June 10, 2023

The Sexual Fetishes of the Far Right

Guest Opinion
By Amy Kerr Hardin | March 20, 2021

While millions of Americans express feigned outrage over the non-existent genitalia of a plastic toy potato, the rest of us wonder why they seem so obsessed with sexuality, especially with so many important things to focus on instead. But no, Fox News has its viewers whipped into a frenzy over the make-believe gender of an inanimate object.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) is apparently fascinated by what’s in other people’s pants. In a truly reprehensible display of hate and ignorance, she hung a sign outside her Capitol office meant to mock a fellow lawmaker who has a transgender child. The sign read: “There are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE.” It additionally said, “Trust the Science.”

That’s rich coming from a person who never met a conspiracy theory she didn’t immediately Tweet as gospel to her rabid base.

Some Republicans are so afraid of fluid gender roles that they brought it up during Merrick Garland’s Attorney General confirmation hearings. The fabricated concern is that transgender athletes in public schools could jeopardize Title IX protections for girls in sports. Poof! Suddenly, GOP lawmakers are interested in championing a program they’ve hated for years. They now claim to be all about girls’ rights — an assertion belied by their years-long opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment.

We all know it’s not trans-athletes threatening women’s sports. The real problem is predatory coaches sexually preying on their students. Typically, all-white, heterosexual males are doing the abusing.

The recent squabbling started over the U.S. House considering The Equality Act — a congressional initiative to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections for LGBTQ individuals. The legislation was deemed necessary because of far-right attacks on LGBTQ rights, even though last year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act already includes LGBTQ people.

South Dakota’s Republican governor just signed a bill that prevents transgender women and girls from competing on female teams in public schools. The law mandates the state launch a massive government tracking program that requires all of its 40,000 student athletes to report their genitalia to the front office. Dear Republicans, this is exactly the kind of government overreach you typically hate.  So, it’s: register your private parts, but not your guns? 

The irony lost on South Dakotan lawmakers is that their new intrusive requirement actually violates Title IX protections because it codifies discrimination on the basis of sex.

Nationally (as of this writing), 66 of 74 anti-trans bills under consideration target youth, including one in Michigan. Virginia State Delegate Danica Roem, the first openly trans person to be elected to a state legislature, is concerned about efforts in statehouses across the nation intended to erode trans rights, especially in schools. She implores, “What’s the point of attacking children? They are kids. They want to play sports.”

Trans is the new gay, according to prominent policy commentator Jon Lovett, who is himself gay. He cites the publicly-sanctioned bullying he faced in his youth. When the far-right discovered they couldn’t un-gay people by denying them rights, they moved on to attack vulnerable trans children. They needed a new strawman to rile their neurotic base.

Here in Michigan, it was only after public pressure that the former Republican speaker of the house, Lee Chatfield, had to resign from a position as CEO of a downstate economic development agency. As house speaker, he had refused to bring a bill to a vote that would have expanded Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include LGBTQ citizens. His excuse? He was just trying to protect the religious rights of those who wish to continue to discriminate.

The nightmarish phantasmagoria of primitive sexual preoccupations among the far-right knows no bounds. Intellectually frail individuals will accept anything — and the internet provides that in abundance.

Many Trump supporters believe there is a secret cabal of high-profile pedophiles who traffic in children and drink their blood. This ridiculous conspiracy theory about child sex-rings begs the question: Why pedophilia? It’s because those peddling this nonsense count on the weak minds of believers. They know that kinky sex sells among the far right. 

The multiple conspiracy theories falsely claiming Democrats and celebrities are baby-eaters is simply a function of psychological projection — reflecting the dark desires of those who fall for this crap. It’s their primitive thoughts rising to the surface. If a person sees pedophilia everywhere, they might be a latent pedophile. 

The child-trafficking conspiracy theory is doing real harm to legitimate organizations working to fight this horrible crime. Conspiracy believers have been flooding hotlines with wild claims they found on the internet, impeding the important work these call centers do to protect children actually being harmed. 

These conspiracy theorists advance their various fetid fantasies fueled by the outrageous claim that the Clintons were trafficking children from the basement of a pizza parlor — a building that, it turns out, has no basement. The internet probably claims there’s a “secret basement.”

One must question the emotional maturity and mental acuity of their vulgar predilections. Family members should consider an intervention; their loved ones have clearly joined a sexual fetish cult. At the very least, encourage them to expand their media diet to include actual journalism. Fox doesn’t count.

We haven’t even touched-on the barrage of legislation introduced in state capitals designed to curtail women’s reproductive rights. These mostly white male lawmakers are attempting to trigger a judicial challenge to Roe v. Wade. But, that’s another story. Stay tuned. 

Amy Kerr Hardin is a retired banker, regionally known artist, and public-policy wonk. You can hear and learn more about the state of Michigan politics on her podcast, www.MichiganPolicast.com.


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