Focus on the Family and the Delaware Family Policy Council (Focus' affiliate in the state) are teaming up to fight basic protections for transgender people in the one way they believe to be effective. The groups are hauling out an old ad that suggests recognizing transgender people and offering basic protections will lead to men who identify and present as male scaring little girls in the restroom:
This is one of the other side's lowest efforts. And that's really saying something, considering the reliably low attacks we've come to expect from the self-identified "pro-family" community.
What transgender people seek is the right to simple peace of mind—the same peace of mind that so many cisgender people take for granted. This peaceful sense of being doesn't come at the expense of anyone else. In fact, what really threatens the well-being of communities is forcing men and women to use facilities that are incongruous with their identities and/or expression!
But as groups like Focus and the DFPC attack the simple right of transgender people to walk through this world without added harassment and discrimination (and with a layer of deserved protection) without ever mentioning the welfare of the human beings at the center of this debate. Yet again, our opposition—the very opposition that is often handily paid to discriminate against us in law and public opinion—frames their side as the "victimized" one. They know that focusing on the transgender people who are forced to either comply with misgendering or face penalties would make them look as discriminatory as they are attempting to be, so they instead bring in distractions. Bring out the male-identified-male scaring a little girl into a bathroom stall.
And then there's the predator factor. Just as fully as they've tried to position themselves as the victims, the other side has been on a multi-decade drive to frame LGBT as the predators. It used to be more overt, with old school LGBT rights foes coming right out and calling us predators. Nowadays, it's more subtle. In other debates, they use words like "indoctrination" to suggest that adult LGBTs are preying on young minds. In the transgender debate, it's most always this bathroom thing. Without hesitation or scruples, they connect all transgender people to people like the man in this video. Don't be fooled—they want to solidify that connection in your mind. They want the ill will that comes from such a connection. They do this stuff because they want people to believe it!
This is why we must be even more active in holding these groups accountable. We can't just tell each other that we are on to their games. We can't just roll our eyes when we see them hauling out these same ol' tired and offensive tactics. We have to call it out. Shout it, even. We have to stand up and speak out so that we can connect dots with a public that may not follow this stuff as closely as we do. After all, the folks in the moveable middle are who groups like Focus on the Family are really targeting in this debate. We have to be just as active in letting those on this receptive middle ground know what exactly is going on, why it is going on, and how damaging it really is to good and decent men and women who simply want to live their lives.
LGBT people are not predators and anti-LGBT activists are not victims. If the latter camp wants to drag this debate into the toilet, then we must step up and flush their foul attempts to hurt good, decent, and vulnerable Americans.