CW: hostility toward trans people
I’ve been making the argument in this blog that most people who do hateful things believe–or at least say–that they are doing it out of love.
Like Republicans in Kansas are doing right now to trans people. On February 19, the party met in Wichita for its annual meeting and voted on a resolution to oppose the “validation” of trans identities, including opposition to surgeries or medical interventions to alter a person’s body so that it would conform to body expectations of someone of their gender.
Now, I have yet to hear about the GOP caring when a cisgender woman undergoes a breast augmentation surgery or has her breasts or uterus removed, nor do they butt in when cisman convinced that he has “low T” takes drugs to increase his level of testosterone. So, clearly, this isn’t about body modification but about making life harder to trans people. The outcome is hateful and, it appears, according to research, harmful, as children who are trans who are supported experience better mental health than those who are not and have similar mental health outcomes compared to cis kids.
So why do Kansas Republicans want to do something that hurts people? Here is Eric Teetsel, the Republican who proposed the bill and a leader in a state level “family values” group, explaining his logic:
“Ultimately, we are motivated by love. It is concern for the well-being of others that drives us to seek out what is true and not just for society, but for them personally.”
You’ve heard this before in the Nashville Statement. That was modeled on the Manhattan Declaration–and Teetsal has served as executive director of the Manhattan Declaration. And it is the core argument of Teetsal’s 2014 contribution to First Things, “Belief Rooted in Love.”
I think this is fair to say that Teetsel and the Kansas GOP have never been motivated by love for trans people.
In Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz series, a young boy named Tip discovers that he is actually the long-lost Princess Ozma, whose gendered was changed to protect their identity.
Remember that this is the party that forwarded the (now, thankfully, dead) Student Physical Privacy Act, which would have allowed students who encounter ” members of the opposite sex” in restrooms or locker rooms to sue the school for up to $2,500 per incident. It basically put a bounty on the heads of trans kids. Whatever challenges trans bodies and genderqueer people pose to the binary systems of public school restrooms should be addressed by adults, without placing kids at risk as this act did.
And it’s the party that has sought to make it harder to trans people to change their birth certificates–something necessary to vote in the state with the nation’s strictest voter ID laws.
Teetsal insults us–and especially insults trans people–when he tells us that this is love. We’re not stupid. We know what love is. And the GOP treatment of LGBTQ+ people in Kansas ain’t it.