As a rule, The Huffington Post’s Queer Voices won’t publicize the white nationalists’ favorite troll Milo Yiannopoulos. The last thing we want to do is give this attention-seeker oxygen for his racist, transphobic, misogynist dumpster fire.
But there are moments when I think it’s important to fact-check his insanely dangerous rhetoric and one of those moments came Friday night, courtesy of Bill Maher’s “Overtime” aftershow.
After he engaged in a disappointingly playful interview with Yiannopoulous on his HBO show “Real Time With Bill Maher,” he offered the Breitbart editor more airtime, alongside panel members Larry Wilmore, Malcolm Nance and Jack Kingston on “Overtime.”
During the appearance, Yiannopoulos misgendered a trans woman he had previously attacked at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, claimed that transgender people suffer from a “psychiatric disorder” and stated he “makes no apologies for protecting women and children from men who are confused about their sexual identity.”
He went on to claim, “women and girls should be protected from having men who are confused about their sexual identities in their bathroom.” And Maher shockingly responded, “That’s not unreasonable.”
Actually, Bill, not only is it “unreasonable,” it’s absolutely untrue and 100 percent indefensible.
So let’s quickly get a few things clear (and then let me go take a 72-hour bath in a tub full of boiling bleach to try and rid myself of the heebie jeebies I got from watching even three minutes of Yiannopoulos’ appearance with Maher):
1. Transgender people are not ‘confused’ about their ‘sexual identity’
Being transgender has nothing to do with sexual identity ― it has to do with gender identity. Sexual identity is who you are sexually attracted to: men, women, both, neither, some combination of all of the above. Gender identity is how you identify: male, female, neither, both, some combination of all of the above.
2. Transgender people do not suffer from a psychiatric disorder
While many transgender people are afflicted by gender dysphoria ― feeling emotional distress over the difference between the gender they are thought to be at birth and the gender they know themselves to be ― they are not mentally ill.
3. Transgender people are not “disproportionately involved” in sex crimes
At least not in the way Yiannopoulos claims. In fact, in the past 35 years, only one case of an alleged trans person attacking someone in a restroom has been reported anywhere in the entire world.
4. Transgender people are the ones harassed and discriminated against in restrooms
5. Transgender people face shockingly high levels of sexual abuse and assault
One in two transgender people are sexually assaulted or abused at some point in their lives. What’s more, 2016 was the deadliest year on record for transgender people with at least 24 trans people, most of them transgender people of color, murdered and many more deaths not reported.
6. Trans people using restrooms corresponding with their gender identity doesn’t allow predators to gain access to those venues
As Massachusetts State Rep. Paul Heroux explained in a blog on The Huffington Post, “If a predator or pervert tries to gain access to an opposite sex bathroom or locker room, that is already against the law. Furthermore, over 90% of assaults on children are done by someone the child knows. Only with extreme rareness is it someone who is using a restroom, and that is and will continue to be against the law.”
7. Transgender people just want to use a bathroom and leave ― just like everyone else.
So, in summary: No, Milo ― just no. No to your campaign of willfully misinforming anyone who will listen to the sewage that so joyfully spills out of your mouth. No to your despicable and dangerous lies about transgender people. No to everything you said Friday night on Maher’s show. Actually, no to everything you’ve said anywhere at any point. No. No. No.