Maybe it's time to turn your attentions away from policing the speech of drag queens with reality shows, drag queens with club nights, and retired drag queens with advice columns... and focus your attentions, your tweets, and your rage on the 16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention?
Today delegates to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (the largest Protestant body in American, with around 16 million members) approved a resolution concerning transgender people. The points they affirmed about transgender people are below, each followed by the supporting text from their affirmed resolution. Following these points is the whole of the resolution from which this support is derived.
Transgender people are crazy. (“[Transgender people experience] a ‘perceived’ conflict between their biological sex and their gender identity.”)
Transgender people are delusional. (“Gender identity should be determined by biological sex and not by one’s self-perception.”)
Transgender people should not be protected by law. (“We call upon all judges and public officials to resist and oppose the efforts to treat gender identity as a protected class.” “We commit ourselves to pray for and support legislative and legal efforts to oppose the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and other legislation like it that would give gender identity the same legal protections as sex and race.”)
No law should ever in any way validate transgender people. (“We continue to oppose steadfastly all efforts by any court or state legislature to validate transgender identity as morally praiseworthy.”)
The SBC's transgender resolution goes on to urge their members to... pray away the trans. That shit didn't work for the gays, of course, and it won't work for the trans. But just as aggressive pray-away-the-gay efforts drove countless gay kids to suicide, aggressive pray-away-the-trans efforts will drive countless trans kids to suicide. And trans kids are already at much greater risk for suicide than gay kids—and that's before they're monstered by preachers and parents who believe that trans people are crazy and deluded sinners who don't deserve validation or legal protections.
There are trans kids out there being raised by Southern Baptists, Southern Baptists are enormously powerful in Bible Belt states, and Southern Baptists hold enormous sway over our national political leaders. The actions of the Southern Baptist Convention represent a bigger threat to the health and safety of trans people in this country—by any measure—than a hundred thousand "You've Got SheMail" segments. Trans activists complain they're unfairly accused of only being interested in policing the speech of drag queens and blowing up at cis allies who mess up transgender/transgendered in otherwise supportive blog posts. It seems to me that trans activists could begin to correct that misimpression by making some noise about the Southern Baptist Convention's dangerous anti-trans resolution—as much or more noise than they've made about RuPaul and Trannyshack. But the resolution was approved yesterday and so far the only person who seems to be making any noise about it online is the straight, cis, Christian writer John Shore.
And John, who has been so important in the fight against "faith-based" anti-gay bigotry, told me in an email this morning that he often hesitates to write about transgender issues because "whenever I do Twitter trans activists come at me with like crazed hornets—so generally I've learned to avoid the issue."
Too much trans activism right now seems to be about losing friends and alienating allies.
UPDATE: Hännah Ettinger writes at Patheos:
The SBC went on to say that transgender people should “trust in Christ and… experience renewal in the Gospel.” They also condemned sex-reassignment surgery and hormone treatment for gender dysphoria. The group’s annual meeting this week handed down this unsurprising, but interesting, ruling for the denomination (which has just under 16 million members in the U.S.). Albert Mohler (President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), in his weekly podcast, reacted to the Laverne Cox cover article, repeatedly calling the issue of transgender identity “insanity" ... And now we have the SBC’s response en masse. The thing is, I don’t think they realize how dehumanizing and cruel this ruling is for the transgender individuals they’d like to reach out to. They may not formally reduce it to merely cross-dressing, but that’s essentially how it’s treated in practice.