Last week, I appeared on Fox News’s The Kelly File to discuss North Carolina’s H.B. 2, more colloquially known as the “bathroom bill.” Several days later, Townhall columnist Michael Brown wrote an “open letter” to Megyn Kelly implying that she gave me a pass and was unfair to the other side. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Mr. Brown’s “open letter” lacks substance, deliberately misstates the facts, and makes entirely false assumptions. It’s indicative of a bigger pattern. Proponents of these anti-LGBT measures have been spouting one wildly dramatized half-truth after another.
Here are the facts: The night before I went on the show, Megyn invited Governor Pat McCrory on the show to defend H.B. 2. After watching his appearance, I told my team to reach out to Megyn’s producers and ask if I could come on the next evening to offer a different view. There’s nothing nefarious about this request, nor about Megyn giving equal time to the other side. Why then attack Fox News for doing what news organizations are supposed to do? – for presenting both sides of an issue and letting the viewers make up their own minds?
You’d expect an attack like this from the left, not the right. Ever since it first hit the airwaves, Fox News has battled criticism from the left that it is not a legitimate news organization. Now Brown, for some strange reason, adopts that left-wing narrative wholesale.
Brown argues that I demeaned “the idea that we are born with a biological sex.” I did no such thing. No one, including advocates for transgender individuals, argues that human beings are not born with male or female reproductive organs (with the exception of those born with certain chromosomal defects). My argument was clearly more nuanced. The proponents of H.B. 2 argue this bill will allow for much-needed privacy and for restroom-goers to feel “comfortable.” They ignore the fact, however, that many (if not most) transgender individuals look like their affirmed gender. To illustrate that important point, I held up two pictures: one of a transgender woman who looks like a woman (but was born male) and one of a transgender man who looks like a man (but was born female). The transgender woman is named Meagan Stabler (I misidentified her as Morgan) and the transgender man is named Michael Hughes. I felt this was an important point due to all the false information swirling about transgender individuals.
Here’s another defect to H.B.2 that’s been mostly ignored, including in Mr. Brown’s desperate attempt to move the goalposts. The bill is entirely unenforceable as it pertains to bathrooms. It assigns individuals to bathrooms based on their biological sex, as listed on their birth certificate—meaning—unless the government hires bathroom monitors, which is as Orwellian as it gets, there is no way to enforce the bill.
Brown also conveniently ignores parts II-III of H.B. 2, which remove any state law “cause of action” for discrimination. Here’s what that would look like. Someone could deny to serve me in North Carolina because I’m black, disabled, or a veteran, and I would have no state law recourse. Similarly, someone could deny to serve Mr. Brown because he is white and a Christian, and he would have no state law recourse. Remind me--what does this have to do with “protecting little girls in bathrooms”? Parts II-III also imposes a cap on the minimum wage. Mr. Brown, care to enlighten us on what the minimum wage has to do with bathrooms?
Mr. Brown encourages Kelly to find guests to refute my “talking points,” pointedly ignoring the fact that Kelly had already given Governor McCrory time –more time, in fact, than I was given. The pro side of the H.B. 2 debate, therefore, got more time, and went first! Mr. Brown, care to correct your clearly false statement?
Because H.B. 2’s proponents have no honest argument in favor of the measure, they’ve resorted to mud-slinging. They’re warning conservatives “trust no one”; and positing that those like me, a Republican turned Independent, are tools of the radical left. Just as the far left points to a “vast right wing conspiracy”; Brown, here, is stirring up fear of a vast “left wing conspiracy”—and hoping that conservatives don’t dig into the issue.
Mark my words—Brown’s rebuttal comes from a position of weakness – unable to argue the facts raised in my segment, he resorted to emotion and wrote his grand and conspiratorial rebuttal to distract conservatives from a substantive and important argument—that the GOP’s pattern of demonizing LGBT Americans will come at huge expense to the party and the conservative movement.
I hope Mr. Brown and others like him will realize that their positions on issues such as this one are the problem in the conservative movement, not the solution.