Tuesday, March 27, 2012
One Anchorage Tries To Censor Opponents Of Anchorage Proposition 5, Asks The "No On 5" Campaign To Pull Television Ad Deemed Unflattering To Transsexuals
I knew it would eventually happen. Confronted by the specter of 85 local religious leaders of multiple denominations who've signed a letter opposing Proposition 5, the Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative, One Anchorage is now resorting to censorship. According to the Anchorage Daily News, One Anchorage spokesman Trevor Storrs has asked the Protect Your Rights: Vote No On 5 campaign to remove the ad entitled "Daycare" from TV and radio, where it has been airing this week.
In the ad, a cartoon transvestite who wants to work at a day care is drawn as a man with a jutting jaw and body hair, wearing a short pink dress, red high heels and lipstick. If Prop. 5 passes, the narrator of the ad says, "it will be illegal for Carol to refuse a job to a transvestite who wants to work with toddlers." Storrs claims that the ad presents an offensive, stigmatizing and distorted representation of a transgendered person, and notes that such distorted cartoons have been used historically to dehumanize other groups.
The video containing the ad is embedded below:
But Jim Minnery, one of the leaders of the Protect Your Rights: Vote No On 5 campaign, is not inclined to cave in. Minnery points out that because the term "transgender" isn't defined in the law, a scenario like the one portrayed in the commercial could play out under the law. "I think it's a shocking flaw in Prop. 5 and shows profound disrespect to voters that the authors didn't feel it was important to provide a definition of transgender identity," Minnery said. He defended his group's free speech rights and said the cartoon caricature was meant to be attention-grabbing, noting that they only have 30 seconds to get their message across.
Although the ad certainly represents a worst-case scenario that's improbable, it does NOT represent an impossible-case scenario. The civil rights industry has a history of sending out "narcs" or "testers" to try to induce, provoke or entrap a prospective landlord, proprietor, or employer into making actionable statements, then file a complaint based upon those statements unless the target privately agrees to some extortionate demand, such as "sensitivity training", a commitment to "more diversity", a contribution to a gay rights group, and, of course, an abject public apology.
Minnery should stand firm and refuse to pull the ad. We got into this predicament because we were more concerned about being "fair" than being right. We've made one compromise after another with gay activists, and always they come back demanding more. It's become a zero-sum game for us. It stops here and now. Vote NO on 5 on April 3rd.