Mike Huckabee’s Transgender Joke Is Despicable & Truly Hurtful For The Community

A new YouTube video shows 2016 Republican presidential hopeful and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee joking about being transgender. He said he wished he could have pretended to be transgender in high school “when it came time to take showers in PE," according to BuzzFeed. He was giving a speech at the 2015 National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, in February when he made the comment that mocked transgender people and their experiences.

Rich Juzwiak pointed out in a piece for Gawker that Huckabee's comments seem to seriously misunderstand what it means to be transgender. Huckabee said he was pretty sure he would have "found [his] feminine side and said, 'Coach, I think I’d rather shower with the girls today,'" if that were a socially-acceptable option during his time in high school. This kind of thinking is part of a larger narrative that people who are against trans equality try to tell — one that paints transgender people as criminals who are masquerading as their assumed gender so that they can behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Huckabee continued his jokes.

When the crowd laughed at his shower joke, he added, "You’re laughing because it sounds so ridiculous, doesn’t it?” He also said that people scorn Christians and conservatives in the U.S. because they point out that there is “something inherently wrong about forcing little children to be a part of this social experiment.”

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By "this social experiment," he means the move toward transgender equality with policies that recognize the potential risks that face transgender people who are made to use the bathroom of the gender they were assigned at birth and not their identified gender. Huckabee described the "threat" we are under, according to Talking Points Memo:

For those who do not think that we are under threat, simply recognize the fact that we are now in city after city watching ordinances say that your seven-year-old daughter — if she goes into the restroom — cannot be offended and you can’t be offended if she’s greeted there by a 42-year-old man who feels more like a woman than he does a man.
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Huckabee insisted, though, that he's definitely not against trans equality. He just wishes people wouldn't create laws that allow for the above tomfoolery (equality) to happen:

I’m not against anybody. I’d just like for somebody to bring their brain to work some day and not leave it on the bed stand when they show up to govern.

Lawmakers in 17 states and more than 200 cities have passed laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity, according to Mother Jones. Unfortunately, a handful of other states have tried to pass laws that would slap transgender people with a felony, 180 days in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000 for using the bathroom that matches their gender identity, the magazine also reports.

Huckabee has spoken about the issue in the past on Fox News, where he used similar rhetoric to express fears about transgender people using public restrooms.

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Chris Hartman, the director of the Kentucky LGBT advocacy group Fairness Campaign, a group that has worked on increasing public restroom access for transgender individuals that match their gender identity, told The Huffington Post in an email that Huckabee's comments don't make sense:

What Huckabee doesn't seem to understand, but any law enforcement officer or educator can tell you, is that allowing folks to use restrooms that match their gender identities doesn't change the laws that govern appropriate bathroom behavior. If someone is seeking to sexually exploit others — as Huckabee suggests he might have tried in high school — they will be dealt with by the proper authorities.

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