People at a demonstration hold transgender flags. (Getty Images)
There is no more traditional value than love, but it is the one in which conservatives often seem least interested. When it comes to transgender people, for example, they are quick to sideline love for hate.
Eli Bremer, GOP frontrunner in Colorado challenging Sen. Michael Bennet in 2022, has made transphobia the centerpiece of his campaign.
“Women have rightfully fought for their rights for, quite frankly now, centuries. If you think about it, in the history of mankind women have been subjugated to men,” Bremer mused during a September appearance on Peter Boyles’ KNUS show. Women recently have achieved equality, Bremer explained, but it’s all been threatened, especially by the Biden administration’s anti-discrimination transgender policies.
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“We literally now have men taking away things from women, and it’s actually the progressives and the Democrats who support men destroying what women have rightfully built, and it’s like ‘The Twilight Zone,'” Bremer said. “Liberals are now quite literally allowing biological men to take things away from women, which is abhorrent.”
Bremer, a former Olympic pentathlete, is not merely concerned with trans women supposedly having an unfair competitive advantage over cisgender women in sports. His bias runs deeper.
“Today, Biden and progressives are changing the definition of ‘woman’ to a point where we risk having a legal definition that is unsustainable nor understandable,” he writes on his campaign site. He rejects the use of gender pronouns that don’t match assigned sex at birth. He also has a disturbing habit of grouping his attacks on trans athletes with discussions about convicted serial sex offender and former Olympic doctor Larry Nassar.
Bremer’s prejudice aligns with an alarming rise in transphobia on the Colorado right.
A year ago, the political committee Take Back Colorado bought Facebook ads that misgendered state Rep. Brianna Titone, the first openly trans lawmaker in Colorado, and falsely accused her of “sexualizing children.” Take Back Colorado, which works to elect Republicans, is registered to Joe Neville, brother of Rep. Patrick Neville, who was then the House minority leader. The lawmaker Neville told The Denver Post that the ads showed “the facts.” In another vile attack, Republican state Rep. Stephen Humphrey voiced a robocall around the same time on behalf of Colorado Family Values Victory Fund. Titone is “a transsexual state representative who wants to force a radical sexual agenda on every Coloradan,” the call said, according to CPR.
Last week Rep. Lauren Boebert of the 3rd Congressional District showed she would not be outdone among Colorado trans haters. “‘Admiral’ Rachel Levine,” Boebert sneered on Twitter after Levine, a trans woman who is the U.S. assistant secretary for health, was sworn in last week as an admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, becoming the organization’s first female four-star admiral. “Because Democrats would rather hire a man for a job than a real, qualified woman.” Breathtaking transphobia.
Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia noted Levine’s extraordinary credentials and wrote to Boebert, “You are just a hateful bigot.”
Many transphobes purport to have science on their side — “There are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE … Trust The Science!” said a sign that delirious-with-hate Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia hung outside her office directly across the hall from the office of Rep. Marie Newman of Illinois, who has a trans daughter — but they are dangerously uninformed.
Transgender people have populated societies of every kind throughout human history. “Empirical evidence has demonstrated that trans and non-binary gender identities are normal variations of human identity and expression,” the head of the American Medical Association wrote in April. Biological factors “such as genetic influences and prenatal hormone levels” are thought to contribute to trans identity, according to the American Psychological Association. Transgender science is still emerging, but five years ago, a Scientific American article that weighed recent research concluded that it “points strongly toward a biological basis” for trans identity.
When you trust the science — true science, not science twisted by hate — it’s clear that transphobia comes from a lack of knowledge and an abundance of bias. And the results are tragic. The largest survey on the experience of transgender people in the United States found that 40% of the respondents had attempted suicide. A quarter of trans kids had been physically attacked in school. Trans Americans experienced disadvantages throughout various aspects of society, including employment, health care, criminal justice and housing.
In 1992, Colorado voters adopted Amendment 2, which prohibited state and local governments from enacting protections for gay, lesgian and bisexual people. The shameful measure earned Colorado a new moniker, the “hate state.”
The Supreme Court struck down the amendment, saying it violated the Constitution’s equal protection clause. And the state in many ways has since evolved as a welcoming place for all. Jared Polis is the country’s first openly gay governor.
But some Colorado Republicans, like Eli Bremer, reject this spirit of love and equality. Their unabashed transphobia signals their preference for hate to be central to the state’s identity.
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