Monday, August 10, 2020
We Are The New Wedge Issue
A group of social conservatives wants the president to embrace anti-transgender issues to reverse his sagging poll numbers. Some Trump advisers think it’s political suicide.
Friday August 7
By Gabby Orr
Next week, APP [American Principles Project] will debut two ads in battleground Michigan that accuse former Vice President Joe Biden, who has generally used his platform to promote protections for LGBTQ youth, of endorsing “gender change treatments for minors,” including surgery and hormone therapies for transgender youth. One of the ads, featuring former drag queen Kevin Whitt, warns that children “need time” to develop a stable sense of their gender. “As a young teen, I felt I should be a woman,” Whitt says. “Seventeen years later, I felt I should be a man again. Treatments to change the gender of a minor are very dangerous and irreversible.”
For some conservatives, the idea of using transgender athletes to win an election looks like a final suicide mission in a war that has already been lost.
For years, it seemed like gay marriage would be a winning issue for the right—Republicans at the state level passed a raft of gay marriage bans in the presidential cycle of 2004—and then, just as suddenly, it wasn’t. The 2015 Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges capped a seismic shift in public opinion on the issue—effectively ending a messaging battle religious conservatives had spent years waging.
The rights of transgender people, it appears, have followed the same trajectory. In 2016, after eight months of bitter national coverage of North Carolina’s transgender bathroom ban, which required that public restrooms be designated for use based only on one’s biological sex, numerous boycotts and an estimated $196 million in lost tourism revenue, voters washed their hands of Pat McCrory, the state’s incumbent Republican governor who had staked his career on defending the law. Then four years later, conservatives watched with dismay as the Supreme Court again ruled in favor of the LGBTQ community. And it was Justice Neil Gorsuch, supposedly a conservative stalwart, who wrote the majority opinion affirming sexual orientation and transgender status as protected categories against workplace discrimination.
All the while, public opinion was moving dramatically in favor of gay, lesbian or transgender politicians and away from laws and policies treating LGBTQ people differently. Two months after the Trump administration’s transgender military ban took effect last year, a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute showed two-thirds of Americans opposed the policy, including 47 percent of Republicans—up 10 percentage points from when Trump announced the restriction in 2017. And when Pete Buttigieg, the openly gay former mayor of South Bend, Ind., was still competing in the Democratic presidential primary, 70 percent of voters said they would be open to electing a gay president.
Even in these vastly different responses, there lies a recurring theme: Just because Trump hasn’t used transgender issues as a wedge yet, that doesn’t mean he won’t ever. Trump is, after all, an opportunistic creature at his core. All it might take is a case as button-pushing as Colin Kaepernick’s protest to incite him.
Read the whole article. A very well written piece that will help all of us realize what is at stake in the next election. Be visible. Be proud, Be active.