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Conservatism -- License to Discriminate

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 28/03/2016 Marvin Meadors

Conservative lawmakers always want to punish someone. They see legislating as a way to crack down on those they do not like which usually includes anyone who does not look like them, practice their religion, sexual orientation or politics. Many are in fact bigots and their professed belief in small government is usually more of a license to practice exclusion and a lack of empathy and compassion than anything else. Therefore, the need to subject those on public aide to drug testing for little reason other than to stigmatize the group. The need to allow businesses to discriminate based on little more than a bias against gay marriage. And now in North Carolina, the need to punish transgendered people for being who they are by making it illegal for them to use washrooms of the sex they identify with.
The brouhaha in New Carolina began as a hasty response to the city of Charlotte passing a local non-discrimination law, which so upended conservative state lawmakers that they called a special legislative session to block the city from doing so. Nothing makes a conservative lose sleep at night like a demand for fair treatment and the subsequent loss of their professed God-given right to discriminate. The Charlotte ordinance simply banned public places from discriminating against people based on sexual orientation or identity, which seems innocuous enough and even high-minded. But fairness and inclusiveness is a vice in right-wing circles.
North Carolina Republican legislators may as well say members of the LBGT community are not welcome in their state. They base the legislation on some distorted fear that rapists may put on dresses to pose as transgendered individuals and hide in restrooms to prey on women. Why that could not happen even with such legislation on the books is mind-boggling. I mean, if predators are going to hide in washrooms to commit sexual assaults they will do so regardless of the laws on the books governing the behavior of those in the transgendered community. The law accomplishes next to nothing!
Perhaps conservative legislators base it on the distorted fear that transgendered individuals are natural predators. After all, some on the right have linked the LGBT community to pedophilia. Of course, such fears are nonsense. According to Media Matters:

In fact, a 1995 study released by the American Psychological Association found that "gay men are no more likely than heterosexual men to perpetrate child sexual abuse," the argument that homosexuals are overrepresented in such cases is based on what John Hopkins University psychiatrist Frederick Berlin has described as the "flawed assumption" that men who abuse young boys are also attracted to grown men.

Members of the transgendered community just want to live their lives like the rest of us. After all, the group has an alarmingly high risk of suicide, of homelessness and unemployment. According to a recent study: "More recent data from non-random surveys of self-identified transgender people found that up to one third of respondents report making one or more lifetime suicide attempts." If surveys are correct, which would "suggest that at least one million people in the U.S. each year engage in intentionally inflicted self-harm," then that would put the suicide rate of the general population at less than one percent. Likewise, almost one-fifth of the transgendered population become homeless at some point in their lives because of their gender identity: "Overall, respondents reported being unemployed at twice the rate of the population as a whole." Therefore, some turn to sex work because of their limited choices.
These are individuals whose "gender identity is the opposite of their assigned sex", to use a dictionary definition. To put it in layman's terms, they are individuals simply born into and trapped in the wrong bodies. Why marginalize them further considering the sobering statistics which already imply such a precarious existence? Perhaps there is something in the water in North Carolina. After all, it is the state which recently "slapped handcuffs" on a man for not returning a VHS 14 years earlier. Regardless, live and let live is certainly a foreign concept to Republicans and it is sad! Why do they consistently use the reigns of government for the benefit of the wealthy as opposed to the dispossessed, the marginalized, and the weak in their pursuit of some nostalgic vision of America that resembles a Norman Rockwell painting?

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