Ten years from now, Brian Brown says, the world will be a terrifying bastion of sexual perversion, a hotbed for mass marriages, a poverty-stricken, post-apocalyptic shell of what it once was — and all because we didn’t stop marriage equality when we had the chance.
That’s the gist, at least, of a letter the National Organization for Marriage’s president wrote to the group’s supporters. Like many conservative Christian leaders of our time, Brown is terrified that marriage equality, equal rights for transgender people, and other steps toward a more civil and just society will destroy his comfortably bigoted way of living.
Brown’s blog post, titled “Ten Years From Now,” opens with an imaginary scenario of his teenage daughter getting suspended from school because she asked a trans girl to leave the women’s restroom. Brown and his cohorts seem downright terrified of trans people — they don’t understand them, they don’t care to.
You see, the individual my daughter is referring to is a fully-developed seventeen year old young man, but he has chosen to “identify” as a “she.” The school says “she” is entitled to use the girl’s bathroom, locker room and even shower facilities, and that those like my daughter who object to losing their privacy are harming her identity and bullying her. Bullying will not be tolerated.
Kids these days are told that they can choose their own gender. In fact, gender is no longer particularly relevant in the public schools. A few years ago the school district adopted the Ontario, Canada construct of telling students there were six genders, but recently they’ve gone to the Facebook model and teach that there are dozens of genders. What is relevant these days is not gender, but “gender identity.”
This conservative Christian aversion to trans people has come up more times than I can stand in the last few months, especially as more schools take action to protect (or, in some cases, discriminate against) transgender students. Gender norms, behaviors and expectations associated with a person’s assigned sex at birth are so crucial, they take precedence over a person’s own sense of what’s safe, healthy, and right for them.
Here is my question: How does having a person with different body parts in the stall next to you affect your privacy?
Unless you demand each person in the bathroom strip down before they walk in, how do you know what their body looks like? How would they know what your body looks like? Are other girls required to show IDs or more at the door proving they’re “really” girls? Is restroom usage a group activity that involves looking, commenting, being aware of what a person looks like under their clothes? Not in the schools I went to; maybe elsewhere?
If someone is peeking through the stall cracks to look at you, or harasses you in some other way, that’s a crime no matter the person’s gender. But if you’re each in locked stalls, completely unaware of one another’s bodies, how is it any of your business?
Brown’s imaginary 2024 includes other talking point scenarios often cited by anti-gay conservatives: Christian student groups being shut down for blatant discrimination, for example, and the sudden legalization of polygamous marriages.
Prominent supporters of multi-person marriages, Brown will recall, are often Christians themselves. The same First Amendment that allows Christian student groups to meet in public schools ensures that students can’t get kicked out of those groups for holding different beliefs. Brown wants to have his cake and abuse it, too.
Now, this is the part of Brown’s imagined future I really don’t follow:
I read an article on my device that noted that even though marriage has been made available to any number or combination of people regardless of gender, there are fewer marriages taking place. A majority of children are now being born to unwed parents.
A new study came out the other day showing that teenage drug use, criminality, truancy and suicide were on the rise, while educational attainment is declining. More people are living in poverty than any other time in my life. The President published a video saying these facts point to the need for a massive new government program and proposed to raise taxes to pay for it.
All this resulting from allowing committed couples to marry, provide for one another in times of hardship, and raise children in a safe and loving home?
Apparently, yes. When he zaps out of his futuristic fantasy to describe how we *must act now* to save ourselves, he says outright that virtually every societal wrong stems from allowing same-sex couples to marry:
States and local governments across the nation are passing laws prohibiting discrimination based on “gender identity.” Schools allowing students to use the bathroom of their choice is becoming common. Canadian schools do recognize six genders, while Facebook recognizes 50. Virtually every high school campus has an LGBTQ group, but Christian organizations are increasingly being eliminated. More and more children are being born out of wedlock, and those children are much more prone to experience problems in their lives, including living in poverty. While polyamorous marriages are not yet legal, courts have already moved to remove some barriers to polygamy. And the concept of short-term marriage contracts is actively being promoted in some quarters.
All of this — every bit and more — stems from the failure of our society to preserve marriage in the law and to promote a healthy marriage culture.
Every bit and more! I had no idea my gayness was inflicting poverty. Damn.
Joking aside, this is a horrific claim with virtually no evidence to back it up. Perhaps Brown has missed out on the many studies that suggest children of same-sex couples are just as happy and healthy as those with a mom and dad.
Maybe he’s ignoring how many states which recently legalized marriage equality have seen (or likely will see) boosts to their economies, or that there are literally no cases of students abusing transgender nondiscrimination policies to harass other kids in the bathroom.
He’s not paying attention to how public support for marriage equality has grown quickly in the last several years, with a proper majority now in favor.
He conveniently forgets that more and more churches are stepping forward to affirm and accept LGBT people, not vilify them.
None of this matters, so long as Brian Brown can continue to condemn a transgender teenager for using the women’s bathroom.
To put it bluntly, there’s already a whole lot wrong with society, and marriage equality is not what caused it. Ten years from now, marriage equality may actually be legal nationwide. Despite what Brown says, we can rest assured that extending rights, respect, and dignity to same-sex couples will only improve the world for ourselves, our kids, and our grandkids, not destroy it.
(Image via Wikipedia)