Bill Maher, the host of HBO’s Real Time caused a stir on Friday after saying Democrats should put transgender rights on the back burner in order to win the 2016 Presidential Election.
“And I am not suggesting we throw the transgender(ed) under the bus or discount their struggle, it can’t be easy finding panty hose when you are six foot four.”
During the “New Rules” segment of his show, Maher implied that by allowing the transgender bathroom controversy to become a political wedge issue, Democrats would be motivating bigots to go out and vote for Donald Trump. “But there’s no room for boutique issues in an Armageddon election,” said Maher as he compared the Democrats fight for transgender rights to that of his own fight to legalize marijuana while citing both issues should be sidelined for the election. “I am on the side of people peeing where they want,” the comedian said. “And I am not suggesting we throw the transgender(ed) under the bus or discount their struggle, it can’t be easy finding panty hose when you are six foot four,” Maher went on to say “but this is the kind of culture war issue that rousts a certain type of voter out of their trailers on election day.”
Maher when on to cite how the Republican Party used gay marriage as a wedge issue to bring voters out to the polls in 2004. He implied that the country was not ready for it at that time and the issue impacted the outcome of the election. He also claimed that Hollywood did more to normalize the gay community than Washington by creating shows like Queer Eye for the Straight guy, Will & Grace and Glee. He went on to cite how the film and television industry is beginning to do the same with The Danish Girl, Dallas Byers Club and Transparent. “And of course there’s Caitlyn Jenner, who has already showed Americans that a transgender(ed) person could be just like them, a diluted nitwit who supports Donald Trump,” Maher went on to say in closing the piece.
What has many unhappy in the transgender community is not only his dated terminology regarding being transgender, but his view that social issues like transgender rights should ever be on the back burner.
My biggest issue with Bill Maher is the use of the term “transgendered” instead of “transgender.” I think it makes him sound uneducated and out of date on the subject. Though I am not exactly happy with what he said, I do realize he is a comedian and jokes are part of what he does. Now I know there will be many who disagree with me, but I see his point being that maybe we should not make transgender rights or other social issues the reason for bigots, who may have normally stayed home, to come out and vote.
For me personally, transgender rights are the most important issue and what matters most is who will be the next Justice of the Supreme Court. With major cases such as the 33 state Title IX case and the Gavin Grimm Case, the next justice appointed may be the deciding vote. The outcome of this decision will most likely cement the future of transgender rights for decades to come. We have already seen national hate groups organize against transgender candidate Misty Plowright, who is running for Colorado’s 5th district congressional seat. I see the point Maher is trying to make, even if it was not well done and whether I agree with it or not. Many of these groups are well organized and are just looking for a reason to motivate those who are in line with their agenda. Regardless of where your political views are, the coming election will impact the future of our community. How we vote is no one else’s choice but our own. Bill Maher has been on the side of transgender rights, but he needs to educate himself better if he wants to speak out on the issue without looking foolish.