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Religious Right Counting on Transgender Horror Stories to Stop ENDA

Andrea Lafferty

As the United States Senate gets closer to a vote on ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act), religious right groups are pulling out their trusty “do you want your children taught by crossdressers, drag queens, and transgenders” card.

Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition (who always seems to be strangely silent except when folks start talking about ENDA) had this to say:

Andrea Lafferty tells OneNewsNow that the first impact might see transgendered people teaching in public schools. “We believe that children need a psychologically stable and emotionally secure environment to learn,” says Lafferty. “And that is not the case when you put individuals who struggle with gender identity [into classrooms].” She argues that transgender people are “psychologically unhealthy individuals” who shouldn’t be “forced on children and parents” in schools around the country.

And of course the Family Research Council gets into the act via an email alert which spun other tales of lies:

ENDA would force religious business owners and workplaces such as Christian bookstores, religious publishing houses, pre-schools and religious television and radio stations to accept as normal any employee who has had a sex-change surgery, any employee who has changed or is “transitioning” their public “gender identity” (regardless of whether they have had surgery or hormone treatments), transvestites (people who dress as the opposite sex on an occasional basis for emotional or sexual gratification), and drag queens or drag kings (people who dress as the opposite sex for the purpose of entertaining others).

Making matters worse, “perceived gender identity” status does not require sex-change surgery, so ENDA would allow some biological males (who claim to be female) to enter and even appear nude before females in bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers. Situations like this have already been reported in several states with ENDA like laws such as Maine, Colorado and California.

We had better get ready to hear more of this junk. It’s all a matter of fear tactics.

Regarding “religious business owners,” that’s too broad of a field for my taste. Anyone employed in or owning a secular business should not get religious exemptions, no matter what their personal beliefs may be.  Tax dollars are being used to protect these businesses, i.e. the police department and the fire department, etc. And the last time I checked, LGBTs pay taxes.

Regarding bathrooms, locker room, and showers, let me ask you one question. We hear horror stories of what could happen, but have we ever heard any actual stories of things like this happening. Notice how FRC is deliberately vague about that. I can honestly tell you that here in Columbia, SC where there is a trans-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance, we have never had these problems. Transgender men and women aren’t predators. They aren’t trying to “sneak a peak.”  They go about their business not trying to draw attention to themselves . . . just like everyone else.

Now about the biggie, i.e. schools employing transgender teachers. Let’s ask ourselves an honest question about that? Just what harm would it do to children? Is there any case of children being harmed by being taught by a transgender teacher. Goodness knows, there are more than enough cases of parents freaking out over the possibility. But has the possibility ever become the actuality?

In 2010 Lafferty actually tried to dig up cases of children being harmed by transgender teachers. She cited three. However, as with the case of so many religious right spokesperson, she gave the cases inaccurate spins. I took it upon myself to dig deep and found that none of the cases involved children being harmed. In fact, what actually happened was that many of the children and their parents supported the teachers and a lot of the controversy and angry noise came from folks who didn’t even have children attending the schools.

But who cares about truth, huh? It’s a sad day when those who call themselves Christians and children of God appeal to fears and distortions rather than truth and love, especially to deny their fellow men and women their God-given right to equality.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding