Homophobes’ New Focus

A  2022 Grinnell College Poll found that 74% of Americans believe same-sex marriage should be a guaranteed right .Only 13% disagreed (the remaining13% were uncertain.) Also last year, Gallup announced that approval of same-sex marriage had hit a new high.

Faced with numbers like that, what are Republican homophobes to do?

Not that they aren’t trying. Daily Kos recently reported that

Conservatives are working hard to ostracize and delegitimize marginalized folks and are attacking the LGBTQ+ community wherever they can, ranging from sports bans to health care barriers to criminalizing drag shows. 

Given current American attitudes toward more “run-of-the-mill” gay folks, trans children have been taking the brunt of the  GOP’s attacks. 

As the ACLU has recently reminded us, even before this year’s start of state legislative sessions, the organization had pinpointed  over 25 pre-filed bills that “would strip away young transgender people’s ability to access necessary and life-saving health care.” Over 100 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced so far, and the majority target trans rights.

As the ACLU noted, the same politicians that don’t want women to control their own bodies also oppose allowing trans people to make decisions around their own gender identity and medical care.

I realize that Americans have had less time to become accustomed to–or even familiar with– the issues raised by transitioning. I can even understand the concerns around athletic performance and the possibility that trans women might have an unfair advantage, although medical science tells us those concerns are unwarranted.

It is much harder to understand the animus that leads GOP lawmakers to propose bills punishing supportive parents and doctors who provide medical care to transgender minors. It’s especially hard for me to understand why those legislators think they have a right to interfere in such profoundly personal matters.

South Dakota lawmakers have introduced a bill they call “Help Not Harm;” it would ban physicians from prescribing hormonal therapy and from performing gender-affirming surgeries on minors (something I’m told doesn’t occur). Physicians who provide such care would be subject to review by a medical board, and potential loss of their licenses.

Utah lawmakers have introduced several anti-trans bills. One would prevent trans youth from updating their birth certificates until they turn 18. A far more harmful bill would–in addition to banning that non-occurring surgery for minors — would also bar the puberty blockers and hormonal therapies that are prescribed.

Nebraska Republicans have introduced “Sports and Spaces”– banning youth from participating in sports teams that don’t align with their sex as assigned at birth. The bill would also bar trans youth from using locker rooms that align with their gender identity.

More than a dozen states have introduced anti-trans health care legislation. Dailly Kos lists Virginia, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Kansas, and Kentucky–and a friend of mine who lobbies Indiana’s General Assembly on behalf of several medical associations tells me they expect a similar attempt in Indiana.

Evidently, it isn’t enough to pick on women and trans children. The GOP knows how terribly dangerous librarians are. As the linked article reports,

Over in North Dakota, Republicans are racing to ban even more books. As reported by the Associated Press, Mike Lefor, who serves as House Majority Leader, introduced HB 1205 seeking to ban books with “sexually explicit” content from all public libraries in the state. Not just keep them out of young adult sections. Not just exclude them from certain programming. Not just from school libraries. Ban them from public libraries, period.

And yes, that “sexually explicit” includes depictions of gender identity and sexual orientation. The measure proposes up to 30 days imprisonment for librarians who don’t remove such books from libraries if the bill becomes law. Folks could also face a $1,500 fine and a Class B misdemeanor. 

When the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in Dobbs, it called into question an important principle of constitutional jurisprudence called substantive due process. That doctrine means that there are certain issues that government doesn’t get to decide. For over fifty years, the Court has recognized that “intimate personal decisions” not specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights also must be protected against overreaching government– that the Bill of Rights requires respect for individual autonomy– that liberty means there are places in the lives of individuals where government doesn’t belong.

Only the individual involved can know who he or she or they really is. We can only hope that conflicted individuals are able to access the help of supportive parents and caring doctors–and even a librarian or two. 

Certainly not a state legislature.


  1. With the death rates of trans youth from suicide, and trans murder… tell me again about how the GOP are staunchly ‘right to life’ .
    This community needs allies. You know the politicians won’t listen to us; we’ll have to be embarrassingly loud and draw shame from the media and, most importantly, from business, on this state until all people are respected and protected.

  2. Where DO these contrived controversies come from? Do Republican politicians come up with these concerns themselves and turn them into outrage? Or do they originate within their constituencies, maybe at the pulpit? Or maybe, and this is my favorite theory, they are cooked up in the back rooms of ALEC, fed to FOX who shoves them down the throats of the all too eager to hate crowd. Soon state legislators are deluged with requests to “make a law”! And who do the legislators turn to? Why ALEC of course.
    Follow the money.

  3. I think that Theresa is correct. These controversies are cooked up in a GOP lab. They tend to start with some of the same basic ingredients including fear of “the other”such as immigrants and homophobia. It’s then beta tested on the internet and pushed out into wider distribution once the messaging has been polished. Some of the final steps are actually writing legislation through ALEC.
    These aren’t solutions to a problem, they are market-tested outrage.

  4. The GOP makes money and garners votes through generating hate and upset among the less informed. It sells to the insecure and ignorant. It plays to tribal instincts–If you ain’t like me you’re dangerous and must be excluded from society or exterminated. Denying gay and trans folks the benifts of society reduces compition for jobs and status. They are saying, gay and trans people aren’t as good as them so they don’t deserve acceptance.

  5. Every person is a member of society. Society works better if all members work well together. Marginalizing, discriminating against, or damaging in any way some segment of society is kind of like cutting off your thumbs because they don’t look like the rest of your fingers.
    As a member of “the other” looking back on my life, I have no doubt that I could have contributed much more to society had I not been so treated.

  6. Discouraging, depressing, especially the assault on libraries. Also almost everything else in this blog except the fact that 74% of us support same-sex marriage.
    Could you please elaborate on the statement that medical science does not support the contention that trans women have an unfair advantage in sports? I would like to have some data on this subject to add to my arsenal when I find myself in a conversation with bigots and ignoramuses.

  7. ” The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” (Amendment IX, Constitution of the United States of America).

    Those who claim there are ONLY two sexes are lacking information about the human genome and the many variants to the genetic makeup of people. This is probably due to the lack of understanding of real science as opposed to “Creationist” pseudo-science. Vouchers strike again?

    For those who are so worried that their darling little girls might get beaten in sports by some trans-gender “monster”, (even though we know that is total bs) let me remind you that the way to improve athletic performance is by playing against better players. Some of the best women basketball players learned by playing against their brothers, who were bigger and stronger. So I say, if there is an advantage, bring it on.

  8. Squirrel!!! It’s all bait and switch. The GOP has no platform to speak of and the policies they do push through uniformly hurt their constituents so they must distract the masses with manufactured outrage and fear.

    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain – or the lobbyists in the back room. Everything you need to see and hear is out front. Drummed up by political operatives and disseminated by conservative media.

  9. Seriously there is a huge difference between believing gay marriage is okay versus whether or not transgender youth should be going under life changing surgery.
    Its simply two different things. Big Pharma should not be backed to target the young. Professional teachers are losing ground as schools are implementing ideas of gender dysphoria instead of educating our kids. Parents are pullingvyheir children out of public schools as they don’t want their kids to hear this philosophy. I no longer have kids in school but have been told by other parents they are thru with public schools.
    I remember ehen stereotyping people was a bad thing. Calling people homophobes isn’t cool or acceptable.

  10. I believe the GOP Homophobes are targeting LGBTQs, transgenders in particular, to detract from their cover up of sexual abuses by members, the Trump connection to Epstein’s child sex trafficking and the the Catholic child molesting which is covered up and paid off to keep victims from going public. The move “Spotlight”, the series in the Boston Globe on Catholic child molesting cover up of over 30 year provides statistics at the end credits. Indianapolis is listed on page 1 of the larger cities covering up the problem. Cardinal Law in Boston finally admitted his guilt publicly to providing the cover up and pay offs for 30 years; his punishment by the Catholic Diocese was a position within the Vatican until his death. I suppose the coverall term “projection” by the GOP fits their targeting LGBTQs and transgenders in particular and what better place to select books to ban than libraries. Where better to begin indoctrination of the minds of children than in our schools and how better to increase the targeted students than through the voucher system.

  11. John. 1. Life changing surgery on minors is almost certainly not happening and is not the issue.
    2. Big Pharma probably isn’t targeting such a tiny slice of potential customers and that is not the issue either.
    3. Professional teachers want to educate the whole child about the most up-to-date information available and not leave them ignorant about such a vitally important issue as the gender spectrum.
    4. Variations in gender identity, sexual orientation and sexual preferences are not a philosophy. They are a part of every child’s reality.
    5. Homophobes are not the victims here. No one has been harmed more by stereotyping than LGBT youth.

  12. Since I am persuaded that the Republican Party has gone the way of the Whigs (note the verb tense) from which it arose in 1854 and does not now exist as a defined political party in American politics since it is sans both platforms and statements of governing philosophy (other than tax cuts), I will be using the phrase “Captors of the Republican Party” (or Captors for short) to describe the criminals who have stolen the name and remnants of this once proud party of Eisenhower.

    When I saw the title of Sheila’s effort today my “follow the money” bias kicked in and I sensed the old Koch-financed ALEC at work with model culture warrior legislation for Captor legislators to hook their names to and present to appropriate Captor committees for consideration and recommendation for passage by both Captor majorities and supermajorities.

    Captors have now decided to play culture warriors and invade areas in which I thought (as Sheila has indicated) substantive due process had excluded such chicanery, but apparently such efforts are vote-rich as contrasted with such mundane governing as fair tax proposals, budgets, the environment, and other such non-cultural matters I thought legislators were elected to solve rather than sticking their noses into bathrooms, sports and libraries.

    As to the topic for today (which should in an ideal world be a topic not for government but for the medical community), I adopt Sharon Miller’s thoughtful insights and proposals.

  13. When nearly two-thirds of America supports the right to gay marriage, it’s obvious the GOP is, once again, enthralled with lost causes, and once again, defines itself by the people and things they hate. They’ve got nothing else remaining in their platform. At this stage, being against LGBTQ is like being against interracial marriage–and unfortunately, long after that’s been thoroughly discredited, there are still those who feel that way.

  14. Republican donors, the real power brokers despite democracy, know that the best times for wealth redistribution up came in the past. To recreate those thrilling days of yesteryear, they fund through the GOP and Fox Entertainment shows that control their base, perpetual anger and fear that their entitlements to power are being taken away by progress and the solution is to vote in pseudo-politicians who promise them return to the past where their entitlements still might reside.

    The whole scam is to sell by advertising substandard products that promise what they cannot deliver to maintain the power class long after its expiration date due to the reality of borrowing from the future their natural resources including the weather and sea level that we built civilization in accordance with.

    Capitalism has developed great capability to sell by manipulating reality to manipulate people. That explains so much of endless redistribution of wealth and power up which has created a class of people who feel like they are superior and deserve more of whatever they want. Our own old fashioned aristocracy.

    They have become our billboard heroes for more at any cost to others.

  15. Going back to Nixon, all of this “outrage” has been created for the single purpose of
    courting votes from the fearful and anxious. The abortion issue worked so well that
    the process has become a (the?) mainstay of GOP propaganda, and, I’m sure, with
    the help of ALEC, the Heritage Foundation , and the rancid like, will continue to find,
    and jump upon any and all vulnerable groups.
    Will the homophobes, especially those who preach, attack John the Baptist? Nah,
    that would be too inconvenient!

  16. I’ve heard that if sexual reassignment surgery & tx. happens prior to puberty then the female athlete has no unfair advantage in sports. Here in US those surgeries aren’t allowed until 18. Some go out of the country for their surgeries, so they wouldn’t have an advantage.
    Too bad we don’t have a government that wants to uphold the bill of rights and allow citizens to work out their lives using reality and the benefit of factual research.
    An interesting fact about libraries is that the Vatican has a porn library only second to Kinsey Library in Bloomington Ind. Go figure!

  17. John S, calling someone a homophobe is problematic only if the person is not a homophobe. It’s absolutely right to do so if they are. That’s not stereotyping.

    Your post bothered me, I’ll admit. You focus on youth surgery, which I understand actually does happen, though very, very rarely. This is a common strategy of the transphobic. The more common therapies used with youth are hormonal treatments and puberty blockers. These treatments are determined after extensive consultation amongst doctors, parents, and the youth themselves. It’s not a simple or quick decision. It’s deadly serious to many of those involved. It can also be reversed later on, and that does happen in a small percentage of cases.

    You also complain that teachers are “implementing ideas of gender dysphoria.” I’m not exactly sure how to read this. It would be easy to read it as a “grooming” attack, but I hope that’s not it. In general, though, teachers should include all types of relationships amongst those they use to educate students. After all, the readers are just a collection of stories. Why not include these? I think you are worried about normalizing gay and trans people, about promoting acceptance of them. To that I say: tough. They are normal people. And it’s good to normalize them.

    It’s odd that none of you had any issue when the stories always had dad going to work, and mom staying home to do the housework and cooking. That’s brainwashing, and those stories have had a deleterious affect on our children for decades. Thankfully, we’ve been widening the scope of stories told for some time, and we need to continue in that direction.

    It’s amazing and infuriating to me that the exact same old tropes used against gay people are now being trotted out against trans people.

    You, and your friends who are done with public schools, need to grow up and get over your bigotry. It’s not good for you, and–more importantly–it’s not good for the people you are bigoted against.

  18. I missed Sharon’s post when I went through these. (Blinded by my own indignant anger, I suspect.) She spoke much more clearly and succinctly than I, I think.

    Well done, Sharon.

  19. Today’s post by D r Kennedy took her waaay out of her field, unfortunately.
    “trans women might have an unfair advantage, although medical science tells us those concerns are unwarranted.”
    Medical science says no such thing. Argumentum ad authoritatem.
    There’s so much hate and cancel culture around this ideology I can’t discuss it.
    Detransitioners will likely increase as the faddists reverse course.
    From current personal experience, some schools are shoving needless admonitions down the kids’ throats. It just confuses the hell out of early primary kids who haven’t even reached an understanding of birds and bees.

    Sorry. It’s a bridge too far. Read more widely, Sheila…

  20. Ormond, your reference to “faddists” triggered me. It’s demeaning to the many trans people that must struggle against bigotry (like yours).

    I’ll simply say that you are yet another old white man that I hope my queer daughter, trans cousin and gay friends never have the misfortune to encounter.

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