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Michelle Duggar Spreads “Bathroom Panic” in Transphobic Robocall

Michelle Duggar Spreads “Bathroom Panic” in Transphobic Robocall

It’s hard to imagine exactly how a the parents of 18 children have time to take a breath, much less get actively involved in politics, but no one can ever accuse the Duggars of being unambitious. From bans on abortion at the point in which a heartbeat can be detected to backing far right social conservatives on the campaign trail, Jim Bob and his wife Michelle can always be found promoting their favorite causes and candidates.

Now, matriarch Michelle has added trans discrimination that list of favorites. Fayetteville, Ark., proposed a city ordinance to protect discrimination against LGBT residents, including discrimination in hiring, housing and other practices. But the civil rights measure was being campaigned against by those who claimed to be “traditional family values” followers, such as Family Council, which fear-mongered that their religious rights would somehow be stripped in their churches and businesses if they were forced to treat gay or transgender people in the same way as straight or cisgendered counterparts are treated.

To help make their case the group hired Michelle Duggar to record a call to send to residents, where she pleaded with them not to allow men to use women’s bathrooms and potentially sexually assault young girls.

“Hello, this is Michelle Duggar. I’m calling to inform you of some shocking news that would affect the safety of Northwest Arkansas women and children. The Fayetteville City Council is voting on an ordinance this Tuesday night that would allow 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. 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. I doubt that Fayetteville parents would stand for a law that would endanger their daughters or allow them to be traumatized by a man joining them in their private space. We should never place the preference of an adult over the safety and innocence of a child. Parents, who do you want undressing next to your daughter at the public swimming pool’s private changing area?”

Those who support basic equal civil rights for all are incensed at her attempts to whip up hysteria around the specter of alleged child endangerment. “Duggar is playing on the old and false conservative conflation of non-heteronormativity with criminal deviancy,” writes Lizzie Crocker at the Daily Beast. “It’s pure fear-mongering to say that letting a transgendered person use the same bathroom as women and children would be a public safety threat.”

“[W]hile I believe that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, I also believe that others are entitled to judge said beliefs if they’re in any way bigoted, transphobic, or downright false. All of which Duggar’s are,” agrees Tanya Ghahremani at Bustle.

As trans-rights author Parker Molloy notes at The Advocate, this isn’t the Duggars’ first step into the the pro side of the discrimination debate. In 2012, the Duggars actively advocated for a boycott of Girl Scout cookies after a Colorado troop allowed a transgender girl to join. “Our family loves Girl Scout cookies, and I don’t think allowing a boy in the Girl Scouts is a good thing,” they claimed, adding that they firmly believed the original founder of the organization “would be truly upset to hear” that a 7-year-old trans girl was allowed to participate in the same activities as other 7-year-old cisgender girls.

The Fayetteville non-discrimination bill goes far beyond just allowing trans people access to public facilities that they identify and present as, rather than forcing them to use the one that they may be the most biologically connected to. It is meant to stop discrimination in hiring and to protect those seeking rental housing from being barred from applying or turned down because of their orientation, as well. Opponents continue to harp on the bathroom topic, however, despite the fact that their myth of the sexual predator has been thoroughly debunked by legal analysts.

According to Media Matters, “Experts in 12 states — including law enforcement officials, government employees, and advocates for victims of sexual assault — have debunked the right-wing myth that sexual predators will exploit transgender non-discrimination laws to sneak into women’s restrooms, calling the myth baseless and ‘beyond specious.’”

Still, the talking points get used, in what has been termed “bathroom panic.” One recent example was in October, where claims that a trans student was using the girls restroom and harassing the girls inside. Despite the copious news reports, there was no substantiation that such a thing ever occurred, and the school denied such an incident.

The Fayetteville non-discrimination policy passed the city council Tuesday night as expected, and an amendment to exempt tax exempt facilities was added to relieve churches from being subject to the new law. However, while another amendment that would put the issue up for a public vote in November failed, residents can still petition for it to happen, either in November or in an expensive special election. With funding being dumped into a Duggar robocall, it’s clear that for opponents of the anti-discrimination measure, this council vote isn’t the last stop. The question is, how much more transphobic will their tactics become as the persue the right to legally discriminate?

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Photo credit: Wikimedia commons

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199 comments

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7:50AM PDT on Sep 12, 2014

So how can anyone who knows or knows of the Duggars think these people are sane. They have produced a population explosion where they live. In a time when our resources are dwindling because of over-population, these folks produce like bunnies and should receive mandatory neutering. I'm not saying I agree with mandatory neutering but these folks are an example of unethical, amoral, selfish, irresponsible, egotistical abuse of the freedom to breed.

Sadly these folks have passed their breeder beliefs on to their children!

I was completely shocked when I first heard of these breeders on the Today show. They were fawned over and congratulated on their almost criminal behavior. What drivel!!!

7:54AM PDT on Sep 9, 2014

The Duggars are disgusting. Who would ever listen to advice from a family that habitually reproduces and is supported by everyone but themselves. What kind of example are they? They need to go back to the cave where they came from.

6:57AM PDT on Sep 8, 2014

Why not reassign the restrooms as wing-nut conservatives on the right and the rest of us on the left. Can you imagine all the AK 47's, holier than thou, orgies, preaching, women at the back of the line BS in the wing nut restroom? I'm hysterical just imagining the scene.

5:08AM PDT on Sep 8, 2014

Where's equality???

3:09AM PDT on Sep 7, 2014

Who are they to judge ?

9:52AM PDT on Sep 5, 2014

These Duggars make me SICK they are a good reason why we have many of the problems that we have today they are totally STUPID and a very good reason birth control !!!

11:05AM PDT on Aug 27, 2014

Marianne says "Somebody needs to remind Michelle that she's nothing but a dumb cracker breeder who has no social position or political credibility."

Although I agree that Michelle Duggar is ignorant and her beliefs, sadly, are shared by others who perpetuate hatred, I am shocked with the use of a racist term in criticism of her by Marianne, someone whose intelligence I have admired in numerous postings.

I can imagine that if the term "cracker breeder" was replaced by a derogatory term aimed at people of color, an uproar here on Care2 would occur---as it should.

Racist comments have no place in civil discourse.
But as we can see in many of the responses here, civility has gone by the wayside.

Quite frankly, I have little to zero tolerance for racist comments in any context.


8:29PM PDT on Aug 26, 2014

This couple need to focus on their own life's,,, and leave other people alone to get on with their's

10:02PM PDT on Aug 25, 2014

Ms. Duggar, what about heterosexual perverts who install cameras in public bathrooms? Peeping toms? Flashers? Those are the creeps you want to warn people about, not transgender people who are going through enough without being stigmatized by closed-minded bigots like you.

7:52PM PDT on Aug 25, 2014

The Bible states quite clearly that followers of the Christian faith should practice and pray in private. You know, between you and Creator. Period. Putting oneself and exposing ones family on social media and TV isn't being very private about one's faith.
Michelle enjoys being a receptacle of his excrement. She loves it. Birth control, to her, is murder. An people take this seriously enough to keep them on TV for how many years? Or, rather, how many kids later?

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