Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James has a long anti-gay history, outlined in a recent article highlighting some of his more homophobic, as well as racist, moments and looking at his reelection bid.
James has voted against LGBT rights on numerous occasions and has often garnered negative attention for his offensive comments against minority groups.
He won his reelection bid against Joel Levy, a man with a history of making transphobic comments on social media.
Levy is not alone in his transphobia, however. James’ bigotry also extends to the transgender community and he too is fond of going after them on Facebook and Twitter.
Here is but a sampling of some of the anti-trans hate currently being spewed by an elected official in the state of North Carolina.
James calls transgender people “mentally ill” and misgenders them
Bradley Manning-mentally ill Trans that gave away US secrets attempted suicide-After caught he said he was a girl https://t.co/oe9LYwZ8yK
— Bill James (@meckcommish) July 6, 2016
Someone recovering from a suicide attempt does not invoke James’ apparently dormant sense of empathy. He pounced on Chelsea Manning appearing in the news to smear her as mentally ill and to misgender her as “he.”
James shared an article, both on Facebook and Twitter, by the conservative publication The Federalist comparing being transgender to being anorexic. It asks why we don’t consider gender dysphoria as a mental illness on a par with eating disorders, and compares the pro-transgender movements with the pro-ana movement, which promotes anorexia.
The obvious retort to this being that anorexia kills whereas being transgender does not, except at the hands of bigots, a real and growing concern.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) clarifies whether being transgender is a mental disorder on their website (bolding mine):
A psychological state is considered a mental disorder only if it causes significant distress or disability. Many transgender people do not experience their gender as distressing or disabling, which implies that identifying as transgender does not constitute a mental disorder. For these individuals, the significant problem is finding affordable resources, such as counseling, hormone therapy, medical procedures and the social support necessary to freely express their gender identity and minimize discrimination. Many other obstacles may lead to distress, including a lack of acceptance within society, direct or indirect experiences with discrimination, or assault. These experiences may lead many transgender people to suffer with anxiety, depression or related disorders at higher rates than nontransgender persons.
So it is the hateful discrimination doled out by people such as James that causes the problem.
This is not a new tactic. It has been used against LGB people for years by the anti-gay crowd who told gay, bisexual and lesbian individuals that they were miserable and then set out to do everything in their power to prove the theory by legislating against them. Now that transgender people are beginning to move into the spotlight and gain their rights as well the same rhetoric is being used against them.
Let us also not forget that homosexuality was once also considered a mental illness by the APA, until it was removed from its official Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1973.
The same may be about to happen for gender identity. As the passage on the APA site continues (again, bolding mine):
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), people who experience intense, persistent gender incongruence can be given the diagnosis of “gender dysphoria.” Some contend that the diagnosis inappropriately pathologizes gender noncongruence and should be eliminated. Others argue that it is essential to retain the diagnosis to ensure access to care. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is under revision and there may be changes to its current classification of intense persistent gender incongruence as “gender identity disorder.”
James uses the anti-trans slur “tranny”
James prides himself on being anything but politically correct. This includes hurling epithets at vulnerable communities. Here are some examples of him using the anti-trans slur “tranny.”
— Bill James (@meckcommish) July 2, 2016
James encouraged the North Carolina General Assembly not to “blink,” and questions if the NBA will, after a draft to HB2 did not remove the portion of the bill prohibiting transgender people from using the facilities matching their gender identity. Or as he calls it, “the tranny bathroom provision.”
The NBA has threatened to pull the 2017 All Star Game over the discriminatory bill.
There are even more examples of James using this type of language, as will be evident to anyone who scrolls through his social media accounts.
In an environment where transgender individuals have to be concerned for their safety on a daily basis, some of their own so-called representatives are espousing hatred against them.