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Society is progressive. Not in the political sense, but in that it always moves forward. We address a problem, we learn from it, and we move on to the next one. We're a goddamn freight train of understanding, barreling through one unjust practice after another like they're so many arrogant cows. Or that's the idea, anyway. But sometimes history repeats itself. Like right now, with our treatment of transgender issues, which so closely mirrors past bigotry. We're still trotting out tired old arguments, like ...

6
"They'll Ruin Sports!"

YouTube

Immediately after the International Olympics Committee announced it would no longer discriminate against transgender athletes, the internet's butthole opened wide and a torrent of thinkpieces burst out:

The Federalist

The Times
Read: "Women are unfair to women."

Or when MMA fighter Fallon Fox announced that she wanted to compete against other women, upsetting the fourth male lead of NewsRadio:

The Daily Banter
Where is Andy Dick's hot take? That's the real story.

Several MMA fighters and pros have said that Fox shouldn't fight women. The argument is that since trans athletes produce more testosterone (not after surgery) and have mightier skeletons (not really), we shouldn't let them compete with "female-all-along" ones. Sure, that almost makes sense (if you ignore the parentheticals), but it sounds somehow familiar ...

Where We've Heard It Before:

"The integrity of sports" has been used to justify discrimination for a long time. Look no further than the color barrier, which kept talented black athletes from playing in the major leagues until the middle of the 20th Century. Even after they were allowed in, other players would still refuse to play with them -- not because they were racist, of course, but because tradition.

Via Baseballcontinuum.com

Via Baseballcontinuum.com
"Them's the rules, nothing we can do about it!" -- the people who make the rules

In baseball, those "traditions" didn't exist until the 1880s, when teams agreed to release all of their black players to appease some loudmouthed racists. A shit-fit thrown by the worst segment of society was enough to keep black players from the major leagues until Jackie Robinson broke the barrier in 1947 ... which, of course, earned him death threats. Good thing that'd never happen these days.

Via My-moral-compass.com

Twitter

Twitter
Who could've foreseen ... that the 1940s threats would have more caps?

As recently as the late '80s, respected sports assholes matter-of-factly explained that black people coaching would be unfair to whites, or that they simply lacked the mental "necessities" to be competent managers. While he was at it, that last guy also claimed that there weren't any successful black swimmers -- not due to a lack of opportunities, but "because they don't have the buoyancy."

Adam Pretty/Getty Images, Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
They have even less buoyancy now, with all those medals weighing them down.

Just like those sinister trans people with their extra-heavy skeletons ...

5
"This Is Nothing But An Excuse For Perversion!"

Breitbart

Recently, Target made the controversial decision to let customers use their bathrooms rather than explode in the store. You'd think the Book of Revelations had a whole chapter on bathroom policy, based on the reactions:

The Washington Post

Breitbart

The Political Insider
Nothing says "Facts ahead!" like a headline with the phrase "Brilliant Meme" in it.

The fear of men suddenly storming into female restrooms for a solid perving session are largely unfounded ... unless we're talking about the ones the conservative groups themselves are sending into ladies' rooms to "prove a [stupid] point." And we shouldn't have to say this, but the overwhelming evidence says that trans people (and LGBTQ+ folks in general) are no more likely to commit sexual assault than the average population.

Where We've Heard It Before:

The idea that putting two different types of people together would result in wanton depravity is one of the oldest, and dumbest, American traditions. For centuries, false accusations of sexual assault were used as justification to lynch or straight-up massacre black people in the United States. And when racial integration finally became a thing, what did detractors assure us would happen next? Rape Town, USA, basically.

Via Theseamericans.com

Special Collections Dept./Univ. of Arkansas Libraries

Via Alexander Historical Auctions, LLC
Nothing gets out the vote quite like the ol' "Cannibalism in school" platform.

During desegregation, the fear was that sharing bathrooms with black people would result in innocent white girls catching all sorts of STDs. Some even worried that the Equal Rights Amendment might lead to worse perversions, such as (*gasp!*) men and women having to live and work together.

John Hay Library, Brown University
If your bedroom has a toilet in it, having to share space with the opposite sex probably won't come up.

Then again, there are still people who claim that the mere presence of women in certain areas (the workforce, the military, etc.) creates an irresistible temptation to commit sexual assault. One of them is running for president.

Twitter
"I can barely keep my hands off of my employees, and I'm related to some of them!"

And speaking of that guy ...

Continue Reading Below

4
"Why Bother Giving Them Rights If They're Such A Small Part Of The Population?"

Glennbeck.com

It all boils down to: "If there are so few of them, who gives a shit?" Professional bad-opinion-haver Donald Trump has said that transgender rights issues are overblown because the trans population is "tiny, tiny" -- kinda like his creepy little doll hands.

Joe Mahoney / Stringer/Getty Images
Two of the hands in this photo are Trump's, but good luck identifying which.

A Tennessee pastor went viral all the way to Fox News, virus headquarters, for saying that doing something for the benefit of "0.3 percent of the population" isn't worth the (imaginary) risks. The "0.3 percent" figure soon spread to every corner of the conservative internet, from Glenn Beck's website to your uncle's shitty blog where all of the headlines were stolen from Glenn Beck's website:

Dreadlines.com

Peskytruth.Wordpress.com

Glennbeck.com
"0.3 percent" sounds a lot less significant than "1,000,000 potential customers."

This reasoning plagues LGBTQ+ issues in general, and claims their problems are elevated "way beyond [their] actual cultural significance" compared to the number of people affected by racism or sexism. Funny they should mention that ...

Where We've Heard It Before:

The fact that minorities are, you know, in the minority has always been one of the key justifications for oppressing them. As soon as the Civil Rights movement got going, opponents trivialized the struggle as addressing "a few dirty splotches" on "a great ship." Anyone who called for reform was "exaggerating," probably as part of a communist plan to destroy America.

John Birch Society

Kingsport Post
America: stopping nonexistent plots aimed at our destruction for 240 years.

What's more, the end of segregation was held back for years in areas with low black populations because it wasn't seen as an "urgent" issue -- if they didn't have the numbers to make a strong demonstration for equal rights, that must mean they really didn't need them that badly, right? It was the equivalent of your high school bully arguing that you didn't need your lunch money, or you would have put up more of a fight.

This argument was even used against women, whom you might recognize as 51 percent of the population. The assumption was that only a small minority of women even wanted the vote, so why bother?

New York World

Virginia Association Opposed To Woman Sufferage
Sure, that totally reads like something written by a woman.

Leaving aside the fact that our current transgender population estimates are most likely way off (if you're wondering why someone wouldn't want to admit being trans, you haven't been paying attention to this article), it doesn't matter if it's 3 or 0.00003 percent. There's no magical number that makes a group deserving of human rights. The only qualifier is right there in the name: "human."

3
"Telling Me I Can't Harass People Is A Violation Of My Free Speech!"

Churchmilitant.com

The real tragedy about transgender people isn't their staggeringly high suicide rates -- it's that since their "sudden appearance," you can't use your favorite words anymore! Who's the true victim here?

Bizjournals.com

Churchmilitant.com

Christianpost.com
Yup, these persecution claims and martyrdom via lion are exactly the same: fictitious.

One author laments that his side already lost one fight when it came to homosexuality, but there's still time to stop the "transgender agenda" from making similar advances (the fact that he didn't label it a "transgenda" should be a hate crime).

Where We've Heard It Before:

Ever heard the idea that the Civil War wasn't about slavery, but about "protecting states' rights"? That's more or less a modern invention. We live in a time of gentler, more sensitive bigots, who resent being called as such and will unironically freak out at being described with a term they deem insulting. Meanwhile, 1860s Southern propaganda stressed that treating blacks like people came "at the expense of the white man," and that a vote for Abraham Lincoln was a vote against those poor, downtrodden slavers.

Via Atlantablackstar.com

Via Veteranstoday.com
Pictured: states' rights?

Meanwhile, women have to deal with this claptrap every time they log on to the internet. Communities (and we use the word loosely) like the Men's Rights Movement assert that feminism has gone "too far" and is now encroaching on the rights of the fellas. They only right they've lost is the ability to demean women without consequence, but dammit, that's something worth fighting for! There's a delicious parallel between those attitudes and the anti-suffragette propaganda posters showing men as sad victims of their wives' ability to vote.

Dunston-Weiler Lithograph, National League for Opposing Woman Suffrage
Their wives are probably out Ghostbusting.

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2
"What's Next? Letting People Marry Animals?"

Vosizneias.com

"If they let the gays marry, next thing you know, people will be marrying dogs! Or children! Or dogs to children!" As if we're all secretly supporting human rights because one day it will allow us to legitimize our love for Ling-Ling, the world's sexiest panda.

When it comes to transgender people, the dialogue centers around a person's ability to self-identify. "If the legal criteria for a thing's identity is mere belief on the part of the subject, why shouldn't a child be allowed to have a romantic relationship with an adult if he believes himself to be an adult as well?" says this guy, who A) doesn't understand how consent works, and B) probably shouldn't be allowed around kids. Surely, if we allow "biological men" to identify as women, soon the law will start recognizing them as frogs, or pears, or Apache attack helicopters.

Helicopterbro.tumblr.com
We'd actually be OK with that last one.

Where We've Heard It Before:

The slippery slope pretense has been recorded as early as 1848, as justification for denying women equal rights. Many at the time (including women) thought this would obviously result in the complete dissolution of the family unit, and the loss of the so-called "God-given order of human relations." Though that has yet to happen, misogynists still like shouting that it totally will any day now. Just you wait.

MSNBC
At least he acknowledges how good they are at multitasking.

The slippery slope argument was used as a (thankfully unsuccessful) legal defense in 1967's fantastically named Loving v. Virginia case, which struck down prohibitions on interracial marriage. To the opposition, letting two consenting adults of different races marry was the same as letting a man marry several women, or a six-year old, or their "slow" cousin. It's nice that this argument was overruled, but it's not so nice that it took until the Vietnam War era for it to happen.

Univ. Of Chicago Press
"The mentally incompetent can still practice law, though."

Interracial marriage didn't lead to the legalization of pedophilia or incest, the same way gay marriage hasn't led to the legalization of "all 547 forms of sexual deviancy or 'paraphilias' listed by the American Psychiatric Association," despite what this guy in 2009 promised us. But fingers crossed. There's still time!

1
"I'm Not A Bigot; It's Biology!"

YouTube

The ultimate excuse for being against trans people is that you're not. They don't exist! That's some Sixth Sense bigotry right there. But seriously, you once read a full article by some science bro who said trans people are "biologically impossible," whatever that means!

Cnsnews.com

Ncregister.com

Rawstory.com
He's being hyperbolic. It's a skirmish with biology, at best.

Transgenderism has been (incorrectly) labeled as a mental disorder by some otherwise qualified psychiatrists -- despite the fact that trans children who are allowed to be themselves turn out completely mentally healthy. Tucker Carlson called trans acceptance a part of "the left's war on biology" on Fox News, a network ironically also best described as "a war on biology." "It's a weird moment in America," concludes Tucker, and we agree, because he somehow has a career.

Where We've Heard It Before:

The United States has an ugly history with pseudosciences like phrenology and racial anthropological physiognomy, which are fancy names for "Let's use circular logic to back up our prejudices and hope no one notices."

Via Scienceagogo.com
We're not sure cutting off the back third of David's head is really helping your case.

This continued well into the 20th Century, when heavily biased and unscientific "intelligence" tests concluded that white folks rule and all other races drool. These results have long since been debunked -- possibly by the "nuh uh" theory -- but modern racists insist on their veracity, like that one contrarian friend you have who insists that the best James Bond was Roger Moore.

It's not always fringe idiots. One of the patron saints of science, Charles Darwin, was guilty of using faulty reasoning to justify the oppression of women. Darwin either discovered or invented evolution, depending on which state you live in, but that didn't stop him from determining that "males are more evolutionarily advanced than females." Darwin must not have taken any footballs to his excessively vulnerable and therefore evolutionarily flawed testicles any time recently.

Charles Darwin
"This needs a visual aid. Somebody go find me that guy who can almost draw the statue of David."

Some of Darwin's anthropologist contemporaries even argued that "women's brains were analogous to those of animals." And some freaks still wanted to marry those animal-brained women! What's next?!

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