A small group of so-called “ex-gay” and “formerly transgender” people are spending time in Washington, D.C. this week to lobby against two bills that, given the current president, have zero chance of becoming law any time soon. What they actually are doing is engaging in a disinformation campaign that flies in the face of facts.
15 members of Changed and of Church United, who call themselves “formers,” are lobbying against the Equality Act and the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, as NBC News reports. The Equality Act would expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ensure it provides protections for LGBTQ people in areas such as housing, credit and banking, employment, public accommodations, and more. The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act would ban harmful and dangerous conversion therapy, a pseudo-science that purports to change its subjects into cisgender heterosexuals.
Among their provably false positions: LGBTQ people don’t face discrimination.
“Despite federal hate crimes data and academic research to the contrary, the ‘formers’ question the existence of anti-LGBTQ discrimination,” according to NBC News.
“I live in Portland [Oregon] and I don’t see the discrimination that LGBTQ people talk about,” Kathy Grace Duncan, a member of Changed who formerly identified as a transgender man, told NBC News. “They’re asking for certain rights in this legislation, but these are rights that they already have.”
Jim Domen, founder of Church United, identifies as formerly gay. He said, “Sexual behavior should not be a protected right.”
Domen goes on to claim, falsely, that were the Equality Act to become law, a “super class” of LGBTQ people would be created “at the expense of people who are not.”
“The Equality Act treats sexual preference as an elevated class and would strip people of religious freedom,” Domen says.
Domen and Duncan have a different take on banning conversion therapy. While they appear to oppose it, they also say it isn’t being practiced.
They say they’ve “never met” anyone who has been subjected to it.
“I do think conversion therapy should be banned,” Duncan said, “but first we need to prove that it’s actually happening.”
Despite their claims, conversion therapy is being practiced. It is dangerous, has been linked to suicide, and major medical associations have denounced it. Anti-LGBTQ discrimination exists – one need merely look at the recent U.S. Supreme Court case argued earlier this month to see it.
Substituting personal experience or belief for facts helps no one.
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Bolsonaro: ‘I Drank Hydroxychloroquine and I’m Feeling Great’
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has reportedly contracted COVID-19 and says he’s taking hydroxychloroquine as a means to recovery. The 65-year-old confirmed the diagnosis to journalists on Tuesday as he arrived to his presidential palace.
After asking reporters to step aside, Bolsonaro removed his face mask. “See, I am fine. See you next week, God willing.”
— AS-Source News (@ASB_Breaking) July 7, 2020
Bolsonaro said he was suffering muscle aches, fatigue and a fever but otherwise felt “normal.” This is a man who, prior to his diagnosis, repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as “just a little flu” and said the media coverage of the pandemic was “hysteria.” He also said, “Life continues. But if the economy doesn’t work it will bring new forms of death and suicide.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that more than 65,000 Brazilians have died from COVID-19 — the second-highest death toll in the world after the United States. An additional 1.6 million people have tested positive for the virus in Brazil. Low levels of testing mean deaths and infections are likely much higher.
With his positive COVID-19 result, Bolsonaro now joins U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez. The latter two world leaders were hospitalized during treatment.
– Coletiva no Palácio do Alvorada – 07 JULHO de 2020. https://t.co/FCKPt1yh5l
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) July 7, 2020
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, who repeatedly played down the risks of Covid-19, has tested positive
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) July 7, 2020
#Bolsonaro: Covid-19 is just a little flu
— kj3ll0l (@Kj3ll0l) July 7, 2020
— #BlackLivesMatter Schaltjahr (@chiquitaflanke) July 7, 2020
#Bolsonaro (finally) acknowledged grave risk posed by a virus he'd dismissed as just a "little flu." "We know the fatality of the virus for those of a certain age, like me, above 65, and for those with comorbidities, diseases, other issues." ARE YOU THINKING WHAT I'M THINKING?
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) July 7, 2020
— TRJFF (@TRJFF) July 7, 2020
— Dwayne Walton (@23dwayne) July 7, 2020
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