Transphobic Lawmakers Creating Widespread Controversy

Image courtesy of Ben Schlotman

Image courtesy of Ben Schlotman

Ben Schlotman, Reporter, Co-Editor

As transgender people become more and more visible in media and society, there is growing pushback from conservatives spreading transphobic rhetoric. 

Sitting congresswoman Marjorie Taylor-Greene posted on Twitter, “Either you are Pro-pedophile and Pro-transgender biological men or you defend children and women.” A person with power in the US government publicly implying that trans people are associated with pedophiles is emblematic of a major war in the nation’s culture, with hatred being spread against trans people, along with laws and orders that oppress the trans community.

The most widely-reported example has been an order from Texas governor Greg Abbott that parents of trans children should be investigated for child abuse. This has led to unjust investigations that have not stopped since a judge struck the order down as unconstitutional. After this ruling, Texas attorney general Ken Paxton insisted that the investigations were perfectly within the sphere of the state’s legal right, and would continue. 

Florida also recently introduced a law that prohibited teachers from discussing gender identity or sexual/romantic orientation in preschool through third grade. This has been decried as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, but described by its supporters as an “anti-grooming bill,” because they claim that gay or trans teachers are priming children for sexual abuse by teaching them about the LGBTQ community. 

A spokesperson for Florida governor Ron DeSantis said, “I’m not sure what a better word is for an adult who advocates for talking to young children about sexuality and gender theory while encouraging them to keep this a secret from their parents. That is the textbook definition of grooming.” 

However, not all major supporters of the bill agree that “grooming” means “grooming for sexual abuse.” Terry Schilling of the American Princple’s Project was quoted as saying, “This is obviously not the type of grooming where you’re preparing them to be molested or raped by their teacher, but you are grooming them in shaping them in their sexual nature before they’re sexual beings.” 

While seemingly more level-minded than the rhetoric expressed by Taylor-Greene and others, this still propagates fear of any discussion of gender or romantic orientation in schools. 

While no laws of this sort have reached California, some have fears. Novato High junior Simone Scheuer expressed her thoughts. 

“When you see a general trend of regressiveness, it’s impossible not to have anxiety,” said Scheuer. “When there’s a social change, you kinda hope it’s gonna stick, so if they can just peel it back, what else can they do?” 

Many feel like the community at Novato High is very accepting, but outside of this campus bubble, there are many in the US who feel differently. 

Scheuer added, “I think I would be startled or uncomfortable if I just went a couple hundred miles south. As an individual in the community, I’m in a bubble that is even more progressive and safe than a lot of other areas and schools in this county.”

It’s hard not to think of what a stark difference there is between the community of Novato High, where most people seem to have a live-and-let-live mentality, and many other places in the country where trans people can’t feel safe in their own workplaces or education sites.