Scare Tactics

08.19.14

Michelle Duggar Is Making Transphobic Robocalls

The “19 Kids and Counting” star and religious conservative is fear-mongering to block an ordinance that would allow transgendered individuals to use gender-specific bathrooms.

Michelle Duggar, the proud mama on TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting and prominent member of the Baptist church, is using her celebrity to foster transphobia.

On Monday, Dugger narrated a robocall to local voters in Fayetteville, Arkansas protesting an anti-discrimination bill that would allow transgender individuals to use bathrooms and other gender-specific facilities as they feel comfortable.

The proposal, which is going before the Fayetteville city council on Tuesday, outlines measures to improve housing and employment rights and lift public accommodations bans for the town’s LGBT and transgender residents. The law would also task a city staff member with accommodating complaints of discrimination from marginalized groups.

Critics insidiously claim that the proposal would endanger Arkansas’ children, claiming that it would “open the door” for sexual predators and pedophiles in publc spaces. It's a line of argument that Duggar pushes in her robocall rallying cry:

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... Women, young ladies and little girls deserve to use the restroom or any other facility in peace and safety.”

Duggar is playing on the old and false conservative conflation of non-heteronormativity with criminal deviancy. 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.

Duggar may have star power among Arkansas’ social conservatives, but the proposal’s proponents have refused to be intimidated. “Transgender people — who are far more likely to be the victims of harassment and violence if forced to use a bathroom that is inconsistent with their gender identity or expression — deserve to have the ability to use the bathroom in peace and safety," wrote Kit Williams, city attorney, in an August 5th memo.

Arkansas is one of 32 states that doesn’t factor sexual orientation and gender identity in its anti-discrimination laws. If the proposal passes, Fayetteville will join other municipalities, including Iowa City and Columbia, Missouri, that have taken similar actions to improve civil rights.  

Read the full transcript of Duggar's robocall:

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 womens 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? I still believe that we are a society that puts women and children first. Women, young ladies and little girls deserve to use the restroom or any other facility in peace and safety. Will you speak up for protecting women and children? Call 575-8330 and tell the Fayetteville City Council members and Mayor Jordan to vote ‘no’ on ordinance 119. The number again is 575-8330. For more information please go to www.freefayetteville.org. Paid for by freefayetteville.org.