From the New York Times news section, an in-depth analysis of how conservatives hold the whip hand in modern American culture and thus started the divisive debate over the time-honored American custom of poisoning, sterilizing, and mutilating moody children due to the transgender mania:
Defeated on same-sex marriage, the religious right went searching for an issue that would re-energize supporters and donors. The campaign that followed has stunned political leaders across the spectrum.
By Adam Nagourney and Jeremy W. Peters
April 16, 2023
When the Supreme Court declared a constitutional right to same-sex marriage nearly eight years ago, social conservatives were set adrift.
The ruling stripped them of an issue they had used to galvanize rank-and-file supporters and big donors. And it left them searching for a cause that—like opposing gay marriage—would rally the base and raise the movement’s profile on the national stage.
“We knew we needed to find an issue that the candidates were comfortable talking about,” said Terry Schilling, the president of American Principles Project, a social conservative advocacy group. “And we threw everything at the wall.”
What has stuck, somewhat unexpectedly, is the issue of transgender identity, particularly among young people. Today, the effort to restrict transgender rights has supplanted same-sex marriage as an animating issue for social conservatives at a pace that has stunned political leaders across the spectrum. It has reinvigorated a network of conservative groups, increased fund-raising and set the agenda in school boards and state legislatures.
The campaign has been both organic and deliberate, and has even gained speed since Donald J. Trump, an ideological ally, left the White House. Since then, at least 20 states, all controlled by Republicans, have enacted laws that reach well beyond the initial debates over access to bathrooms and into medical treatments, participation in sports and policies on discussing gender in schools. …
The effort started with a smattering of Republican lawmakers advancing legislation focused on transgender girls’ participation in school sports. And it was accelerated by a few influential Republican governors who seized on the issue early.
But it was also the result of careful planning by national conservative organizations to harness the emotion around gender politics. With gender norms shifting and a sharp rise in the number of young people identifying as transgender, conservative groups spotted an opening in a debate that was gaining attention.
“It’s a sense of urgency,” said Matt Sharp, the senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization that has provided strategic and legal counsel to state lawmakers as they push through legislation on transgender rights. The issue, he argued, is “what can we do to protect the children?”
The answer is obvious to besieged moderate liberals at the New York Times: We can protect the children by castrating them! I mean, what would George Washington have done?
Mr. Schilling said the issue had driven in thousands of new donors to the American Principles Project, most of them making small contributions.
The appeal played on the same resentments and cultural schisms that have animated Mr. Trump’s political movement: invocations against so-called “wokeness,” skepticism about science, parental discontent with public schools after the Covid-19 pandemic shutdowns and anti-elitism.
Nadine Smith, the executive director of Equality Florida, a group that fights discrimination against L.G.B.T.Q. people, said there was a direct line from the right’s focus on transgender children to other issues it has seized on in the name of “parents’ rights”—such as banning books and curriculums that teach about racism.
“In many ways, the trans sports ban was the test balloon in terms of how they can frame these things,” she said. “Once they opened that parents’ rights frame, they began to use it everywhere.”
For now, the legislation has advanced almost exclusively in Republican-controlled states: Those same policies have drawn strong opposition from Democrats who have applauded the increased visibility of transgender people—in government, corporations and Hollywood—and policies protecting transgender youths. …
The focus on perceived threats to impressionable children has a long history in American sexual politics. It has its roots in the “Save Our Children” campaign championed in 1977 by Anita Bryant, the singer known for her orange juice commercials, to repeal a local ordinance in Dade-Miami County that prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation, a historic setback for the modern gay rights movements.
And that’s why we had AIDS in the 1980s: it was all the fault of Anita Bryant in the 1970s.
The initial efforts by the conservative movement to deploy transgender issues did not go well. In 2016, North Carolina legislators voted to bar transgender people from using the bathroom of their preference. It created a backlash so harsh—from corporations, sports teams and even Bruce Springsteen—that lawmakers eventually rescinded the bill.
As a result, conservatives went looking for a new approach to the issue. Mr. Schilling’s organization, for instance, conducted polling to determine whether curbing transgender rights had resonance with voters—and, if they did, the best way for candidates to talk about it. In 2019, the group’s research found that voters were significantly more likely to support a Republican candidate who favored a ban on transgender girls participating in school sports—particularly when framed as a question of whether “to allow men and boys to compete against women and girls”—than a candidate pushing for a ban on transgender people using a bathroom of their choosing.
With that evidence in hand, and transgender athletes gaining attention, particularly in right-wing media, conservatives decided to focus on two main fronts: legislation that addressed participation in sports and laws curtailing the access of minors to medical transition treatments.
Men in skirts injuring women on the playing field is an ancient American tradition.
Seriously, I saw the future clearly almost ten years ago while reading an NYT article about how deplorable it was that an ex-man MMA fighter isn’t being allowed to beat up women for money:
Post-Gay Marriage, Cont.
Steve Sailer • May 11, 2013 • 1,500 Words • 50 Comments
What’s next? After that bravura display of media marketing muscle that was the gay marriage whoop-tee-doo, what’s the encore? There has to be something else to force the rubes to identify themselves by their lack of enthusiasm for the latest cause / crisis. But … what? Front and center on NYTimes.com this evening:
A Reluctant Pioneer in Mixed Martial Arts
By GREG BISHOP
Fallon Fox is the first openly transgender athlete in mixed martial arts and the most prominent in a professional sport in decades.
Fallon Fox, born Boyd Burton, found herself in the spotlight after coming out as a transgender fighter in mixed martial arts.
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