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    Tuesday, February 20, 2024

    OPINION: Memo to GOP: No one can brainwash a child into changing gender

    There’s a real ugliness to the latest GOP culture war attacks, as the right wing pushes mean transgender prejudices into the party’s mainstream.

    Sadly, many of the attacks focus on vulnerable, impressionable young people, making difficult issues at a difficult age all the more fraught.

    The Republican attacks now focus on people who are among the most susceptible to depression and likely to consider suicide, or those who want to help them.

    The GOP attacks on gay adults lost their political resonance some time ago, as the country grew used to gay marriage and gay family life. Now they hope to instead drag the transgendered into their culture war politics.

    Of course it makes no logical or scientific sense.

    It’s not unlike recent GOP spin that blamed a bank failure on the bank’s “woke” diversity policies, not the deregulation by Republicans that left it undercapitalized.

    But the attacks on gender issues are more insidious and mean, because it is an attack on people, many young, who need help not scorn.

    Of course the gender-based attacks are as absurd as the new suggestion from a GOP presidential frontrunner that Russia’s aggressive war on Ukraine, targeting and killing so many innocent civilians, is no more than a territorial boundary dispute.

    Liberal teachers, as the GOP talking points would would have you believe, are now recruiting young people to change genders, the way, they say, straights were recruited into changing their sexual preference.

    Honestly, it’s hard to imagine how people really think gays can be drawn from the straight community, brainwashed into a different sexuality. That is essentially a basis of homophobia, that gays choose a lifestyle and can therefore be faulted and scorned for that choice.

    It’s no different for the transgendered, who so many GOP leaders suggest are trying to change gender as lightly as one would switch hair color.

    Teachers, enabled by liberal Democrats, so many Republicans now say, are behind this casual approach to gender.

    “Kids, gender wise, don’t know whether they are coming or going,” a right-wing southeastern Connecticut radio host said on his program one recent morning, spewing some of the worst of the hateful transgender prejudice that now obsesses so much of the Republican party.

    It’s here on our doorstep, in blue Connecticut.

    My own state representative, a police officer, mocked transgendered students on right-wing radio, before being reelected, saying liberals want to put kitty litter in classrooms so that kids who identify as cats can go to the bathroom.

    And the gay Republican party chairman in Groton, who has suggested removing the transgendered from the LGBTQ community, wrote to the Groton town manager demanding that a Groton librarian be disciplined or fired for reading from a kids’ book about drag queens.

    I find the trajectory of today’s Republican party alarming, as it increasingly turns its back on democracy, dismissing the Jan. 6 insurrections as benign protest and suggesting that a cruel autocrat like Russia’s Putin be allowed to invade a European country without United States intervention.

    But the most cruel and heartless new frontier for the Republican party is its attack on the transgendered.

    Sadly, it is happening all around us, right here in Connecticut.

    This is the opinion of David Collins

    d.collins@theday.com

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