This week Alex Jones, right-wing conspiracy theorist and talk radio host, outlandishly warned his audience to watch out for transgender people while using a public restroom. He claimed that by providing transgender people with “fake rights that don’t exist,” we will soon have to deal with walking into public bathrooms with transvestites, “hopped out of their brain on drugs vomiting and crapping all over the place.”
He is of course referring to the debate surrounding anti-discrimination laws, after a transgender first-grader, Coy Mathis, was denied the ability to use the girl’s restroom at her elementary school. Perhaps before so harshly criticizing this group of people of ruining his time to “do his duty” at his office’s bathroom, he should take a closer look at how his comments affect them.
Jones does raise a valid concern about drug use being high amongst the transgender community. Research suggests that within the LGBT community the rate of drug use may be 20% to 30%, which is higher than the general population. However, the principal driver of stigmas associated with their drug use, according to the Center for American Progress, is “the stress that comes from daily battles with discrimination and stigma” and as a result these populations turn to substances as a coping mechanism.
He claims to not have an issue with this particular group of people; however he goes on to bad-mouth them after one instance of walking into a bathroom with human matter spread all over the walls. He concerns himself with the issue because he doesn’t want his daughters to have to walk into a bathroom and witness this. If he is worried that his daughters may encounter drugs, then he has a lot to worry about. Illicit drug use among teenagers has been on the rise since the mid-2000s.
This is due to a general perception that drugs like marijuana are more acceptable because it is being discussed openly in society. If we were to discuss topics related to transgender stereotypes more openly, especially to teach children that is perfectly acceptable to identify with whichever gender you are, perhaps we wouldn’t have to confront such high statistics of them abusing drugs. Topics such as this need to gain traction in the media for highlighting acceptance, not ostracizing people in society who appear to the Alex Jones’ types to be “different.”
Instead of fearing that his daughter’s may witness such behavior as drug use in a public bathroom, Jones should watch his mouth the next time he decides to stigmatize entire populations. Because ultimately, it is comments such as his that his daughters should be fearful of.