Both CNN and MSNBC devoted significant coverage to the Obama administration's commemoration of World AIDS Day on December 2. Fox News, on the other hand, spent less than 20 seconds acknowledging President Obama's speech outlining significant new efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Fox News spent under five minutes covering the controversy between Republican Wyoming Senate candidate and former Fox News contributor Liz Cheney and her openly gay sister Mary Cheney over Liz's opposition to marriage equality - significantly less than CNN and MSNBC, who both devoted more than one hour.
The actor who plays a transgender character on the Fox television series Glee responded to criticism from Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, who warned that allowing "dopey kids" to watch a transgender character on television might encourage them to experiment with homosexuality.
In April 2012, O'Reilly criticized Glee for introducing a transgender character - Wade "Unique" Adams - struggling with her gender identity in high school. According to O'Reilly, the presence of a transgender character on television might convince "dopey kids to identify as gay or transgender" (emphasis added):
November 20 marks the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance - a day to memorialize the members of the transgender community who lost their lives as a result of transphobic hate and violence. Transgender people are disproportionately the targets of hate-motivated attacks, and acts of brutal transphobic violence are a constant reminder of the work that remains to be done on the path to full LGBT equality and acceptance.
Unfortunately, much of this violence is fueled by misinformation and hate speech regularly peddled by right-wing media outlets. Experts on transgender violence have noted that media misinformation about transgender people legitimizes and contributes to the high rates of violence and abuse experienced by the transgender community.
Over the past 12 months, conservative news outlets like Fox News have routinely engaged in transphobic scare tactics and misinformation.
There was the case of former Army Private Chelsea Manning, who was routinely misgendered even by mainstream media outlets, and CNN in particular. One MSNBC guest suggested that offering Manning hormone therapy would "coddle" her. Fox News mocked Manning's gender transition as "confus[ing]" and "bizarre." The Fox & Friends crew ended a segment on Manning's transition by playing Aerosmith's "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)," and a Fox host warned viewers not to be "deceived" by outlets referring to Manning as a female. The Daily Beast even published an op-ed suggesting that, as a transgender woman, Manning would have a lovely time being sexually exploited in federal prison.
The Daily Caller published an op-ed written by a white, cisgender, non-disabled man claiming to be a black, female "cripple" in order to mock California's law allowing transgender students to use appropriate restroom facilities.
In a November 13 op-ed titled "I think I'm woman, hear me roar!," author Jim Hughes criticized California's AB1266, a measure that allows transgender students access to facilities and extracurricular teams that correspond to their gender identity. Hughes adopted the typical conservative approach to attacking the measure - claiming that teenage boys will pretend to be transgender in order to sneak into the girls' bathroom. His evidence: he was a "horny 9th grade boy once," too, so he knows what he's talking about.
To drive his point home, Hughes goes so far as to announce that he is now a female and wants all the "perks" that come with being a transgender woman:
Horny 9th-grade boys will now be able to share the gym shower with your daughter, but only if they feel like it. Having been a horny 9th grade boy once, something tells me they will. A lot.
But hey, this is California! The Wild West, early adopter of the counterculture, so you'll get no argument from me. I'm going along for the ride on this one. But before I do, I have to get a few things off my chest. Governor Shingles, if you're reading, it's time for me to come clean - right here, right now:
I am a woman.
Sure, when I look down in the shower each morning I see a penis, my doctor gave me a prostate exam at my physical last month, I have a Y chromosome, and you can hang a trench coat off my adam's apple, but since when is science relevant? This is California! If ignoring basic biology is good enough for a confused seven year-old shouldn't it be good enough for me? I am woman, hear me roar! Naturally, I expect all the perks of my newfound sex - or gender - or identity - or whatever the Democrats are calling it this week: The ability to ogle women in the locker room, the occasional mani-pedi, and a kick-ass spot as second baseperson on the girl's softball team. And lets not forget the discounted small business loans, the free child care, free birth control, and my WIC benefits.
Fox News attempted to paint Gov. Chris Christie as a moderate on social issues, falsely claiming that he had refused to veto legislation that would have legalized same-sex marriage in New Jersey.
On the November 10 edition of Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Fox News reporter Carl Cameron discussed Gov. Christie's political reputation among conservatives, citing his decision not to veto marriage equality legislation in 2013 as evidence that Christie might not appeal to social conservatives:
The reason Christie didn't veto a marriage equality bill in 2013 is because he had already vetoed it in 2012 despite widespread public support for the measure. Christie cited his personal opposition to marriage equality and was widely criticized for the suggestion that the issue should be put up for a public vote.
The Daily Caller lamented that gay people have become "totally boring" now that they've secured some basic legal rights and no longer have to live in fear of being outed or ostracized in their everyday lives.
In a November 6 op-ed, reporter Patrick Howley cited the Senate's advancement of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) as evidence that gay people had lost their "daring, transgressive" edge and had instead become a "bland, tedious, grievance group eagerly seeking government approval":
Back in the day, gays were subversive adventurers, trolling the city streets at night on a lustful quest for experience and with an outlaw mentality not seen since the days of the Wild West. They were decadently-dressed sexual superheroes, daring Middle America to condemn them as they pranced their corseted, high-heeled bodies around to midnightscreenings of great American movies like "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," "Pink Flamingoes," and "Mommy Dearest." They had an ingrained creativity, a patented sense of irony. They had a brand. They had an identity.
The progressives hosed all of that activity down. The progressives have filled the back-alley glory holes with MoveOn.org petitions. They have condemned clubs named "The Toilet" and erected phone-banking operations for Media Matters. They have taken away your leather costumes and dressed you in Obama-Biden T-shirts. They have taken away your poppers and your molly and handed you $14 apple martinis.
What Howley fails to mention, of course, is that much of the gay community's "outlaw mentality" probably had a lot to do with the fact that gay people were frequent targets of harassment and legal discrimination.
Fox News continues to falsely accuse the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) of threatening religious liberty, asserting that the bill's broad religious exemptions simply won't be enforced by the Obama administration.
During the November 4 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brett Baier, correspondent and pro-discrimination champion Shannon Bream discussed concerns about ENDA - which would bar employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity - suggesting that the law might be used to punish religious employers:
BREAM: The stated goal of this legislation is to make sure that there's no discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Now, both people who oppose and support the bill say they support that, that everybody should be treated with dignity in the workplace. Their fear is that this is going to get tricky for religious employers. Drafters of the bill say, 'Well, there are religious exemptions built in.' But as you can imagine, there are plenty of skeptics who say, 'Well, look how it's working out with the [Health and Human Services] HHS contraception mandate.' So they have worries.
A new report from the Heritage Foundation attacks the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), mounting a perverse and fallacious defense of allowing businesses to discriminate against workers on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
In advance of the Senate's expected historic vote on ENDA, Heritage Foundation fellow and "ex-gay" therapy-advocate Ryan T. Anderson published a report titled "ENDA Threatens Fundamental Civil Liberties." The report, which is the culmination of Heritage's recent attacks on ENDA in conservative media, rehashes some of the worst conservative arguments against the law, which would merely prohibit employers from harassing or discriminating against LGBT employees. Here are the seven worst arguments he uses to attack ENDA:
A central conservative argument against ENDA is that the law would create "special" rights and privileges for LGBT people. According to Anderson:
ENDA creates special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Specifically, it would make it illegal for organizations with 15 or more employees to "fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment of the individual, because of such individual's actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity."
In reality, ENDA would merely extend the same employment protections that already exist under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - for race, sex, religion, age, and disability status - to include sexual orientation and gender identity. ENDA's text explicitly prohibits special privileges for LGBT employees, including "preferential treatment or quotas."
The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) is a California-based anti-gay group that was recently caught fabricating a story about a transgender student harassing other students in a female restroom. The revelation is just the latest in PJI's history of manufacturing horror stories about efforts to protect LGBT youth in California schools - stories that are regularly touted on Fox News.
PJI was established in 1997 by the organization's current president, Brad W. Dacus. According to the organization's website, PJI specializes in "the defense of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties."
While PJI bills itself as a generalist religious liberty advocacy group, the organization specializes in combating efforts to protect LGBT youth, especially in California's public schools. Since its inception, PJI has worked to stifle even the most modest efforts to make schools more welcoming environments for LGBT students, including:
PJI's focus on LGBT youth is likely a product of Dacus's leadership. According to a 2009 profile on the group in the East Bay Express:
Such issues are of special interest to the institute and Dacus, who with his wife Susanne is the author of a book informing public-school teachers, students, and parents of "strategies to practically and legally evangelize your school." Titled Reclaim Your School, the book calls separation of church and state "the big lie" and covers everything from pastor visitations to special school-hours Bible study through which, Dacus writes, "a large number of students ... make commitments to receive Christ by the end of the year." [emphasis added]
Dacus gained notoriety during the 2008 battle over California's Proposition 8. While acting as an official spokesman at a "Yes on 8" rally, Dacus was filmed comparing the defeat of marriage equality to the defeat of Nazi Germany:
Since then, Dacus has become a mainstream voice of anti-LGBT fear mongering, peddling his beliefs to whatever major news outlet will have him. His commentary ranges from mere conservative misinformation - like claiming that overturning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) might legalize incest - to outright homophobia and transphobia. He's called homosexuality "dangerous" and "destructive," claimed that "ex-gay" therapy is necessary to save youth from a "path of death and destruction," and asserted that LGBT History Month is a "serious propaganda month" to "market homosexuality" to young children.