In November 2015, many of us in Houston, Texas, feared that we would lose on the recall vote about the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. We did, and we lost massively.
During that campaign, the primary weapon of the religious right was the bathroom predator myth. They had TV ads and everything and blasted that myth across the airwaves. It was not until 2 days before the elections that any local media even began to refute those lies.
As a consequence, we lost that vote bigtime by 61% to repeal the ordinance versus 39% to retain it.
When we lost that vote, within a few days, I made the prediction that the GOP would take the bathroom predator myth nationwide. Why? Because it both helps defeat trans rights and in doing so, it drives ignorant Republican voters to the polls. The bathroom predator myth is, therefore, just a tool to turn out ignorant white straight fundamentalist voters.
This means they are scapegoating trans people as a means to grasp at political power. This was never about women’s safety or bathrooms. This was always about the GOP finding a divisive fear generating wedge issue and then hammering that wedge issue with a sledge hammer til it fractures other coalitions and drives voters into Republican arms.
Republicans see this as a win, because it lets them back down (a little, not all the way) on racism as a fear tactic and instead scapegoat a much smaller population that is unable to defend itself. I’ve even seen Republicans make overtures to black churches about how “bad” trans rights are.
If the SCOTUS ever does rule on this and supports trans civil rights, like the Gavin Grimm case returns to the SCOTUS, you can count on right wingers making “rollback trans rights” into another Supreme Court nominee litmus test just like “rollback abortion rights” is right now.
They will argue they need to pack the court with anti-trans judges to stop this “horror” and “danger” to society. And transgender people will be scapegoated and actively harmed solely to support Republican fear mongering. Trans people will die just so Republicans can use fear mongering to gain political power. And that, my friends, is the real evil here.