Media Matters reports that both CNN and Fox News thought it worthwhile to invite representatives from anti-LGBT hate groups to offer their perspectives on California’s new law protecting transgender students. CNN turned to Randy Thomasson of the hate group Save California, who called the Transgender Law Center’s Masen Davis a “lady” after blaming molestation and divorce for children’s “sexual confusion”:
If a child is sexually confused, they need professional counseling. Lots of children are being molested in America. Lots of children are being abandoned by one or the other parents, and that creates a problem with the child’s expectations with their mind. So a child that is sexually confused, they need professional counseling. My opponent on this is saying, “Look, this is a rights issue.” What about the rights of a child to be sexually comfortable in the bathroom? What about the rights of millions and millions of California children and their parents? You know, this is trampling the rights of everybody else. [...]
Hey, good to talk to you ladies.
Meanwhile, Fox News unsurprisingly turned to the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg, who claimed the law panders to students’ “transient feelings and emotions,” though host Martha MacCallum had many anti-trans ideas to spread too:
MACCALLUM: So you’re going to have a boy or a girl who maybe says, “I feel more like a boy today,” and then what if two months down the road, he feels more like a girl the next two — there’s a lot of confusing things that come into this. I know that people have very deep-seated conflict with these issues that can be very painful for them. It does affect a certain number of people. It’s not a big problem.
SPRIGG: I would point out that we would oppose this in principle, the idea that people can change a fundamental biological reality such as their sex, but it’s shocking that the legislators introducing this are unwilling to compromise even on the more radical aspects of this, such as the bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams, where there are fundamental biological realities. Now, talking about young people, you’re going to be talking about people who have not had sex-change surgery.
These interviews join a multitude of conservative perspectives that were also included in printed news stories about the legislation’s passage.
What’s clear is that many of these speakers do not understand transgender youth in the slightest. There is absolutely no evidence that molestation affects gender identity, as Thomasson suggests, nor that “biological reality” is even relevant, as Sprigg asserts. Trans kids are not switching their gender willy-nilly; they have an enduring gender identity, often from very young ages. Likewise, they’re not just randomly choosing a bathroom or a sports team, but are simply looking for the freedom to use the facilities with which they identify.
Media outlets are doing a severe disservice to transgender youth by including these hateful guests. The reason that trans students are struggling in school is because of the stigma imposed by adults who do not understand how to respect their identities.