By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com November 15 2013 5:03 PM ET
The coalition of notorious anti-LGBT activists who hope to repeal California's recently passed School Success and Opportunities Act laid bare their transphobic, homophobic motivation for trying to repeal the law — which guarantees transgender students in kindergarten through 12th grade can use the facilities and play on the sports teams that correspond with their gender identity.
Privacy for All Students, the right-wing coalition backed by antigay staples like the National Organization for Marriage, the Pacific Justice Institute, and Frank Schubert, who helped engineer Proposition 8's passage in California in 2008, on Monday claimed they acquired more than enough signatures to place repeal of the law on the statewide ballot in 2014.
In response to that news, LGBT activist and blogger Jeremy Hooper engaged with the group on its Facebook page, inquiring as to what exactly the coalition proposes trans students do in absence of Assembly Bill 1266, signed into law by California governor Jerry Brown in August. The legislation is the first in the nation to provide statutory guidance on the equal rights of transgender students. The law is set to take effect January 1, unless Privacy for All Students succeeds in qualifying its repeal initiative for the ballot.
Hooper's initial conversation with the deceptively named campaign established that the group has no alternative plan for transgender students in California, who are left vulnerable by existing law. In a Facebook exchange subsequently published by GLAAD, Hooper asks the group's moderators if trans students in California are supposed to "'change' because you do not agree?"
Administrators of the group's Facebook page skirted Hooper's question, saying "Finding a 'solution' is above our pay grade." But when the group claimed the solution should be determined by state legislators, Hooper pushed back.
"The duly elected legislators proposed a solution in the form of this bill," Hooper wrote. "You are saying you know better and that this law should be stopped in its tracks. The champions of this bill say that your actions would prevent the safeguarding of transgender students; you, by virtue of this campaign, are claiming the opposite."
"So what about the transgender students? Where does that leave these vulnerable children?" asked Hooper, who is a married gay father.
The group responded that it has already rejected the legislature's solution and suggested state lawmakers should propose something that better suits the campaign's ideals. "When they get it right … we'll let them know," reads the group's last comment in the thread.
Shortly thereafter, the coalition deleted Hooper's comments from Facebook and barred him from the group, but not before surreptitiously exposing the bare animus behind their campaign.
As Hooper reports on his own blog, Good as You, moderators responded to Hooper's GLAAD post with yet another public statement.
"Jeremy Hooper, you're surprised we oppose the homosexual agenda?" asks the post, mistakenly conflating a transgender identity with a gay sexual orientation. "Anybody can read our statements all over the web. It's fairly simple: 1. We support traditional families. 2. We don't want Sacramento legislating tolerance of damaging lifestyles and putting our kids at risk."
The "risk" referenced in this comment is likely one that has been repeatedly fabricated by one of the coalition's most prominent backers, the Pacific Justice Institute, which continues to target a transgender teenager in Colorado for "harassing" her cisgender (nontrans) classmates. Even after the school's superintendent confirmed that no harassment took place, and the institute acknowledged that it considers the 16-year-old's mere presence in the women's restroom to be "inherently harassing," the California-based institute continues to target the minor student, whose mothers say she is now on suicide watch after receiving numerous death threats when unscrupulous campaign supporters published the child's name. Last week, the institute released a transphobic video interviewing parents of and some of the cisgender students who claim they have "suffered" because there is a transgender girl at the school. The video also includes a statement from the Pacific Justice Institute's lead attorney, Brad Dacus, claiming that the group's work protects students' "privacy."
"These young girls have gone through a lot," laments Dacus of the unidentified female students who say in the video they were upset by the knowledge that their classmate "doesn't have the same parts as me."