Opinion: We Have Heard This Song Before

'They're coming to rape our women.'

The NCAA’s action sends a message to every female athlete and female fan attending their events that their privacy and security in a bathroom, shower or locker room isn’t worth the price of a ticket to a ballgame. We have seen the NCAA’s attitude towards women before when they stood by and did nothing during the rapes at Baylor. For years, we’ve seen the NBA turn a blind eye towards women victims of domestic abuse at the hands of their star players. Why should we be surprised now at the NCAA continuing this pattern of discrimination and degradation of women? The line has now been drawn in the sand, first by Hollywood, now by the NBA and NCAA, either accept their ‘progressive sexual agenda’ or pay the price. North Carolina will not play that game. We value our women too much to put a price tag on their heads.”—North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest, Sept. 13

Yes, we have heard that song before. It has echoed throughout our history. The lieutenant governor appended a verse to a wizened, primal American dirge: the fear of some faceless mob of Undesirables crossing a real or imagined border to, literally, “rape our women.” It’s usually phrased exactly that way, referring not to women but our women, the notion of persons-as-property a clue to which group of Undesirables has had to wear the brand longest in the land of the free.

“It became necessary to keep a large force of our citizens on guard, night and day, to protect our women and children from attack of the national negro soldiers stationed at Fort Brown. So great was their hysterical terror that until the white troops arrived no lady would leave her home, even to do shopping, without an escort.”

The words, entered into the Congressional record, belong to a bank president and “Citizens’ Committee” member in Brownsville, Texas, after the fatal shooting of a white bartender in 1906. The mayor and townspeople blamed an all-black regiment at nearby Fort Brown. President Theodore Roosevelt ordered the dishonorable discharge of 167 soldiers. Years later, an investigation revealed that the soldiers had been framed, with false testimony and planted evidence. The dishonorable discharges were reversed—66 years later.

“They rape our women, folks,” said a white man in Milwaukee in 1964, referring to young black men as, during a campaign rally, he introduced a dark-horse presidential candidate, a southern governor named George Wallace.

“You rape our women and you’re taking over our country,” said Dylann Roof, the shooter in Charleston.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best … They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” said Donald Trump, perhaps our next president.

So yes, we’ve heard the song before, and it’s an indication of how quickly the LGBT rights movement has advanced in recent years that we’re hearing it again, this time with breathtaking cynicism. (The more sensitive of House Bill 2 defenders will tell you they don’t believe transgender people are predators, just that allowing them into the bathroom enables predators to take advantage of the new permission, but that’s just an extra step added to the old dance.)

Taking Forest at his word, he genuinely believes that the NCAA’s—and now the Atlantic Coast Conference’s—decisions to pull planned sporting events out of North Carolina represent something akin to sex trafficking, or an abandonment of helpless women to the predatory urges of cross-dressing savages in arena restrooms, as a sop to political correctness and ticket revenue. Do he and the legislators who continue to defend House Bill 2 actually believe that? Do they really see themselves as so many landed southern gentry, defending their homesteads from the caddish carpetbaggers of the NCAA and NBA?

I don’t know, and I don’t think it matters—although you can do the math when the same people have a chance to do something about rapes that actually happen. What I do know is Forest and others on his team will eventually run out of corporations and sports leagues to demonize. The defense of HB2 has rested on three fundamental assumptions, all of them shit: That gender dysphoria is the product of mental illness or a passing sensation, like nausea; and that allowing transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms in accordance with their gender identities automatically a) invalidates any gender distinctions and b) increases the risk of sexual assault on women and children.

Needless to say, gender dysphoria is a real thing, gender distinctions persist despite it, and there’s no evidence anywhere that transgender “bathroom laws” lead to an increase in sexual assault. Everyone from PayPal to the ACC understands that and has acted accordingly.

But never mind. That’s the horse, provided pro bono by the legal team at Alliance Defending Freedom, that Forest and the North Carolina Republican Party have chosen to ride. They continue to ride it not because it’s a good horse but because it’s the only one they have, and it’s dragging an entire state to hell with it.


Categories: The Buzz