Michelle Duggar

The ignorance of the Duggar family has given much needed publicity to the plight of transgender people

Michelle DuggarMichelle Duggar of TLC’s “19 Kids & Counting” may have unwittingly just become the next catalyst in the LGBTQ community’s continued fight to become recognized as human beings.

I’m not going to try to change your mind about whether you agree or not with Michelle Duggar. What I am going to try to do is present the current issue instigated by her in her comments about transgender people, and I’ll share it from a reasonable perspective.

Michelle’s failed attempt at preventing a Fayetteville, Arkansas nondiscrimination ordinance from passing this past August has not gone unnoticed. During the now infamous recorded robocall, Michelle blatantly exploited the sensitive, emotional scare tactic ploy of the “bathroom issue” and the use of it by transgender people, blatantly accusing and equating them with child predators.

Jim Wissick of San Jose, California took action on Change.org, by creating a petition to cancel the Duggar’s show on TLC. As of November 22, the petition had generated over 150,000 signatures.

Self-proclaimed “Christians” Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, facing the potential loss of their spotlight on great American TV have set out to counter the petition with their own defending traditional marriages, and it has generated over 50,000 signatures in a matter of days.

Why should we consider thanking the Duggars? Certainly not for over-populating the earth with 19 kids. Rather, in bringing transgender people to the forefront of the news, society is once again faced with the reality that transgender people exist. And like it or not, they will continue to be living and breathing human beings.

The key words here are “human beings.” Yes, really, they have two arms and two legs, a brain and a heart. They are doctors, lawyers, educators, travel agents, technicians, mechanics, and designers. They are everywhere, and chances are, you have interacted with them without realizing it on at least one occasion.

Michelle DuggarSadly, not all transgender people are able to succeed in life, because of people like Michelle Duggar. Transgender people are refused housing, loans, and employment. They lose their families and friends, and many times everything they own, in order to live as their authentic self. They don’t pretend to be anything they are not, they’ve been living in the wrong gender for their entire lives until they finally find the courage to pursue gender transition.

Transgender people are not just transwomen, although mainstream society only hears about this half. Transmen exist too, those who were born in a female body, but now blend into their surroundings like any other guy. I wonder what would happen if Jim Bob knew the guy in the next stall was transgender, would he fear for his life, or the sanctity of one of his kids?

November 20 is the Transgender Day of Remembrance each year, where LGBT and their allies gather together around the globe in memory of those transgender people who were victims of brutal hate crimes during the previous year. Just as a reference, there have been 1509 reported killings of transgender people worldwide from January, 2008 to March 2014.

This means a human life is being extinguished every one to three days based solely on being transgender! This figure doesn’t include the unreported murders and acts of extreme violence.

What is wrong with this picture? I would also bet everything I own and everything I stand for to say that not one of those human beings were child predators. So now you know my position.

Transgender people just want to live their life like everyone else does. They eat, sleep and play. They want to have a decent job that allows them to do so, and a comfortable place to call home. Is that really too much to ask?

Where is the harm in that? Are they not allowed to be a human being like a bigot is allowed to be one? Fred Phelps had a home, a family, friends and a job. People hated him, but they didn’t kill him, deny him a house or a car, or take away his kids. They simply hated him. Or loved him. He was allowed to live his life as a (pathetic, hate-mongering) human being.

I, for one, wish to thank Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar for bringing this important issue of a marginalized, stigmatized group of human beings back into the news, and giving the transgender community another chance to have their voices heard.

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Michael Eric Brown is a 50-something year old husband, “dad” to two dogs, extensive road traveler, travel blog owner, online Psychology and Sociology student, non-profit executive director, and a writer whose passion is covering various social and cultural issues (i.e. inequalities.)

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