Anyone who ever told you “there’s no stupid questions” is wrong. Case in point: In arguing that the transgender rights protected under the Equality Act would enable “bad actors,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R—Fla.) posited, “Consider this possibility, if President Trump were to say, ‘I am now the first female president.’ Who would celebrate that?”
Okay, breathe. Let’s continue.
Gaetz, who’s no stranger to outlandish and harmful statements, uttered these words during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Equality Act. This proposed legislation would make discrimination based on gender illegal, thereby protecting the rights of transgender individuals. Many trans people live in poverty because of employment discrimination and in 2013, transgender women made up 72% of the victims of LGBTQ or HIV-motivated homicides. Clearly, protections are necessary.
These very tangible threats mean little to someone like Gaetz, who proceeded to explain that he wouldn’t support the legislation because it “would only nominally protect certain individuals while causing tremendous harm to others.”
“I strongly support the rights of transgender individuals. I will not denigrate or deny their struggles,” he claimed. “But I am concerned about the potential bad actors who would exploit the provisions for their own gain.”
He went on to pose the hypothetical about Trump declaring himself trans because Gaetz—surprise, surprise—does not actually care about trans people. If he did, he’d abandon the “bad actors” argument and realize that the transgender community’s overwhelming need for safety outweighs his strange made-up stories. Further, his claims about “bad actors” reinforce the harmful perspective that transgender people are simply cis people dressing up as the opposite gender, one which directly feeds into violence against trans men and women.
“I want to support this legislation and in the broadest sense I do. I believe that individuals in our country should not face discrimination for their sex or their gender or their sexual orientation,” Gaetz said in the hearing. We’re speculating that his nose grew a couple inches while he said that.
The Florida politician then asked what would happen “when sex is defined as gender identity and gender identity is terribly vague?”
“Will all sex-based distinctions be erased?” he added, as if asking about the impending apocalypse.
You know what? We sure hope so. Also, sex and gender are different. Educate yourself.