Michelle Duggar, the matriarch of TLC's reality show 19 Kids and Counting, is robo-calling Fayetteville, Arkansas to warn locals of the "dangers" of the city's proposed anti-discrimination law. Fayeteville Flyer broke the news.
Should the law be enacted, an appointed Fayetteville staff member will work in response to any discrimination complaints regarding housing, employment, and other public services in the city. Citizens would be protected on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, veteran status, or socioeconomic background, in addition to the state's current laws covering age, ability, race, and religion.
Under the proposed law, those who commit such acts of anti-LGBT discrimination may face fines. According to a recent HRC survey, a full quarter of Arkansas' LGBT community have experienced anti-LGBT employment discrimination. At present, citizens of Arkansas can be fired, denied professional advancement, and even be evicted simply for identifying as LGBT.
Michelle, whose son Josh is the executive director of the notorious anti-LGBT Family Research Council (FRC)'s legislative affiliate, narrated a robo-call funded by an affiliate of the Arkansas Family Council (and thereby of FRC), urging her fellow statesmen to protest the ordinance. Michelle's recording is a cocktail of misinformation and convoluted assertions (I hesitate to use the word "conclusions," as it implies logical connections were attempted at some point). She says, in part:
Hello, this is Michelle Duggar. I’m calling to inform you of some shocking news that would affect the safety of Northwest Arkansas women and children. The Fayetteville City Council is voting on an ordinance this Tuesday night that would allow men – yes I said men – to use women's and girls' restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas and other areas that are designated for females only. I don’t believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls. I doubt that Fayetteville parents would stand for a law that would endanger their daughters or allow them to be traumatized by a man joining them in their private space. We should never place the preference of an adult over the safety and innocence of a child. Parents, who do you want undressing next to your daughter at the public swimming pool’s private changing area? I still believe that we are a society that puts women and children first. Women, young ladies and little girls deserve to use the restroom or any other facility in peace and safety.
In addition to missteps such as misgendering trans women and confusing gender identity with "adult preferences," Mrs. Duggar makes the bizarre mental leap that somehow protecting the LGBT community from unwarranted evictions and terminations will lead to convicted felons stalking new prey. Not to mention her fascination with the false idea that LGBT adults are preditory. Not only does Michelle voice the Arkansas Family Council's and FRC's anti-LGBT animus and undying dedication to inciting baseless moral panic, but perhaps above all else, they have teamed up to demonstrate a complete ignorance about the issues at hand—namely, a lack of basic legal protections and respect for various members of Arkansas' community.
“I am sure that some of the concerns out there are held in good faith, but the organizations perpetuating this fear know the truth,” said Alderman Matthew Petty to the Flyer, who is behind the proposed protections. “They are spreading this misinformation because they are skilled political strategists and they believe it is an effective proxy for their bigotry.”
The Fayetteville City Council members are scheduled to vote on the proposal tonight.