Pictured: Nicole Maines
The Daily Caller, a conservative website based in Washington DC, published an article on Saturday, titled "Maine's supreme court foists choose-your-own-bathroom policy on entire state." Incidentally, an image of a woman screaming behind a shower curtain accompanied the piece.
As the title suggests, author Eric Owens put an ignorant spin on the decision made by the state's highest court to allow students to use the bathroom matching their gender identity rather than biological sex. The case came about after Nicole Maines's school required her to use the staff bathroom, not the girls' restroom. The Maine Human Rights Commission helped her family sue the school.
The blatant offensiveness of the article, and many of the comments for that matter, demonstrates an unwillingness to discuss transgender issues in a rational and respectful manner. While those at the Daily Caller hold a right to their own opinions, coverage of equal rights should be founded in facts and basic courtesy. Therefore, an actual discussion of the issues may exist. Owen's condescending tone restricts coverage of court cases involving transgender issues to his opinions and his opinions alone.
Even when quoting supporters of transgender rights, Owen attempted to discredit their statements through his selective choice of words. For example, Owen wrote, "'A transgender girl is a girl and must be treated as such in all respects, including using the girls' restroom,' Levi stridently insisted." The usage of 'stridently' would indicate that a harsh or shrill tone underlined Levi's statement. Perhaps this was true, but more likely Owen was attempting to discount her arguement.
The article teases the next page with the line, "Transgender dudes cleverly force their way into female bathrooms all over the country." The line caught harsh reaction from Media Matters for America. Likewise, the court decision made in Maine noted that students should not stride in and out of any bathroom at their leisure. The hyperbolic line serves no purpose but to impose unwarranted bigotry.
The second page is no better. Court cases regarding transgender equalities are summarized one after another, and Owen's disparaging tone remains constant. Transgender individuals are depicted as forcing their way into locker rooms and restrooms, hoping to expose themselves to poor onlookers. While Owen worries over the discomfort others will feel, he makes no mention of how difficult it must be for a transgender person to change in front people of the opposite gender.
Yet, the true horror of the coverage comes from the article being posted within the Daily Caller's Education section. In fact, Owens is the website's Education Editor. When discussing equal treatment within the education of youth, fairness and respect is not just warranted but necessary.