OPINION | Rights don’t care about your feelings

Billy Bernfeld, Staff Writer

Shivani Bondada

The LGBTQ+ community has the right to the same freedoms and protections as their cisgender, heterosexual counterparts — but sadly, many conservatives want to dispute the legitimacy of that statement. In their obsession with an archaic, outdated worldview that excludes us, far-right individuals assert their opinions and feelings over the lives and reality that queer people face every day.

The concept of ignorant conservatives whining about LGBTQ+ people is nothing new, but in recent years, their gripes have grown louder and louder. With conservative commentators like Matt Walsh and Ben Shapiro taking the stage in recent years, the yammering of far-right fragility is reaching its apex.

Matt Walsh’s transphobic propaganda piece, “What is a Woman?”, perpetuates blatant lies about the transgender community, such as labeling people who dress in drag “groomers” and “pedophiles” without evidence or justification for its ridiculous conspiracy theories, which have previously been debunked. Walsh seems upset that transgender people exist, and so he ignores the complexity of womanhood, which encompasses discussions in biology, anthropology, history and sociology. Womanhood also includes the individual experiences of women, both cisgender and transgender — even if Walsh does not feel that this is the case.

The movement for transgender rights is not a form of grooming — it simply aims to give trans youth the resources required to exist in health, safety and comfort, especially in the face of insecure transphobes like Walsh. Affirming the spectrum of gender is key to helping transgender people thrive in our community, as is education on the subject of what it means to be transgender. Walsh’s personal aversion to queer people is irrelevant to their rights. He can 

avoid the LGBTQ+ community all he wants, but at the end of the day, his petulant bellyaching has no bearing over anyone but himself.

Alongside Matt Walsh stands Ben Shapiro, who is widely known for stating that “facts don’t care about your feelings.” This is quite an ironic statement, since Shapiro often relies upon his own misguided feelings about the LGBTQ+ community to attempt to deny their factual existence and rights.

On the Daily Wire podcast, Shapiro shares his opinion that queer teachers should not mention if they have a same-sex partner as well as his opposition to books with LGBTQ+ characters and his belief that children should not even find out that LGBTQ+ people exist.

While it may hurt Ben Shapiro’s precious feelings, the LGBTQ+ community deserves visibility and destigmatization — whether or not he feels emotionally prepared to come to terms with that. While he piously believes in cisheteronormativity, queer people are abundant in human society, and censorship will do nothing but vilify them, as Shapiro and his contemporaries seem content with doing. 

Qualified individuals in science and other areas of academia have already debunked the bigoted lies of the typical conservative temper tantrum. The far-right may not understand the science behind the LGBTQ+ experience, the progression of our understanding of gender or the inherent right of queer people to live their lives, but the world is far larger than their narrow worldview. Our freedoms must always take precedence over the frail feelings of those who refuse to catch up with society.

Unfortunately, the juvenile nonsense of certain conservatives does not stop with internet personalities — religion and politics are also rife with far-right fragility. Pastor Robert Jeffress — who once told a suicidal lesbian teenager to seek the abuses of conversion therapy — argued that conservative Christians should supposedly “impose their values on society.” This Christian nationalist was apparently so upset by the existence of queer people that he wants to violate the establishment clause of First Amendment. He worships at the altar of his own personal biases and the heteronormativity perpetuated by Christian conservatism

Religious conservatives can gripe all they want, but the human rights of LGBTQ+ people matter far more than their opinion on which mistranslation of the Bible says that God is upset at the same queer people he supposedly created.

As for conservative fragility in our government, there are few better examples than local conspiracy theorist and Georgia state representative Marjorie Taylor Greene. According to her, the Equality Act — which aims to prevent discrimination on the basis of sex, gender and sexuality — somehow threatens to “undermine God’s creation.” I fail to understand how protecting queer people undermines religious fables, but nobody really needs to look that far into it.

Her religion has no basis over government policy, nor should it ever. We must not entertain the religious self-entitlement of like-minded members of the Republican Party because my rights are not determined by whichever cherry-picked biblical verse they use this week to justify homophobia.

The rights of LGBTQ+ community are not concerned with the ignorant ramblings of conservatives, nor should anyone prioritize their frail worldview over queer lives. Whether or not they want to accept it, we — like everyone else — deserve the right to exist in peace, safety and freedom from defamation.

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