MSNBC: Bathroom Bills, ‘Gender-Affirming Care Bans’ Lead To Bullying, Death

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If you believe that men should use the men’s restroom and that minors should not be given gender-altering care, then the Friday edition of MSNBC’s Jose Diaz-Balart Reports thinks you are partly responsible for the recent death of an Oklahoma teenager who identified as non-binary.

Guest host Yasmin Vossoughian welcomed president of the Human Rights Campaign Kelley Robinson to the show and implied conservatives are the reason why the teen died:

Oklahoma’s queer community, they are reeling and they are demanding answers after the death of a non-binary teen who allegedly faced bullying at school for months. Sixteen-year-old Nex Benedict died on February 8th one day after their family says they were attacked and assaulted in a bathroom at a school northeast of Tulsa, Oklahoma. It’s unclear if the attack was related to this bullying. Police saying Benedict did not die as a result of injuries from the fight, but the cause of death has not yet been determined. Their death is coming as Oklahoma lawmakers have introduced 54 bills targeting members of the LGBTQ community. The state with the highest number of these anti-LGBTQ bills in the nation and that’s according to the ACLU. 

Vossoughian then introduced Robinson, who made the connection much more explicitly, “There has to be full accountability. It does not take an expert to connect the dots on what happened in this tragic case. We saw a state that leads the pack in anti-LGBTQ+ laws, a state that has pushed forward anti-trans bathroom bills, gender-affirming care bans, they’re trying to get book bans across the finish line, and couple that bad legislative action with hateful rhetoric from the governor to the superintendent.”

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The whole segment was a not very well hidden attempt to get conservatives to shut up, as Vossoughian later asked, “Again, I guess I got to ask you what does accountability look like when this is happening state by state, right? Fifty-four bills targeting members of the LGBTQ community in Oklahoma alone and that’s not the only state in which we’re seeing this.”

Robinson reiterated that simply rejecting notions such as gender being immutable is responsible for creating a hateful environment, “Yeah, the Human Rights Campaign declared a national state of emergency for the first time in our history last year because of all these pieces of legislation that are moving forward. This year already, we’ve seen nearly 400 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced across this country and every time they are introduced, politicians are spewing hate, hateful rhetoric towards our community. That’s what’s creating this culture of violence.”

MSNBC would never suggest that the left has created a “culture of violence” when conservatives are on the receiving end of threats, but believing what was widely believed by just about everyone a few short years ago makes you responsible for death and high school bullying.

Here is a transcript for the February 23 show:

MSNBC Jose Diaz-Balart Reports

11:37 PM ET

YASMIN VOSSOUGHIAN: Oklahoma’s queer community, they are reeling and they are demanding answers after the death of a non-binary teen who allegedly faced bullying at school for months. Sixteen-year-old Nex Benedict died on February 8th one day after their family says they were attacked and assaulted in a bathroom at a school northeast of Tulsa, Oklahoma. It’s unclear if the attack was related to this bullying. Police saying Benedict did not die as a result of injuries from the fight, but the cause of death has not yet been determined. Their death is coming as Oklahoma lawmakers have introduced 54 bills targeting members of the LGBTQ community. The state with the highest number of these anti-LGBTQ bills in the nation and that’s according to the ACLU. 

With us now to talk more about this is Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign. Kelley, thanks for joining us on this, appreciate it. What do you want to see happen here? 

KELLEY ROBINSON: There has to be full accountability. It does not take an expert to connect the dots on what happened in this tragic case. We saw a state that leads the pack in anti-LGBTQ+ laws, a state that has pushed forward anti-trans bathroom bills, gender-affirming care bans, they’re trying to get book bans across the finish line, and couple that bad legislative action with hateful rhetoric from the governor to the superintendent. This is a moment where we have to make sure that Nex’s life achieves some semblance of justice and we also have to ensure this doesn’t happen to another child. So, we are calling for full accountability, especially for the superintendent, Ryan Walters. 

VOSSOUGHIAN: Again, I guess I got to ask you what does accountability look like when this is happening state by state, right? Fifty-four bills targeting members of the LGBTQ community in Oklahoma alone and that’s not the only state in which we’re seeing this. 

ROBINSON: Yeah, the Human Rights Campaign declared a national state of emergency for the first time in our history last year because of all these pieces of legislation that are moving forward. This year already, we’ve seen nearly 400 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced across this country and every time they are introduced, politicians are spewing hate, hateful rhetoric towards our community. That’s what’s creating this culture of violence.

So, accountability looks like the removal of Superintendent Ryan Walters. It looks like making sure the Department of Justice and the Department of Education use every tool within their power to make sure this is investigated to the fullest extent of the law and ultimately what it looks like is making sure that parents in Oklahoma and across this country are having the ability to support their kids in having welcoming environments, especially our black, indigenous, and kids of color, especially our trans and non-binary kids. We can do something to change the outcomes of what is happening in too many states, but it demands accountability now. It demands the removal of the superintendent. 

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