Equality Matters

Fox & Friends Mocks, Criticizes Gender-Neutral Housing Policy

October 25, 2011 2:21 pm ET - by Carlos Maza

On the October 25 edition of Fox & Friends co-hosts Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson, and Brian Kilmeade discussed Grinnell College’s recent decision to offer students more gender-neutral facilities this fall, an idea reportedly “driven by transgender students ... and students transitioning from one gender to the other.

Rather than discussing the importance of gender-neutral housing and other facilities for LGBT students, the Fox & Friends hosts decided to devote the entire segment to fear mongering about co-ed dorm life and mocking Grinnell’s justifications for its policy:

DOOCY: Just the idea that, at Grinnell, you could actually have a man in the next shower to my daughter –

KILMEADE: Or in that shower if all the heads are taken.

DOOCY: I’ve got a problem with that. Yeah.

KILMEADE: You know, say “listen, I was in a rush.”

CARLSON: Let me just say that that stuff was going on in college when I went way back anyway, but it wasn’t mandated.

DOOCY:  Right, but it wasn’t authorized by the school.

[…]

CARLSON: They say they don’t want to create a “shack up” community.

KILMEADE: Right. OK. Everyone has hopes and goals but, believe me, college, shack  and shacking up happens anyway, and you are now scripting it in.

As usual, Fox’s analysis is entirely divorced from reality. Grinnell actually began offering students gender-neutral housing options three years ago. Despite Fox’s panicked predictions, the college hasn’t seen a spike in shower-related crises or co-ed “shacking up.” According to the Des Moines Register:

This fall, the progressive private liberal arts college on the Iowa prairie added a gender-neutral locker room to its mix of gender-neutral dormitory options.

[…]

It’s the next step for Grinnell College, which became Iowa’s only college three years ago to offer an option for males, females or others to share the same dorm room, part of a growing trend nationwide. The University of Iowa and Cornell College are among Iowa colleges also considering the option in coming years, while more than 50 mostly private colleges across the country have been joined recently by a few public universities with gender-neutral housing.

[…]

Creating a “shack up” community hasn’t happened, college officials say. Putting a man and woman together in a dorm room doesn’t mean they will have sex. Nor does it mean that two men or two women together won’t, students have told the National Gender Blind Campaign, a group of student activists working for gender equality.

[…]

At Grinnell, the floor’s common bathrooms are for everyone, if all residents vote that they should be gender neutral.

Toilets have stalls and showers have doors so that anyone can use the facilities at the same time.

Grinnell officials and students said there have been no problems on gender-neutral floors. [emphasis added]

Accurately reporting on Grinnell’s gender-neutral housing options, however, was never Fox and Friends’ intention. As Carlson made clear near the end of the segment, “the point of the story” was too warn viewers about how a “tiny percent of society” is changing everything:

CARLSON: All because – no but we’re missing the point of the story – all because of one little tiny percent of society. It’s another one of those stories where everything’s changing as a result of just a few people.

It’s not hard to figure out what kind of “stories” Carlson is referring to.

Fox consistently promotes the narrative that a small number of LGBT people are trying to force the rest of society to accept a radical, leftist agenda.

In September, Fox & Friends mocked the introduction of gender-neutral passports for transgender Australians, with Carlson saying: “I assume it’s a small population, part of Australian citizenship, but not sure.”  Earlier this year, Fox’s Dr. Keith Ablow criticized Rutgers University for offering gender-neutral housing, arguing that it was “cater[ing] to little slices of the population.” 

In each instance, Fox has downplayed or completely disregarded the importance of accommodating vulnerable members of the LGBT community. Like many anti-gay groups, Fox is interested in depicting the LGBT community as “small,” “little,” and “tiny” in order to dismiss concerns about discrimination or mistreatment.

Though it claims to be “fair and balanced,” Fox News has consistently been more interested in reinforcing its right-wing narrative than fairly evaluating attempts to improve the lives of LGBT people.

Previously:

Fox News Uses Junk Science, Anti-LGBT “Critics” To Condemn Same-Sex Couple’s Transgender Daughter

Fox & Friends Crew Jokes About “The One Part Of Chaz [Bono] That Hasn’t Been Operated On”

Fox & Friends Mocks Gender-Neutral Passports In Australia

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