The arc of history bends towards justice, or so we say. Yet, every so often, we totally lose ground to reactionary, bigoted curmudgeons who work tirelessly to roll back any progress we make on social justice issues. Unfortunately, today is one of those days. Michelle Duggar's transphobic robocall seems to have in part helped overturn the Fayetteville, Arkansas non-discrimination ordinance.
Despite the fact that the ordinance passed the Fayetteville city council in a 6-2 vote, and the city attorney strongly supported it, 52% of the vote (7,523 ballots) went to repealing the ordinance, according to the local news media KFSM News. Duggar focused her attention on trans women, painting the ordinance as allowing "men – yes, I said men – to use women's and girls' restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas and other areas that are designated for females only," and focusing on the almost-never-happens-except-that-one-guy-in-Canada-and-even-the-shelter-involved-said-quit-blaming-trans-women situation of cisgender male child predators pretending to be trans women to access female-only spaces.
I don't believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls
The ordinance as written did allow trans people to use public facilities associated with their identified gender. Which, you know, is kind of just the right thing to do. But apparently there are those, like Minister Duncan Campell, the president of Repeal 119, who do not understand what civil rights or institutionalised discrimination are. The ordinance had prohibited many other types of discrimination, including "race, ethnicity, national origin, age (if 18 years of age or older), gender, gender identity, gender expression, familial status, marital status, socioeconomic background, religion, sexual orientation, disability or veteran status." Lots of good stuff there. Yet, Campbell and his cohorts are the real victims, or so he told KFSM News.
We wanted to repeal the ordinance because we didn't believe it made Fayetteville a fairer city or a freer city. It did just the opposite. It was called the Civil Rights Ordinance, but it was misnamed. It was an ordinance that actually took away civil rights and freedom from people.
Duggar and her family, who are not even from Fayetteville (according to my friend, out and proud Fayetteviller, Matthew), have done a lot more than make transphobic robocalls. Indeed, they've actually dropped a butt-load (19 butt-loads?) of money into local elections, thus assuring them the purchase of their very own transphobic politicians, according to the New Civil Rights Movement.
The "19 Kids and Counting" family "donated $10,000 toward the campaigns of the three most outspoken opponents to Fayetteville's new Civil Rights Administration ordinance. The Duggars gave $2,000 to John La Tour, and $4,000 to both Joshua Crawford and Paul Phaenuef," the Fayettevile Flyer reported October 31. "La Tour, Crawford, and Phaneuf have all said they oppose the ordinance and were each listed as contacts on a press release for Repeal 119."
Wake up, Fayetteville. 14,000 votes? You let just over 7000 people in a city of near 80,000 decide for the rest of y'all. If you find this appalling, do something about it. Duggar doesn't even live in your city, why does she get to run it?
Image via AP.