“Our shared progress toward a more equal society has depended on people standing together”

The Green MSP Patrick Harvie has always struck me as a good man. He was namechecked in an anti-trans piece in Scots newspaper The National yesterday, a piece that dragged up the usual “trans people are silencing women” bullshit and accused Harvie of not listening to women.

Harvie responded on the Scottish Greens website. It’s worth reading in full, but here’s an extract:

Many national media outlets carry relentlessly hostile coverage, turning the argument for human rights and basic respect into a “culture war” to divide people from one another. That tactic has been used to oppose all forms of equality, time and again down the generations. Progress has been made by people standing together, supporting each other and refusing to accept that your equality or human rights are incompatible with mine.

…Or we can do exactly what the opponents of equality always want us to do by trading my rights off against yours, yours against hers, his against theirs. If we do that, we will all lose.

Meanwhile in America, President Trump proved Harvie’s point when his administration announced protection for religious people who don’t want to give healthcare to trans people.

That’s any kind of care: plasters for cuts, painkillers for headaches, saving your life after a car crash.

And it’s not just trans people. That was just the headline. The bill is also about protecting people who don’t want to give healthcare to gay people, to lesbians, to people who’ve had abortions, or to anybody else they disapprove of for any other reason. In Kentucky it’s been suggested that similar “religious freedom” legislation will also enable discrimination against interracial couples.

NPR gives examples of recent religious exemption claims:

a nurse who didn’t want to provide post-operative care to a woman who had an abortion, a pediatrician who declined to see a child because his parents were lesbians and a fertility doctor who didn’t want to provide services to a lesbian couple.

At the press conference to announce the changes, acting Department of Health and Human Services secretary Eric Hargan compared what I’d call religious extremists’ hateful bigotry to the Jews slaughtered in the Holocaust and Martin Luther King’s quest for civil rights.