Democratic Rep. Marie Newman of Illinois, whose office is directly across the hall from Greene’s, placed a transgender flag outside her door Wednesday as an act of solidarity with the trans community following a heated floor debate on the pro-LGBTQ Equality Act, which ultimately passed the House Thursday afternoon, 224-206.
In response, Greene placed a sign outside her door, declaring “There are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE. ‘Trust the science.’” Because Greene’s mastery of ‘science’ is renowned.
Anyway, the exchange perfectly encapsulated the two parties: Democrats fighting to recognize and protect the basic dignity of all individuals while Republicans target certain individuals for derision and exclusion from fundamental protections afforded to other Americans by the U.S. Constitution. Ya know—the type of stuff that makes LGBTQ Americans more prone to suicide. Kinda reminds you of someone who might, say, harass a group of teenaged mass shooting victims, because they hadn’t apparently experienced enough trauma in their young lives.
But just to be clear, Greene isn’t alone. Targeting gay and transgender individuals in order to use them as a wedge issue in elections has been blood sport for the Republican Party for decades. And while the GOP did use hate speech to some political advantage in the 2000s, Americans have since come down firmly on the side of human dignity and expanding the umbrella of constitutional protections. On what is perhaps the most high-profile LGBTQ issue, same-sex marriage is now supported by at least two-thirds of Americans, according to Gallup (which has been polling the issue since the ’90s). Republicans, as you might recall, chose the wrong side of that battle for short-term political gain with zero concern for the harms they inflicted on a disfavored minority.
More recently, Republicans have moved on to maligning an even more vulnerable group within the LGBTQ community: transgender individuals. From participation in sports to being able to safely use public restrooms, Republicans want transgender people—particularly school-aged kids—excluded.
The difference here is the fact that it hasn’t proven to benefit them politically even a little bit. It’s not a party that’s willing to vilify people for political gain, it’s just a party that revels in vilifying people. Period.
We know that because the former North Carolina governor who became the poster child for championing anti-trans issues in the 2016 cycle lost his reelection over it. In fact, defeating Gov. Pat McCrory in ’16 was one of the very few Democratic bright spots in a year where Republicans pretty much cleaned up.
But it’s not just North Carolina where championing anti-trans issues has proven a loser—the same thing happened in Texas, where Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick sought to capitalize on a hate campaign against transgender individuals being able to use public restrooms. After fighting that battle for several years to no good end, they finally walked away from it 2019, saying there was no longer any need for a so-called “bathroom bill” they had been pushing for years. In other words, they cut their losses because they had taken such a beating from the business community and lost revenues for the state over the issue.
So today’s GOP hate campaign is as gross as ever—and it promises no political advantage whatsoever. It’s just a bunch of truly mean people being hateful, for the sake of good times. And no, Greene isn’t alone—not by a long shot. In fact, here’s Sen. Rand Paul on Thursday likening “genital mutilation” to transition surgery during a confirmation hearing for Biden nominee Dr. Rachel Levine, a trans woman.