An Open Letter To Franklin Graham

While combing through the news this week, I came across a story about how Franklin Graham, in the midst of a vile attack on the LGBTQ+ community and our fight for civil rights, has called Transgender people “predators and sexually perverted.” When are these evangelical preachers going to realize that their actions against people they fear are completely contrary to the teachings of the man named Jesus they claim to follow?

Mr. Graham:

So I’m a predator and a pervert, am I? I identify as Genderqueer, which puts me under the Trans umbrella, and at 34 years of age, I have never preyed on anybody for any purpose; nor have I ever had the desire to do so. Your hateful diatribe against me and those like me reveals a willful ignorance (you do, after all, have access to education on these issues), a fragile ego that feeds off of demeaning and degrading others, and an un-Christlike heart. You should be ashamed of yourself.

As a child, I was in awe of your father. Billy Graham and his message was ever-present in the charismatic and evangelical movements of the time. He was a powerful speaker, and I was convinced that he was ordained by God to spread the gospel. I later came to see him as a charlatan, a man who is not only dishonest, but deliberately deceptive, a man who played on the hopes and fears of people while tugging at their purse strings. You, sir, are just like him. The difference, though, and this is what makes you worse, is that you are actively campaigning to deny basic human rights; and using vile degrading language in the process.

I suppose, Mr. Graham, that you are actually quite proud of yourself. You did, after all, win your last battle to keep discriminatory policy on the books (referenced in the link above), and you are no doubt thrilled that a dozen states still have unconstitutional sodomy bans in place (as of 2014, and to my knowledge these have not changed). But while you insist upon making it difficult for us to be recognized as human beings, and as you carry on this disgusting crusade, listen carefully when I say that you are going to lose. You see, what was once a secret, what used to be dangerous to say, is no longer taboo. Of course in some conservative places, it is still dangerous to say that you are gay, Trans, or even an ally, but in most places it’s now safe to come out. The genie, as they say, is out of the bottle, and it can’t be put back in. We are out, and in the face of oppression we stand proud. That pride is why you will lose. We aren’t going anywhere, and we sure as hell are not backing down from a petty, vindictive, arrogant person like you.

I want to suggest that you sincerely try to learn about who and what we are, about the challenges we face, and about the legitimacy of Trans identity. I want to tell you that at your age it’s not too late. I want to encourage you to find it in your heart to stop fighting against humanity … but I’m almost ashamed to say that I don’t actually care if you do any of that. I am very proud of how I handle my advocacy. I am proud of my insistence on civility, my discretion with labels and ‘name-calling,’ my honesty … but I’m sick and tired of people like you. Since you’re so honest about wanting us to be treated like second-class citizens, and about wanting to deny us basic human rights, here’s a bit of honesty from me to you. I want to see you fail. I want to see your ministry investigated, to have your tax-exempt status revoked, and I want to see you fall out of favour with those who you and your father have been cheating and stealing from all these years. I want to see every piece of legislation you fight against passed, and everything you fight for struck down. And if everything I want happens, it still won’t be enough. Why? Because I could never wish enough ill will on you to match the pain and devastation you want to see levelled against us. I don’t want you put in prison for your beliefs. I don’t want to see you physically assaulted. I don’t want to see you homeless. I don’t want to see you subjected to unconstitutional restrictions on your rights and freedoms. I could never match your hatred for me, because I don’t have it in me to feel that way toward another human being.

Mr. Graham, you may think I’m a predatory pervert, but I encourage you to look in a mirror. I don’t prey on people, nor do I use them … but that’s exactly how your father got rich. I don’t publicly talk about my sexual preferences … but you seem obsessed with the preferences you imagine I have. I fight for people who are taking their own lives … while your fight is the reason they take their own lives. Stop calling us predators and perverts, Mr. Graham. You’re obviously projecting all over yourself.

 

Trans People Are Just Using The Washroom. That’s It!

Ever since the issue of Trans people using the public washrooms best aligned with their gender identity entered the public sphere, opponents have been saying the same thing over and over again. “This is going to result in perverts using the ladies room to gain access to vulnerable women and girls.” Now, in many school districts across North America, policies have been in place for awhile, long enough to assess the impact, that allow Trans people to use the washroom of their choice. The result? Nothing. No reported attacks. Just people using the washroom. That’s it. (read about it here)

It’s time for opponents in the washroom ‘debate’ to stop talking. I understand that a cis woman may be uncomfortable when a person she perceives as a man walks into the ladies room at the local shopping mall, but her discomfort is her problem. The Trans woman who looks to some like a “man” is uncomfortable every time she steps out in public. She knows people stare, point, and judge her for who she is, and keeping her from using the appropriate washroom is just another form of oppression. How do you think she feels being forced into the mens room, much less being the subject of the assumption that she is a pervert looking for access to young girls? 

I’m not going to go on too long here, it’s really not necessary. In the places where Trans people are allowed to use the appropriate restrooms, the result has been that everybody is going to the washroom they are most comfortable using. There have been no reported rapes, no reported molestations, no reported sexual harassment of any kind, and believe me if these things were happening, they would be reported immediately. If Trans people were preying on innocent washroom goers, we would know about it. The absence of incidents speaks volumes, and those who insist that this will happen have to accept that the facts disagree with them.

Is it possible that a bad person will eventually abuse these washroom policies to prey on young women? Of course. But bad people have been doing bad things for centuries. Many right-wingers suggest that the policy is wrong because somebody may use it for criminal intent, but when this logic is turned back on them, they become outraged. Suppose I were to say something really controversial about guns. Suppose I said that all guns should be banned because some people use them to commit murder. This argument has been used by others, and every time these same people … who use this same logic against Trans people using the washroom … suddenly disagree with themselves. The difference is that there is actually evidence for the gun argument. Otherwise law abiding citizens DO commit murder with legal firearms. We know that because it happens every day. Trans people are NOT raping innocent women in washrooms.

The point is, the anti-Trans “washroom argument” has no evidence behind it. On the contrary, the opposite appears to be true. Trans people are using the washrooms they are most comfortable in, nobody is getting hurt by this, and it’s time for you opponents to stop arguing otherwise.