Equality Matters

Fox News Relies On Hate Mongers To Criticize Trans-Inclusive Girl Scouts

November 01, 2011 4:19 pm ET - by Carlos Maza

The Girl Scouts of Colorado recently came under criticism after a Denver troop leader refused to accept Bobby Montoya a seven-year-old transgender girl who has identified as a female since the age of two into her troop. The Girl Scouts of Colorado eventually overruled the troop leader’s decision, clarifying that it would accept transgender girls if the child and the child’s family presented her as a girl.

As expected, Fox News jumped at the opportunity to use the story as an excuse to promote anti-trans hate.

Dr. Judith A. Reisman

On October 28, FoxNews.com posted an article on the incident and cited two critics who condemned the Girl Scouts’ decision as a form of child abuse.

The first critic was Dr. Judith A. Reisman, who Fox identified as a “visiting professor of law at Liberty University School of Law”:

To cross that line “is child sexual abuse, the violation of children’s genetic reality aided by a society that is reverting back to the dark," said Judith A. Reisman, visiting professor of law at Liberty University School of Law. "If he has male parts, he is a male. The children in a given society always reflect its belief systems. Until the 1950s the Western world was built and run by adults largely clear about their sexuality and their beliefs. People used to ask which is stronger, nature or nurture. Now we are so 'smart' we don’t even know we have a nature.” [emphasis added]

Although Fox failed to identify her as such, Reisman is actually a long-time peddler of anti-LGBT propaganda. She is a full-throated proponent of the claim that gay people are more likely to engage in pedophilia, as well as the myth that the Nazi party was run by gay men. She has railed against the media for failing to acknowledge “that homosexuality is correlated with disorder.” She’s also accused those who support transgender youth of “chemically violating and numbing the nation’s cruelly and unnaturally traumatized youth.”

In other words, she’s not exactly a credible source of commentary on LGBT issues.

Dr. Keith Ablow

The second critic quoted in the FoxNews.com article was – surprise, surprise – Dr. Keith Ablow, Fox News “Medical A-Team” member and purveyor of anti-LGBT pseudoscience. Ablow even prefaced his comments by acknowledging how out-of-touch he is with mainstream medical research:

Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and part of Fox News' Medical A-Team -- while prefacing himself by saying, "I know a lot of experts will disagree with me" -- cautioned the Girl Scouts against welcoming boys who present themselves as girls until more data is available on any potential harm it could do.

“On the face of it, it seems to be expecting far too much psychologically of young girls to ignore the anatomy of a boy and act as though he is a girl," Ablow said. "The girls are just developing comfort with their own bodies, after all.”

He, too, called it a "form of abuse."

"This is all [putting] the cart before the horse. We're conducting social, cultural, sexual experiments on the fly, using our own kids as guinea pigs, without the necessary research to guide us," he said. [emphasis added]

Ablow is no stranger to making inaccurate and disparaging comments about LGBT people “without the necessary research” to support his positions. He’s suggested that gay parents influence their kids to become transgender, compared transgender people to heroin addicts, and compared homosexuality to pedophilia. He’s been criticized by a number of medical professionals for trying to pass off his own, bigoted opinions as medical expertise, but it doesn’t appear he’s interested in changing his behavior. 

For the record, Ablow was right about experts disagreeing with him.

Peter Sprigg

On Sunday’s edition of Fox’s America’s News HQ, host Shannon Bream hosted a “fair and balanced” debate between Mara Keisling, executive director of National Center for Transgender Equality, and Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council (FRC). As one might expect, Sprigg used his time on national television to smear transgender people as mentally ill and in need of reparative therapy:

SPRIGG: Well, a person who believes that they are the opposite of their biological sex or who wants to be the opposite of their biological sex is suffering from a recognized mental illness known as Gender Identity Disorder and the appropriate response to that is psychological counseling to help them be comfortable with their biological sex. I believe that’s true for an adult but it’s doubly true for a child who has nowhere near the maturity to be able to decide that they want to change their sex. [emphasis added]

FRC has been labeled as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Sprigg is a good example of the reasons why. Sprigg is the author of some of FRC’s vilest anti-LGBT propaganda, including a pamphlet that links homosexuality to pedophilia, mental illness, disease, and violence while promoting “ex-gay” therapy. He’s stated that he would prefer to “export” gays and lesbians from the U.S. and condemned anti-bullying initiatives for trying to “indoctrinat[e]” children.

Unsurprisingly, Sprigg’s idea of an “appropriate response” contradicts the conclusions of the American Psychological Association, which recommends supporting and recognizing transgender individuals, including “youth of all gender identities and expressions.”

In Fox News’ hands, what should have been a relatively simple story about inclusion and acceptance became an opportunity to demonize the Girl Scouts for participating in “child sexual abuse” and “sexual experiments” with supposedly mentally ill children. Apparently, the network’s “fair and balanced” mantra is a pretty good excuse for giving hate mongers a national platform to promote their anti-LGBT misinformation.


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