The evidence the religious right’s smear campaign against LGBT Americans is provoking discrimination, harassment, and hate crimes against non-traditionally “feminine” women keeps on growing. A few days after a lesbian woman was viciously attacked by a bigot, another woman was harassed in a Connecticut Wal-Mart bathroom by a complete stranger for having short hair.
“You’re disgusting… you don’t belong here!” yelled a woman at Aimée Toms, 22, who was mistaken for a transgender man because of her short hair. Her hair was extremely short because she had just cut it all off – and donated it to make wigs for children with cancer.
Toms made a video describing the incident and sharing her thoughts on it. “After experiencing the discrimination they face firsthand, I cannot fathom the discrimination transgender people must face in a lifetime,” she said. “Can you imagine going out every day and having people tell you you should not be who you are or that people will not accept you as who you are?”
She went on to blame North Carolina’s discriminatory HB 2 anti-transgender “bathroom bill” for her harassment. “No one was telling these people to be scared of transgender people before. No one was telling them that they should be throwing people out of bathrooms. As if it wasn’t scary enough for transgender people to use the bathroom before.”
It just goes to show just how harmful the right-wings’ false narratives truly are – and they always result in violence. Their attempts to smear Planned Parenthood for “selling baby parts” led to a deranged attacking an abortion clinic and killing three people, not to mention multiple arsons and the vandalizing of reproductive health centers across the nation. The right-wing’s constant demonization of Muslims has led to a sharp uptick in assaults against Muslims, or people that ignorant bigots mistake for being Muslim, like Buddhist monks and Sikhs. Arsons and vandalisms at mosques soon followed.
Now innocent people are being attacked and harassed for no reason, just because they don’t conform to the right-wing’s patriarchal conceptions of femininity. Our nation cannot allow these vile, bigoted attacks to become acceptable behavior – and we can’t keep pretending that the right-wing’s narratives have any substance or credibility at all. They cannot be taken seriously if they are going to continue behaving with such reactive, primitive violence.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.