I was skimming through my Facebook newsfeed as usual, earlier today, and came across the latest blurb from RightWingWatch.org or possibly LGBT Nation about Pat Robertson’s most recent remarks about transgender people and the transgender community.
For those that don’t know who Pat Robertson is, he is the founder and CEO of the Christian Broadcast Network and host of his TV televangelist program, “The 700 Club”. He was also a presidential candidate back in the 80’s against Ronald Reagan, promoting a platform of ultra-Conservative values and Christian-based domestic policies and pro-Israel foreign policy. He was a voice box for a certain demographic of sheep that wished to live in a predominately whites-only, born-again Christian, Evangelical world where outside elements and influences would be deemed demonic or sinful or Satanic. He was very cookie-cutter with his rhetoric and very opportunistic and very charismatic in his prime.
Nowadays, he is maybe a fraction less dangerous but all the more cantankerous and hardened of heart as well in morals and character. He still has a hold on his aging viewership and still has some sway among his collection of friends and business partners and a few politicians. Many have probably ignored this man for decades or never knew him– which is a good thing. Others however, feel deeply moved by this man or are influenced by him. He has become to some, the grandfatherly figure of Christian morality– much like Billy Graham is to others.
(My views on Billy Graham are for some later post I am sure.)
How Pat Robertson managed to sort of squeeze through the scandals and controversies of the televangelist scandals and exposes of the Jimmy Swaggart / Tammy Faye Bakker Era and all the mess they caused is beyond me but I am sure it had a lot more to do with his connections to the Republican Party and his media connections than anything of the Divine.
So anyway… he comes now with comments suggesting that the transgender community is made up of frauds. That there are no legitimate persons who seek to re-align correctly with their internal and external sense of gender. But rather, we are all just men putting on dresses to force our way into women’s restrooms to rape and molest and assault innocent girls and women. What he has done, is put himself on the side of the fear mongers. He has decided to fuel the ignorance and add heaps of manure on to the flames to keep them burning. This would be small beans considering any rational being would look at this guy and think he’s just a crazy ol’ coot who is senile and off his medication and doesn’t even know what he’s talking about.
Unfortunately, there are far too many people who believe as he does– or want to believe as he does, and listens to every word he says as if it were the Word of God. What makes this a bit of a bigger deal is that these comments come some time after he has gone on the air previously to address the significance and differences between homosexuality (which he condemns passionately) and what it is to be transgender. There was a time where it seemed like he was developing an enlightened view of transgender experience as one that was psychological and biological in nature where there was a disconnect and a need on the transgender person to find wholeness and unity within– which was about as positive as you were going to expect from this man. He essentially encouraged counseling and sex re-assignment surgery for transgender persons. He saw no fundamental problem with them…. that is… until the Republican Party declared the transgender community their next big enemy after the Supreme Court ruling against them on the matter of same-sex marriage.
The strategy is as transparent to me as their straw dog arguments against the transgender equal rights bills. The Republican Party and the Christian Right have joined forces against the LGB community over banning same-sex marriage. They needed each other’s mutual support– votes from Christians in exchange for so-called Christian value based policy change and laws. When they lost the battle against same-sex marriage in the U.S., the next logical target became the T in LGBT… the transgender community.
Republicans and Christian Right see a battle they think they can more easily win– all they have to do is drum up the fear. Fear that women will become more victimized by perverted men now in dresses. Mothers will now have to be on the watch as men masquerading as women, will come waltzing into their bathrooms to prey upon their daughters.
The fear works so long as people remain ignorant of the facts. Pat Robertson doesn’t provide facts one way or the other for his cause or against his cause. He simply states as a claim that transgender people are frauds. He states that they are dangerous, sexual deviants. He has never associated with the transgender community or engaged with them in any dialogue to try and understand the transgender community or transgender experience. He is simply acting on his gut feelings– much in the way George W. Bush acted upon his gut feelings rather than his brains.
Many of these anti-transgender laws now being proposed in at least 20 states now, are based on Religious Freedom Bills — bills that claim people should have the right to deny services and goods and equal accommodations to the LGBT community based upon their religious belief systems, which they feel are being threatened by the LGBT community.
In drafting these bills, the Republican Party that has crafted all of these bills and proposed laws, have failed to explore or understand or approach the transgender community to understand who they are, what it is to be transgender, or even bothered to try and collect any records or documentation on any correlations between transgender identity and criminality or transgender identity with sexual violence against women. If they actually did any of that, then it would become glaringly obvious that they have no platform to stand on with these attacks and they have no justification for proposing to treat the transgender community as violent sex offenders.
I would urge the true Christian community to speak up and speak out against the misinformed and actively take part in shutting down the hate speech and myth based rhetoric. You know the Bible speaks about false prophets. Be aware of them and speak against them!