Last week I wrote, Bill Maher, Donald Trump, and the Existential Threat. It was not about transgender rights. But I did note, “As with same sex marriage, I don’t think [transgender bathroom use] is a particularly big issue.” I added, “When LGBT people are still commonly beaten up and even murdered, these other worthy causes strike me rather more as easy and non-threatening things that the straight community can do until the descriptor LGBT itself because pointless.” But Shakezula and others at Lawyers, Guns & Money thought I was very wrong. In fact, Shakezula even responded that I had “no business commenting” on the subject.
I Wasn’t Writing About Transgender Rights
Remember that my article is not about transgender rights. The article is about the notion that Donald Trump is an existential threat. It argued against the idea that we should all give up our liberal principles because of This Year’s Existential Threat to Truth, Justice, and the American Way. I did come back to the issue of transgender rights. At the end, I wrote, “It is not the time to pretend that we aren’t liberals — to back off on transgender bathroom rights or anything else.” So I think you can see that the problem we have here is not that I don’t support transgender rights, but that I admit to a hierarchy — bathroom rights not being at the top of the list.
Let’s consider same-sex marriage for a moment. Most liberals these days think that it is the very definition of LGB rights. Yes, it is a sign of the progress we have made. But if you want to pick a single issue that galvanized the LGBT rights movement, it was the AIDS epidemic. And yes, the hundreds of thousands of Americans who died of AIDS was far more important than same-sex marriage. That doesn’t mean that I’m unaware that different kinds of prejudice work together. For example: voting rights and lynching.
The truth is that we all prioritize, and I was deeply offended that Shakezula seemed to think that I had no business commenting on transgender rights if I don’t follow his orthodoxy. Not that I think he was commenting on me specifically. There were only 16 click-throughs from that trackback. And I doubt that any of the commenters made it past the second paragraph where they got their outrage fix.
A Comment That Could Start a Conversation
The whole thing started with this comment, which I think explains everything. Commenter JL wrote:
Now, I’m actually aware of all this. But if I weren’t, I would want to be. So shouldn’t that comment be made here where I would see it? After all, anyone can comment here. It isn’t like at Lawyers, Guns & Money where one must register to comment. But no. The comment wasn’t intended for me. What’s more, it wasn’t intended to increase transgender rights. It was meant to preach to the choir and prove how worthy and liberally pure JL is.
Outrage Is More Important That Engagement
So let’s sum up. I wrote an article encouraging liberals not to abandon their principles just because Donald Trump is running for president. I specifically mentioned not retreating on transgender bathroom rights. And I get a bunch of “holier than thou” liberals who most likely read at best part of my article complaining that I didn’t understand transgender rights. And by extension, the rights of any oppressed group.
Nice going people! Especially you Shakezula! Very liberal. Very open-minded. So very helpful.
If I sound angry, it’s because I am. Over the past few years, I’ve become more and more intolerant of what I see as “middle class liberalism.” One of the commenters wrote, “I feel that anyone who dismisses bathroom access as a ’boutique’ issue or as a not very serious problem should be willing to forgo any use of public bathrooms. For a start.” Well, has this commenter ever tried to find a bathroom in San Francisco as a homeless person? I suspect not. I suspect that very self-righteous commenter has never been homeless and broke. I have. Many of my friends have been. I am not surrounded by the effete class. The “boutique” is Lawyers, Guns & Money, where financially stable people can increase the happiness of their lives by pointing out just how “noble” they are. What a pathetic show of self-righteousness!