It's sometimes hard to forget, what with their TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting constantly on the air, that the Duggar family has some . . . well, offensive views. A robocall protests an anti-discrimination bill proposed in their home state of Arkansas that would, basically, allow transgender individuals to use bathrooms, locker rooms, and other gender-specific facilities that they feel most comfortable using. Michelle Duggar recorded that robocall to protest the bill, and while I believe that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, I also believe that others are entitled to judge said beliefs if they're in any way bigoted, transphobic, or downright false. All of which Duggar's are. Here's the message, in full:
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 women's 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?
As Arkansas City Attorney Kit Williams put it in an interview that followed Duggar's robocall (and similar criticisms from the community): "The claim that this ordinance would provide predators with access to women's restrooms in order to assault or leer at girls or women is nothing more than fear-mongering [. . .] This ordinance does allow transgender people to use the bathroom in which they feel most comfortable and physically safe," he said in a statement. "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."
A recording of the call is included below:
It's just disappointing and sad that people in positions of power (in Duggar's case, thanks to her reality show and standing within her conservative Baptist community) refuse to get educated on the issues surrounding bills that seek to get rid of intolerance and hate within communities that need it the most, and instead continue to spread lies and false accusations.
Not once does the anti-discrimination bill say anything that Duggar is claiming it does (like a bill allowing child predators near children would actually be proposed in local government — come on, Duggar), and by making said claims, Duggar is sadly just perpetuating discrimination. I hope in light of this that she takes the time to learn about gender identity and the struggles that the transgender community faces, instead of continuing to spread lies and false stereotypes that only strengthen messages of hate and transphobia.