get over their fears, but unfortunately, they must overcome their initial reactions, hard to do because of the bombardment of conservative media. Fox network continually stokes fears of sexual assault and misbehavior in restrooms, including a fake story about a transgender student harassing females in her school’s restroom. Other media outlets including The Daily Caller, WMD, and the Media Research Center, promote the myth that sexual predators will use gender-neutral bathrooms to prey on women. Yet the 17 states and 225 cities with nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people have not experienced one situation that the conservative media describes.

As Chad Butler, the District Attorney of Nashville (TN) who has prosecuted hundreds of sex crimes, explained, sexual predators are overwhelmingly “heterosexual men.” Butler added that the bathroom debates distract people from real dangers. “A majority of my cases are fathers, stepfathers, uncles, Boy Scout leaders, coaches, youth ministers, preachers. People that are already close to the family that the family trusts,” Butler said. (Think Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the U.S. House.)

North Carolina’s law further legitimizes harassment, discrimination, and bullying. Since the law passed, transgender suicide hotlines have gotten twice as many calls as usual. When young people are denied access to a restroom that aligns with their gender identity, their rates of suicide go up because these laws perpetuate feelings of isolation and depression. Trans students run a high risk of verbal harassment and physical assault or violence in gender-segregated restrooms. Trying to avoid these problems, about half of them experience a health problem such as a urinary tract or kidney infection. These students also tend to drop out of school because of harassment or become homeless because their parents reject them.

People say that they don’t know any transgender people, but more than two-thirds of all transgender people in the U.S. hide their gender or gender transition to avoid discrimination. The vast majority of transgender people are harassed at work; nearly half say they were not hired because of their gender identity; and one-quarter say they were fired because of who they were.

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 02: Actress Nicole Maines (R) and Wayne Maines attend the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 2, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for GLAAD)

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 02: Actress Nicole Maines (R) and Wayne Maines attend the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 2, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for GLAAD)

An excellent book about the trauma of being transgender and conservative parents growing to understand this complex issue is Amy Ellis Nutt’s Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family. A conservative couple discover that one of the identical twin boys they adopt is trangender, and they grow to accept Nicole’s transition, to the point of supporting her through a lawsuit against Maine for equal rights at her school.

Nicole’s father, Wayne Maines, wrote the following in response to a vicious attack ad about transgender people from the Ted Cruz campaign after Donald said that transgender Caitlyn Jenner could use any of his buildings’ restrooms that she wants. Cruz spreads the myth that predatory men pretending to be women will be allowed to assault “your daughter” and “your wife” in women’s restrooms.

“Like many people, I have stayed out politics for the most part, being focused on raising my family, working hard, saving for retirement, and helping our country grow. But it is impossible to sit back and watch people not only make mistakes based on their unfounded fears, but use other groups as fodder for political gain at the expense of real peoples’ lives, in this case transgender people. My daughter is one of those people, and Mr. Cruz, you have put her in harm’s way with this ad, just like those in Houston last year and in North Carolina and other states this year. It has to stop.

“I will be honest. It was not long ago I had a hard time saying the word transgender, but watching my child suffer, watching grown men and women lose their perspective because they feared my child, forced me to dig deep into my core and address my fears, educate myself, and get to know more about the transgender community.

“Mr. Cruz, I would be happy to sit down with you and have a ‘non-politically correct’ conversation. Man to man, father to father and if you have the courage to do so, I may help you conquer this fear. I have witnessed young people and adults demonstrate more courage than you and I can fathom, courage that inflicted scars that can be avoided if we have the courage to change. As someone who wants to  lead of our nation, I imagine that is your goal, but for moment forget about politics and think closer to home. This is no game and you are playing with people’s lives.

“I hope that you never have to lay awake at night wondering if your child will be alive in the morning.  Not just one night, many nights.  I am worried about this election and the path you are taking. If anyone should be worried about his or her child in the bathroom it should me. I am worried about my daughter’s safety and her self esteem. I am worried that all of my family’s hard work raising strong and proud young Americans will be destroyed this fall.

“On a larger level, I am worried about a nation that could lose its way as it struggles to make progress for all. I am worried about leaders using fear and misinformation for political gain.  It is ok to ask questions, not understand something you have no experience with, or even be afraid, but keep an open mind. Let’s conquer this fear and get back to fixing our economy, strengthening our military, and helping our children obtain the tools they need to live full and happy lives.

“I left the Air Force in 1981 proud of my service because I believed in our President. President Reagan said, ‘Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.’ I still believe what he said. But it is tempered by life experience. I have learned more about freedom watching people attack a community of Americans that just want live their lives in peace, work, and be with their loved ones.  They are not attempting to break down the American family; they are not trying to pretend to be someone they are not; they are not “confused.” They know who they are and what they stand for. I hope everyone running for President has the courage to dig deep and realize that our family values must continue to adapt to an ever-changing world.”

Maines said, “It is natural to fear things we do not understand. But how we react to those fears is critical.” You can take part in the movement to stop laws that put everyone at risk–both transgender people and everyone else perceived to be of the “wrong” gender that a bathroom.

 

Tell North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory to overturn the law.

McCrory’s office phone number: (919) 814-2000

McCrory’s 24-hour “comment line’: (919) 814-2050

Write Gov. Pat McCrory and tell him that his new law is not “common sense.”

Tennessee’s new law allows counselors to deny services based on their “strongly held beliefs.” It is the only state in the country to invalidate the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics.  Tell Gov. Bill Haslam that he was wrong to sign this bill.

Across the nation, over 100 anti-LGBT bills are pending in 22 states. There is a way to stop this discrimination: adding federal nondiscrimination protections to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through the Equality Act. Democratic House members are calling on House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) to schedule a hearing on the bill that was introduced last July. When Paul Ryan (R-WI) took over as Speaker of the House, he called on committees to “retake the lead in drafting all major legislation. If you know the issue, you should write the bill. Open up the process. Let people participate.” The Equality Act has over 210 co-sponsors in the House and Senate, including two Republicans. Three years ago, the Senate passed a bill that would have barred discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace, but the House never took it up. Tell your representative that you want this bill to go to the floor.

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