In May, Sacramento’s KRXQ radio station was caught in a maelstrom of its own making. Two of the three morning “shock jocks” spewed a tirade of transphobic vitriol, not only hateful, but also tantamount to incitement toward violence and directed at children who express gender diversity. Rob Williams and Arnie States went so far above the pale of rational human behavior that the show was forced to take a short hiatus, sponsors withdrew advertising dollars and both LGBT and straight press took the two to task for their careless and dangerous diatribe.
You can listen to clips from the show here:
Amongst other inane statements made by this duo are the following:
• The transgender movement is phony.
• Trans persons all “get a free pass.”
• Trans children, and adults, are only looking for attention.
• Being trans is evil.
• There’s no historical evidence for being transgender; its all made up — “transgenders did not exist four decades ago.”
• The next thing will be falling in love with animals.
These statements were nothing short of incendiary:
• If my son put on high heels, I would probably throw a shoe at him. I would hit him with a shoe. Because he’s a boy and boys don’t wear girls clothes.
• Four decades ago, they’d tell ya to change, or we’ll put a spear though your head.
• You got a boy saying, “I wanna wear dresses.” I’m going to look at him and go, “You know what? You’re a little idiot! You little dumbass! Look, you are a boy! Boys don’t wear dresses.”
All this was in response to a recent story about Katie, an eight-year-old Omaha, Neb., girl. Based on Katie’s persistent female gender expression since the age of four, her parents allowed her to dress as a girl at home. They finally decided it was in the child’s best interest for her to live full-time as the girl Katie knew she was. They further decided to let Katie attend school as a girl at the private Catholic school she had previously attended. Sadly, the administration refused to allow her to attend as a trans youth. Instead, Katie will attend a public school next term.
In their broadcast, Williams and States accused Katie of manipulating her parents because she was the middle child and wanted attention. Rob asserted that were it his child, he’d have called him/her an idiot and a dumbass, and that parents who were not harsh to these children were just enablers. Kids that persist will be punished. Responding to one caller who compared being trans to being obese, or to being a thief, Rob added kleptomania as an analogous behavior. She was repetitively referred to as “he…she…it.”
This is not the first time Williams and States have made national news for their bigotry and vitriol. In 2004, they were cited by the FCC for “a graphic and detailed discussion of various methods that men may employ to disgrace, degrade and humiliate women before, during, and after sexual intercourse.”
This latest attack upon Katie in Omaha was not only grievous and malicious, but indicative of a level of hate that warrants attention. It is not a coincidence that both the Department of Human Services and the Southern Poverty Law Center have noted and cautioned against escalating hate speech and violence in the United States.
I’m not inferring that either Williams or States represent any specific group espousing a hateful agenda, but their blatant ignorance and intolerance begs the question as to how many other persons hold similar views. These people are “ripe for the pickin’” for hate preaching groups such as Focus on the Family, the Traditional Values Coaltion, American Family Association and others of their ilk. As more legislative and judicial victories are achieved, we can expect to see a ramping up from these organizations. And, expect them to get down and dirty.
There even appears to be some sort of coalition of hateful/neo-Christian/neo-conservative/family values organizations forming. Their short-term mission is to prevent impending hate crime and discrimination legislation from being enacted. They have been quoted many times, insisting that passage of hate crime legislation will mean the end of free speech. Their long-term goal is to stem the tide of those who try to foist a “homosexual agenda” upon the rest of the world. No sense trying to explain to the likes of Rob and his sidekick Arnie the difference between being trans and gay.
Okay, it’s only kind of good. We take what we can get.
The aftermath of the KRXQ incident brought a public discussion of some of the issues facing trans persons. Will we see anything permanent in attitude change at this juncture? Probably not. But, it is just one more small step in the effort to transform society, where individuality and diversity do not fall victim to bigotry and thoughtless hate spewers like Williams and States. Both hate crimes legislation and ENDA are moving through Congress. The President actually helped to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Stonewall and Jerrold Nadler, a congressman from New York, is attempting to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include gender-identity and sexual orientation. Where 10 years ago, most of our press came from tabloids and Jerry Springer, we are now seeing media attention from bona fide reporters. When miscreants like Williams and States bloviate their misguided ignorance, reasonably minded persons speak up and take them to task.
All the while, too many trans people are still living in poverty, starving and dying.
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