Family values are not expressed by what type of genitals you were born with

The radical right has attacked the trans community, in order to save the now-not-so-dominant paradigm of white male supremacy in the ordering and ruling of this nation

WILLIAMSVILLE — America's radical right has chosen to target drag shows and transgender people in their latest assault on family values posing as a defense of family values. Shocked cries about grooming and child abuse are spewing from their mouths like pea soup from Regan in The Exorcist.

The very folks who are trying to bring back child labor and want to take food out of the mouths of poor children, are now suddenly very concerned for those children's welfare.

Strange that they didn't show much concern when reports about the rampant rape and abuse of children by officials in the Catholic Church were released, nor when the Boy Scouts of America was forced to pay the largest-ever settlement for child abuse within its ranks, nor when the Southern Baptist Church was exposed for the same crimes.

Strange too, that there is no evidence that connects drag queens or transgender people to child abuse.

But not so strange when you realize that these great defenders of the fetus in the womb who until now had forgotten all about the needs of the child who gets born aren't thinking about the welfare of children; they're simply looking for a new scapegoat that they might use to engender fear and rage in the American psyche that might lead to an electoral advantage in the next election.

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Remember the hue and cry when gay and lesbian rights started to get recognized? We heard the same false claims of immorality and poisoning of the minds of children.

The radical right counted on prejudice against gay Americans as they tried to taint the Democrats by association. They warned us that recognizing the legitimacy of the gay community was a slippery slope that would lead to terrible outcomes for our children and the nation.

Of course, it turns out that gay people are no different from any other group in the population. Gay marriage hasn't led to anything other than a mix of happily married and unhappily divorced folks, just as it is for heterosexual people.

Gayness has become mainstream and boringly regular, and the chorus of cries about the corruption of our youth no longer dominates the public conversation.

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Of course, many still privately harbor prejudice against the gay community, just as there is still an epidemic of privately expressed racism and prejudice against people of color. Until very recently, declaring those views has been seen as taboo in mainstream society.

Now we are seeing a determined effort to bring those prejudices out into the open once again. Those who espouse these beliefs see anti-trans rhetoric and attacks as a wedge to reopen that door.

The radicals think that transgender people and drag show aficionados are still marginalized in our society to the extent that they can publicly defile and attack them. They are hoping that by making false claims and demonizing this group of people, they can gin up a groundswell of hatred and disgust that could be manipulated to increase the numbers of people who would decide to vote Republican to save us from this illusory “scourge.”

In every segment of society, we can find individual cases of excesses, bad character, or harmful actions.

If we were to condemn entire population groups for these aberrations, then white men would have been banished from the planet by now.

The radical right has launched these attacks on another marginalized group, the trans community, in order to save the now-not-so-dominant paradigm of white male supremacy in the ordering and ruling of this nation. They hope the fear and loathing engendered will translate into votes for the new MAGA brand of Republican (white) authoritarianism.

As times change, we have become ever-so-slowly less willing to allow the historic narrative that brought us slavery, Jim Crow, unequal rights for women, and the ostracizing of all groups who didn't fit into the white-is-right model to maintain dominance in our collective thinking.

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Division, animus, and fear-mongering are not family values. Family values involve love, acceptance, empathy, and supporting one another.

We should be prepared to counter specious claims about people who are different from “us.” We should call out self-serving, meanspirited speech for what it is.

If we allow the radical revisionists to continue to lay claim to be the guardians of family values, then we will soon find out how exclusive that so-called family really is. Family values are not expressed by what type of genitals you were born with.

If we don't accept all people on the planet with love and dignity, then we will continue to allow violence, strife and injustice to reign.

We are starting to do better than that. Let's not allow the carefully scripted attacks on any marginalized people to derail us from this more positive trajectory.

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