Confused by all this talk lately about "transgender" people in North Carolina? Don't even bother trying to figure it out for yourself. Just ask Dan Forest, a straight, white, Christian, conservative man who somehow ended up being elected lieutenant governor of the ninth largest state in the country. Sure, Dan's got weird beliefs on most topics
. But on transgender issues, the guy is a true progressive. Why, back in April he came out and declared that HB 2 was discriminatory. How many Republicans in the state have the guts to say something like that?
Actually, strike that. Forest said the Charlotte ordinance that precipitated HB 2 was discriminatory toward females
, because the law would allow transgender people to sneak into restrooms and rape women and girls. Hmm. Well, unfortunately, it appears as though that, too, falls into the category of "weird belief held by Dan Forest."
Yesterday, Forest—who faces Democratic challenger Linda Coleman in November—took a trip out to Statesville to talk about small business. He ended up talking a lot about HB 2. The Statesville Free News
was on hand to jot down the words that tumbled out of his face. Take it away, Dan!
"Transgenderism is a feeling ... it could be a feeling just for the day," Forest said in explaining the fear of HB2 supporters that any man could claim to be transgender, thus "creating the potential for someone with nefarious purposes walking into a girls' locker room."
Forest then suggested that people in the audience fact check what he was saying. The Statesville Free News
did just that. It writes:
Doing so did not support his claim that identifying as transgender is a "feeling." Instead, the American Psychological Association defines transgender as "an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth."
The APA goes on to discuss the complicated factors involved in a person who identifies as transgender. "The diversity of transgender expression and experiences argues against any simple or unitary explanation," according to the APA. "Many experts believe that biological factors such as genetic influences and prenatal hormone levels, early experiences, and experiences later in adolescence or adulthood may all contribute to the development of transgender identities."
It is possible that Forest felt extra-emboldened to discuss transgender people yesterday after seeing a faux-study released on Monday by something called The New Atlantis. The "study
," which was not peer-reviewed and has been dutifully blasted out by right-wing media like the Daily Caller
, "found" that “transgenderism” is not supported by scientific evidence. One of the authors is Paul McHugh.
McHugh previously authored a paper arguing that health care for trans youth is a form of child abuse. He also, in 2010, filed an amicus brief in support of California's gay-marriage ban; in it, he argued that "sexual orientation is, in part, a choice." You can read more about this guy here
If you are embarrassed that you live in a state where high-ranking politicians say things like this, you can donate to Forest's opponent's campaign here