5 Things That Pissed Us Off Last Week: Conservatives Cry 'Trans People are Rapists Ruining Thanksgiving,' And More…
Welcome to our weekly round-up of the most infuriating bits of news from the past seven days. We'll be providing a retrospective on the most heinous, crazy-making bits of anti-LGBT news that came across our radar last week. Our hope in doing this isn't only to darken the skies, but also to sound the alarm about the kind of idiocy that passes for "legitimate commentary" these days. Expect a healthy dose of snark in the following paragraphs — sometimes it's the only way we can get through the day.
5. Croatians Vote to Ban Marriage Equality
While we here in the U.S. LGBT community continue to make strides at the ballot box — turning the tide for the first time in 2012 in favor of marriage equality when put to a popular vote — the majority of voters in Croatia would rather see their gay and lesbian countrymen and women relegated to second-class citizen status.
At least, that appears to be the result in the primarily Catholic country's first citizen-vote initiative since its 1991 independence.
More than 65 percent of Croatians voted to amend their national constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage, according to an Agence France-Presse story reported by our sibling site The Advocate.
Despite sizable protests against the amendment pointing out doctrinal hypocrisy and calling for acceptance of LGBT people, the Catholic Church's well-funded "vote Yes" campaign proved successful. Though as the photo above illustrates, the messaging on those billboards didn't go unchallenged — notice the letters "DISKRIMI" before the word "Nacija?" I don't speak Croatian, but I'm pretty sure I can infer the meaning of that graffiti.
4. Validating Trans Kids Reveals 'Demon of Rape'
Noted homophobe and disgraced former Navy chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt has recently expanded his vitriol to encompass not only gay and lesbian people but transgender youth and the people who support them as well.
On his program Pray In Jesus Name last Tuesday, Kligenschmitt reiterated a transphobic line of thinking that previously led him to declare that a transgender teenage girl using the women's locker room at her school was tantamount to the teen "visually raping" her classmates. Last week, Klingenschmitt directed his misinformed hatred at a Colorado family who successfully fought for their six-year-old daughter's right to use the bathroom that corresponds with her gender identity at her elementary school.
Coy Mathis made headlines earlier this year when her family filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, contending that Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain, Colo., a suburb of Colorado Springs, abruptly denied Mathis the right to use the girls' bathroom after she'd been using the facilities without incident for a year. In response, the divisionissued a landmark ruling declaring that Mathis, and other transgender students enrolled in public schools, have an unalienable right to use the bathroom that reflects their gender identity.
But Kligenschmitt, who has adopted the nickname "Dr. Chaps," doesn't see Colorado's history-making decision as good news.
Consistently mispronouncing Mathis — who was assigned male at birth but has identified as female since she was 18 months old — Klingenschmitt claims that the Mathises are abusing their child by validating her identity as a girl.
"He's being abused by his parents," Klingenschmitt said, according to video posted by Right Wing Watch. "These abusive parents now have used this little boy to try and claim that he's a girl to try and tell the world that they ought to let transgender adults into your little girl's public bathrooms!"
"There is a demon of rape inside of this movement," he continued, that intends "to violate your daughters."
Watch Klingenschmitt's transphobic rant below, clipped by RWW, despite the chaplain's repeated but unsuccessful attempts to get the right-wing watchdog group's YouTube account shut down with bogus copyright infringement claims.
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3. Oregon 'Christians' Pushing 'License to Discriminate' Bill Equate Gay Couples Who Want Wedding Cakes and Photos with Neo-Nazis
Because if there's anything that's sure to demonstrate your rational, tolerant theological position, it's a haphazard comparison to Adolf Hitler.
The Oregon Family Council is still trying to manage vicious (and well-deserved) backlash after one of its leaders claimed that asking Christian businesses to provide services to same-sex couples was pretty much the same as asking a Jewish baker to produce a cake with a swastika on it for neo-Nazis.
That's the reasoning presented by the communications director for the Oregon Family Council in an interview the Oregonian newspaper late last month. The Oregon Family Council, in case you're unfamiliar, is the religious group pushing to add a broad stipulation to the state's nondiscrimination ordinances that would allow any individual with a sincerely held religious belief to deny service to anyone who offends their biblical view of the world. (AKA: Queers. And probably Muslims.)
Oregon's Jewish leaders responded angrily to the comparison, sending out a joint letter that called the comments an "insult to the memory of those who perished" in the Holocaust. The Jewish coalition also rightly called out the group for using "one of history's greatest atrocities to forward your political agenda."
The Council's president came to the defense of his communications director, saying she made the comments "in the contact of an example of rights of individual conscience." And in case that didn't convince you, President Jack Louman promised "the example was not meant to offend you or anyone else and as such will not be used in the future."
So glad the Council finally figured that one out. Too bad there wasn't anyone on staff who pointed out that there is precisely ZERO equivalency in requiring businesses to obey state nondiscrimination laws and serve law-abiding, taxpaying citizens in mutually consenting adult relationships, compared with asking a religious business owner to serve a group of people who openly call for people of that faith's execution.
"Here you’re making a comparison between a hate group that supports the elimination of Jews in the world and a couple that wants to sanctify their marriage," Rabbi Michael Cahana of Congregation Beth Israel in Portland bluntly explained to the Oregonian.
2. Macy's Single-Handedly Destroys Thanksgiving With 'Drag Queen Show'
Before old Saint Nick had even made his way into New York's Herald Square, conservatives were distraught by the decision of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2013 to feature a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical in its lineup.
Of course, that award-winning musical happened to feature a drag queen, so the baby Jesus wept.
Kinky Boots tells the story of a struggling shoe factory owner who teams up with a drag queen to save his business, and is infused with a delightful message of acceptance and celebration of diversity. But the meaning behind the musical cast's performance during the parade seemed to be lost on many who left a flurry of furious posts on Macy’s Facebook page.
"Macy's worst decision ever with your cross dresser show on Thanksgiving, you've completely removed the family part of thanksgiving," Adam Cervas posted on Macy’s Facebook page. "Absolutely disgusting, whoever made that decision should be fired."
"EPIC FAIL on the drag show Macy's!" Amy Stradling also wrote. "This is supposed to be wholesome family entertainment! Boo!"
"Not happy with the drag queen show," Andrea Latta Hardgrave added. "Not a conversation I wanted to have with my five year old on thanksgiving morning. NOT COOL!"
Watch the patently (not-so) offensive performance below, and see if you, too, end up clutching your pearls.
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1. Florida Tea Party Leader Will Be Damned If She's Ever 'Forced to Hire… A Purposeful Butch-Looking Female."
Leave it to the Tea Partiers to illuminate the truly heinous and homophobic reasoning behind right-wing opposition to common sense legislation like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The proposed law, which has been languishing in Congress for nearly two decades, would make it illegal on a federal level for most employers to fire, refuse to hire, or decline to promote someone based solely on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Despite the fact that a vast majority of Americans believe it's already illegal to do that, ENDA just passed the U.S. Senate for the first time in history last month.
So when a Florida group of gay Republicans sent out a press release applauding the 10 Republican senators who voted for the bill, the cofounder of Tea Party Fort Lauderdale was quick to dismiss the praise from what she called a "thug group" that has taken over the county's Republican party.
"We must fight [ENDA] with all we have," warned Danita Kilcullen in an email obtained by the Sun-Sentinel just before Thanksgiving."I'll be damned if I will ever be forced to hire someone with orange hair, body/neck/face covered with tattoos, multiple piercings, or a man in a dress... or for that matter, a demonstrative effeminate male or purposeful butch-looking female."
Of course, even the most fabulous "effeminate male" or "butch-looking female" can attest that an employer could skirt these issues legally by implementing an across-the-board dress code that could, feasibly, prohibit the display of visible tattoos, piercings, or bright colored hair. (Much to the chagrin of this tattooed, pierced, previously purple-haired queer lady…) But that would be too easy, too logical for Tea Partiers, right?