How Trump Will Fail Transgender Youth – My Latest Article For The Humanist

Last Wednesday the Trump administration overturned Obama’s transgender student protection directive, which ordered schools to let transgender students use whatever bathrooms and locker rooms match their gender identities. Thirteen states sued the Obama administration soon after the directive was issued in May of last year, and then federal judge Reed O’Connor of Texas issued an injunction to block it. According to the New York Times, President Trump had decided to leave the injunction in place, but then changed his mind and overturned Obama’s directive altogether.

It’s been reported that the Trump administration sees trans-bathroom rights as a state issue, not a federal one, hence the decision. “Schools, communities and families can find—and in many cases have found—solutions that protect all students,” said Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Many conservatives, including Students and Parents for Privacy member Vicki Wilson, applauded the president’s decision to protect girls from sharing bathrooms and locker rooms with young men who they say are “struggling with these issues” (even though, as I’ve mentioned before, trans people are not confused). DeVos says anti-bullying policies will still remain intact, but is that enough to protect trans youth? Studies suggest that anti-LGBTQ legislation does the exact opposite.

A study recently published in JAMA looked at the relationship between legalized same-sex marriage (prior to the 2015 Supreme Court decision) and suicide attempts among LGBTQ youth. “Same-sex marriage policies were associated with a 7 percent reduction in the proportion of all high school students reporting a suicide attempt within the past year. The effect was concentrated among adolescents who were sexual minorities,” the study reports. “As countries around the world consider enabling or restricting same-sex marriage,” the researchers conclude, “we provide evidence that implementing same-sex marriage policies was associated with improved population health.” While the report only focuses on marriage equality and not transgender bathroom policies, this study suggests that government limitations of LGBTQ rights in general further stigmatize LGBTQ youth and could lead more LGBTQ youth to attempt suicide.

Click here to read the rest.

Are LGTBQ Rights Trump’s Next Target? – My Latest Article for The Humanist

During his first weeks in office, President Trump signed several executive orders for an Environmental Protection Agency media blackout, a ban on funding global organizations that either perform or mention abortion, and the now-infamous “Muslim ban.” Several in the LGBTQ community are worried that their rights are next on the list, especially after an anonymous White House official told the news site New Civil Rights Movement that Trump would overturn Obama’s 2014 anti-discrimination protections.

Last week, however, the White House released a statement assuring the public that Trump will keep Obama’s non-discrimination order intact. According to the statement:

President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community. President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election. The President is proud to have been the first ever GOP nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression.

While this may give some a sense of relief, it doesn’t negate the fact that the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) is still on the table.

Click here to read the rest

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Sargon of Akkad Needs A Safe Space: How The American Humanist Association Upset The Donald Trump Of YouTube

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[Picture credit: Problematic People]

So last week I wrote a satirical article for TheHumanist.com suggesting that we ban white cisgender men from public bathrooms because, statistically speaking, they’re more likely to be rapists than transgender people. All my friends got the joke, as did the editors of The Humanist. However, if your read the comment section, it appears a lot of people didn’t get the joke. Now as a writer, I’m always open to constructive criticism, and perhaps they’re right and I didn’t make the joke obvious enough. Nevertheless, both the article and the AHA’s new focus on social justice have greatly upset the seedy underbelly of the anti-SJW Internet, including the Donald Trump of the YouTube, Mr. Sargon of Akkad.

In his latest 20+ minute video, Sargon attacks the recent launch of the Black Humanist Alliance, the Feminist Humanist Alliance, and the LGBTQ Humanist Alliance (full disclosure: I’m on their Advisory Council) as “racist and sexist.” I tried to watch the video, but after hearing nothing but strawman arguments for the first two minutes, I stopped watching it. Apparently he mentioned my article, but like I said, I didn’t watch the entire video, so hopefully he at least got my pronouns right (he probably didn’t).

Now I try to be a good skeptic and at least consider any possibility that I’m wrong, but honestly Sargon doesn’t do a very good job convincing me otherwise. For starters, shortly after the AHA announced the new initiative, he asked them “why they would side with racists and sexists.” Yeah, not a good idea to start a constructive dialogue with a strawman argument!

Sargon also seems to have missed the memo that the Feminist Humanist Alliance used to be the Feminist Humanist Caucus, which was established in 1977. And that past Humanist of the Year recipients include Gloria Steinem, Barbara Ehrenreich, Alice Walker, and Margaret Atwood, among many others.

Probably the most damning thing to Sargon’s reputation as a rational “classical liberal” (i.e. right-libertarian) is his recent petition protesting the supposed free speech violations on college campuses by . . . censoring teachers that disagree with him. The petition is such a joke that even the anti-SJW website Problematic People called him out on it. As Kristina Hansen writes:

Sargon of Akkad is one of the reasons I distance myself from the label of anti-feminist. I urge you to do so as well. Too many self proclaimed anti-feminists are hardline fundamentalists. Too many of them, like Sargon, refuse to accept that not everything that comes out of feminism is useless or inherently wrong. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. There are indeed many points and ideas within feminism and feminist literature and academia that do have some merit and certainly some value, and which do require consideration, inquiry, and discussion by all of us. To outright dismiss everything just because it is coming from a feminist or social justice perspective is intellectually dishonest and serves only to further divide the discussion and polarize feminists and anti-feminists, rather than engage each group in what should be a search for truth. But again, the idea that Sargons petition does not hold enough merit to stand on its own is his, not mine. Remember, his petition is not a legitimate attempt to redress grievances or enact any change. Sargon claims it is a rhetorical device to stimulate conversation. In plain English, it is the latest antic of a demagogue and a panderer. [Emphasis mine]

Hansen continues:

Universities must maintain academic freedom – the freedom of inquiry by students and faculty members. When scholars attempt to teach or communicate ideas or facts that are seen as inconvenient to external political groups or authorities, they may find themselves targeted for public vilification, job loss, imprisonment, or even death in some places. Sargon has publicly said, in the livestream we had, that he is all for professors who teach social justice courses to lose their jobs. Sargon is against academic freedom when he advocates such a position. [Again, emphasis mine]

So much for classical liberalism!

Perhaps Sargon just needs a safe space. Maybe we can all pitch in and buy him a room where he can suck his thumb and hug his teddy bear whenever he feels triggered by someone with a different opinion than his. Or maybe the next article I write for the Humanist will include trigger warnings just for him so he will no longer be oppressed by different opinions.

Or he can just be like the rest of us and put on his big kid britches. But that’s not very fun, is it? Why engage in rational dialogue about complex issues when you can just sit behind a computer and be a bully to people you don’t like? It certainly pays a lot more than being rational.

Ban Cisgender White Men From Public Restrooms–A Modest Proposal I Wrote For TheHumanist.com That Pissed Off A Lot Of Cis White Guys

So last week Maggie Ardiente from the American Humanist Association asked me to write about the latest controversy surrounding Target’s bathroom policy. I didn’t want to rehash the same “This is why the transphobes are wrong” song and dance, so I took a page from Jonathan Swift and wrote a modest proposal. Excerpt:

Now I understand the concern for safety. According to the National Sexual Violence Research Center, one in five women experience some form of sexual assault. It’s obvious we need to do something about it, but is banning trans people from public bathrooms the answer? Not only is there no statistical evidence of trans people assaulting women in bathrooms, but according to the Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Center of the University of Michigan, most rapes and sexual assaults are conducted by white males (presumably cisgender men because the stats reveal nothing about trans men).

So here’s a modest proposal that I think will solve this dilemma: ban all cisgender white men from public bathrooms.

Here’s how it would work: any business or organization that provides public bathroom facilities must have a security guard to screen everyone who wants to use the bathroom. If you identify as male, and your ID identifies you as a male, you must go outside the building to a designated area. This area can either be behind a dumpster or in the bushes, which is actually more convenient than it sounds because there are plenty of leaves and garbage around these areas for white cisgender men to wipe themselves. These designated areas will also be surrounded by security cameras to make sure the white cisgender men don’t try to pull off any funny business.

Read the rest here.

As far as the controversy, Maggie sums it up perfectly.

More Bathroom Bills Arise After South Dakota Defeat — My Latest Article for TheHumanist.com

This past February we covered a proposed bill in South Dakota that would’ve prevented transgender students from using bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identities. Though fortunately that bill was vetoed shortly after we posted the article, similarly atrocious bills have since popped up throughout the United States.

Last week North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill drafted during a hasty “special session” that requires all residents to use bathrooms designated for their biological sex as“stated on a person’s birth certificate.” In response, several corporations—including Apple, the NFL, IBM, American Airlines, and the NBA— have threatened to boycott the state of North Carolina. Just this past weekend Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser banned city employees from traveling to North Carolina on official business. Even the state’s attorney general, Roy Cooper, recently stated he would not defend the new law in court, calling it “unconstitutional” and “a national embarrassment.” Cooper, a Democrat who’s currently running against McCrory, said that not only does the law discriminate against LGBT people, but it will also “set North Carolina’s economy back if we don’t repeal it.”

Gov. McCrory, however, maintains that the law doesn’t discriminate against anyone and that the public outcry is nothing more than “political theater.” In a recent appearance on NBC News he asked, “Would you want a man to walk into your daughter’s shower and legally be able to do that because mentally they think they are of the other gender?”

Read the rest here.

So far the comments all agree: don’t we have bigger fish to fry than who’s taking a shit in the next stall?