NOM's New Attack on Trans Students: Nudity Trumps Sincerity

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com October 25 2013 12:44 PM ET

The anti-LGBT National Organization for Marriage has never been a fan of California's recently passed law that assures transgender students have equal access to bathrooms, locker rooms, sport teams and other gender-segregated facilities at school. In fact, the supposedly marriage-focused group is leading an effort to repeal Assembly Bill 1266, despite the fact that it was duly passed by the California legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in August

But in its latest fundraising email, NOM president Brian Brown gets downright lewd in attempting to illuminate the "dangers" posed by the law that treats transgender and cisgender (non-trans) students equally. 

In a fundraising email to supporters sent Thursday, Brown applauds the "bathroom backlash" that he contends is growing in response to California's trans-inclusive legislation, reports Zack Ford at ThinkProgress.

Throughout the email, Brown repeatedly misguiders trans students, referring to transgender girls as "boys," before betraying his real obsession with policing the genitalia of minors. 

"Nakedness trumps sincerity," writes Brown. "I do not want a naked boy in front of a young girl in the shower or bathroom even if he sincerely identifies as a girl… How can we claim that this [law] will decrease bullying, when forcing boys and girls to share bathrooms IS bullying?"

Here Brown is channelling the transphobic rhetoric of his conservative ally, the right-wing, Christian, Pacific Justice Institute, which is still engaging in a vicious attack on a transgender teenager in Colorado. 

Last week, PJI manufactured a story claiming that a female trans student was "harassing" cisgender girls in the bathroom at Florence High School. When LGBT-supportive reporters reached out to the school's administration, the school confirmed that no such harassment had occurred, so PJI backtracked to allege that simply by using the same restroom as her fellow female students, this transgender minor was "inherently harassing" those cisgender students. PJI refused to retract its report, which included no effort to contact the school, and appears to have been based on the hysterical concerns of one conservative parent who feared that such harassment might take place. As conservative media outlets, including Fox News, picked up the story, unscrupulous reporters published the minor student's name and identifying information. Trans journalist and activist Cristan Williams, who has led the effort to accurately report on this story and has spoken with the trans student's mothers, reports that the 16-year-old is frightened, depressed, and has been placed on suicide watch in the wake of PJI's malicious campaign.

While some might argue that an organization supposedly focused on "traditional marriage" doesn't have a stake in the private bathroom usage of teenagers, NOM founder Maggie Gallagher told a conservative radio host Thursday that any effort by right-wing Republicans to distance themselves from social issues would be "suicidal" to the party's future.

"The truce strategy is the stupidest of all possible strategies," said Gallagher, who stepped down from her position as NOM's head in 2011 and now works with American Principles Project. Right Wing Watch has audio of Gallagher's indignant interview with radio hose Steve Deace.