“In 2010 the key social issue in Michigan for the Republicans is to push back or stop or reverse LGBT issues. The Republicans are going to make this an issue. They feel that they can frighten the average person that these transgender individuals are coming into their homes, their bathrooms, and have the rights to do what they want. It’s the old fear tactic.”

~Phil Volk, chair of the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender and Ally Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party

What can one say when a candidate singles out a vulnerable population for specific discrimination? There is a Republican candidate for Secretary of State who has specifically called out specific discriminatory action against vulnerable population of trans people. From the Michigan Messenger‘s Paul Scott targets transgendered people in race for Secretary of State:

State Rep. Paul Scott, (R-Grand Blanc), announced his candidacy for the GOP nomination for Secretary of State just five days ago, but he’s already caused a shock wave.Thumbnail image: Official Paul Scott for Secretary of State Weblog

Scott, who just completed the first year of his first two-year term in the state House, is rankling feathers with a promise he made in his Jan. 15 announcement letter, which listed four top policy priorities, including:

I will make it a priority to ensure transgender individuals will not be allowed to change the sex on their driver’s license in any circumstance.

In an interview with Michigan Messenger, Scott said the issue was about “values.”

“It’s a social values issue. If you are born a male, you should be known as a male. Same as with a female, she should be known as a female,” he said.

Reading his announcement letter, he only has four campaign issue talking points, and trans discrimination is point number three:

There are also policies that I will work to change:

• I will stand strong against illegal immigration by verifying a valid social security number before issuing anyone a driver’s license, an issue Representative Dave Agema has been pushing for 3 years.

• I will actively push to encrypt the traceable RFID chip in the enhanced driver’s license.

I will make it a priority to ensure transgender individuals will not be allowed to change the sex on their driver’s license in any circumstance.

• I will work tirelessly to repeal the over $100 million dollar tax increase on drivers in the form of driver responsibility fees.

After traveling around the State the past few months, I have not heard any of the other candidates for Secretary of State addressing the serious issues mentioned above.

Seriously, if the candidate had like a dozen or so talking points instead of just four, then the antitrans stance would be bigoted, but it wouldn’t be highlighted as so bigoted. However, making antitrans discrimination one of his four major campaign issues tells us something particualrly untoward about this candidate’s character.

To me, it’s just incredible that this candidate feels so strongly about not allowing trans identified people to change their driver license gender makers that he includes it in his top four campaign issues — basing his position as being “a social values issue.” Doing some extrapolating about how him being a Republican, and likely wanting to appeal to the “values voters” in his party’s base, he likely also likely would side against lesbian, gay, and bisexual civil rights as also being social values issues.

However, trans people are just such a small, vunlnerable, and easily victimizable minority population that he doesn’t perceive a downside to stating:  

I will make it a priority to ensure transgender individuals will not be allowed to change the sex on their driver’s license in any circumstance.

Who knows — maybe it’s just that there are so many lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in Michigan that prioritizing discrimination against lesbian, gay, and bisexual people that it isn’t enough of a “win” tactic to put it into his top four campaign issues. Or, maybe the candidate is calculating a public stand on a T-related issue because he knows it’s a possible divide-and-conquer issue in the LGBT community. Emoticon: A animated smiley of banging one's head into a wall God knows trans people get to see some LGB folk not willing to stand as brothers and sisters with trans people, such as thoughts recently expressed by Ronald Gold.

I believe we can safely guess though that this candidate isn’t pro-LGB and anti-T. I also believe we can safely call a candidate that makes discrimination against trans people one of the top four issues of his campaign — such as candidate for Michigan Secretary of State, Paul Scott — an unabashed bigot.

So, I don’t feel uncomfortable at all calling State Rep. Paul Scott, (R-Grand Blanc) an unabashed bigot — would you?  

Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen