The Pervert from Ward Four

City Council member John La Tour, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, in detail undated, uncredited image via Planet Transgender.

At some point the question arises why it is that the outburst of perversity we’ve seen in recent years, resulting as such from the advancement of gay rights, actually comes in the form of the conservative, family-values crowd (ahem!) letting it all hang out?

Fayetteville Councilman John La Tour, a tea party member and recipient of Josh Duggars campaign funding, is being accused of threatening to expose himself to a female employee of a city restaurant. People who witnessed the incident say he approached the woman assuming she was transgender and told her that he was man and that could prove it by dropping his pants

(Busey)

Naturally, it’s everyone else’s fault; the Planet Transgender report notes he was in a restaurant where, “The music was overly loud despite his request to lower the volume, so he responded by dancing along with it, he said”. And why does it always start with some version of, “There I was, minding my own business, being oppressed for no reason, so I decided to just go along with it, and hey …”?

No, really.

La Tour said the incident began during his regular Friday morning stop at Arsaga’s to meet a group of acquaintances. The music was overly loud despite his request to lower the volume, so he responded by dancing along with it, he said. He intended to ask the employee to dance with him but wanted to confirm she was a woman first, La Tour said, citing the ordinance.

“You can declare you’re a man or you’re a woman, whatever you want to,” La Tour said. “I’m not going to ask a man to dance with me.”

Think of it this way: Recently a man trying to make some point about what’s wrong with homosexuals and the transgendered walked into a women’s locker room in Seattle and began undressing, was told to leave, and then pulled the same stunt a second time in front of young girls. He seems to have intended to mock transgender rights; the state human rights commission did well enough to not laugh out loud when clarifying the policy for those too stupid to figure out the obvious. Sydney Brownstone reminded:

Apparently this dude isn’t the first person with the idea to undress in women’s restrooms to stir up false and idiotic fears about transgender people being allowed in same-sex restrooms. A number of trolls have been suggesting similar stunts on anti-LGBTQ Facebook pages.

To be fair, she was a little more specific in prior coverage of the particular incident and general issue:

A few notes here. First, I find it curious timing. Last week, while Republican legislators were announcing that male creeps would almost certainly be using women locker rooms, Sen. Pramila Jayapal (D-Seattle) said that “there have been no sex offenders posing as transgender people to get into bathrooms.” Same week, this happens.

Second thing, as far as we know, that’s still true. This person wearing board shorts could very well be a right-wing troll, and again, as far as we know, this person didn’t ogle or harass anyone.

Nevertheless, this incident will almost certainly fuel the conservative fantasia that discriminating against trans people somehow benefits society, keeps women and children safe, etc.

Danni Askini, executive director of the Gender Justice League, makes a very important point: In the case described above, the Human Rights Commission policy worked.

“The person was asked to leave and did leave,” Askini said. “Our opposition has repeatedly called for people to make protests like this—which is incredibly disappointing of them—to prove a point. This person did not assert that they were transgender, which I think [shows] that this person did not have a sincerely held gender identity.”

So, right. This is apparently a thing among right-wingers. And, in the end, it really does start to feel like any excuse to whip out some perversity. You know, like Republican presidential candidates spinning fantasies of rubbing one out in the ladies’ loo.

Here’s a fun one: Check the anti-gay arguments of the last twenty-five years and keep a tally of just how often consent disappears from the conservative outlook on sexual intercourse. Yes, really, for a quarter-century, consent has been irrelevant to a good many family-values Christian conservatives.

It’s not quite a joke, anymore, but I have this line about Christian conservatives of decades past who complained about pop music influencing kids―an anti-alcohol song will tell kids to commit suicide, while an anti-cocaine song tempts them toward Satanism?―or how moral relativism will be the death of us all weren’t exactly wrong; they were just talking about their own kids, and their own outlooks. Yesterday fayetteville alderman John la tour ward 4 assaulted a dear friend in public demanding they choose a gender in a packed restaurant. He demanded she pick a gender declaiming loudly that he couldn't tell if she was a man or a woman. She is not transgendered and does not in any way present any ambiguity about gender in any way. She's a woman. He then explained that he was a man and could prove it by dropping his pants and showing his penis. That is bullying behavior and unacceptable on so many levels. Please call any news outlets you know and alert them to his "protests". I doubt offering to expose yourself would be considered protected speech even by the right wing activist Dugger family who funded his campaign. He should be kicked out of office. (Gavin Smith, via Facebook, 19 March 2016) These are the people who can’t tell fact from fantasy, who will say anything to get their way, and who bury themselves beneath mountains of neurotic conflict in order to do so.

Watch Republicans gather at events to show their piety for the purpose of being seen by others; it apparently impresses Christians. Even Jeb Bush stooped to rejecting Christ in order to impress Christians. Evangelical leaders who thought they knew what they were doing in promulgating false witness and bigotry suddenly find their scalps itching at the realization that they are losing their flocks to the temptation of even greater bacchanalia.

We ought not be surprised that dire predictions of libertine perversity are coming true; nor ought we be surprised at who those perverts are.

____________________

Image notes: Top ― City Council member John La Tour, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, in detail undated, uncredited image via Planet Transgender. Right ― Screenshot of Facebook post by Gavin Smith, 19 March 2016:

Yesterday fayetteville alderman John la tour ward 4 assaulted a dear friend in public demanding they choose a gender in a packed restaurant. He demanded she pick a gender declaiming loudly that he couldn’t tell if she was a man or a woman. She is not transgendered and does not in any way present any ambiguity about gender in any way. She’s a woman. He then explained that he was a man and could prove it by dropping his pants and showing his penis. That is bullying behavior and unacceptable on so many levels. Please call any news outlets you know and alert them to his “protests”. I doubt offering to expose yourself would be considered protected speech even by the right wing activist Dugger family who funded his campaign. He should be kicked out of office.

Brownstone, Sydney. “Human Rights Commission: Guy Entering Women’s Bathroom in Seattle Was ‘Absolutely Not Protected Under the Law'”. Slog. 26 February 2016.

—————. “Two Days Before a State Senate Vote on an Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill, Pool Employees Say a Man Showed Up in a Women’s Locker Room”. Slog. 17 February 2016.

Busey, Kelli. “Fayetteville Councilman John La Tour threatens to wave his penis at a woman he thought was trans”. Planet Transgender. 22 March 2016.

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