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Jessica Williams Dissects America’s Anti-Trans Laws and Sentiments on The Daily Show


The Daily Show‘s Jessica Williams tackled the anti-transgender sentiment that’s been fomenting throughout the entire country as of late. While a lot of these transphobic beliefs and feelings have existed since, well, forever ago, it seems like as of this past year, they’ve really bubbled to the surface. With the advent of these anti-trans bathroom bills in North Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee, it’s clear that trans rights in America are very much under attack.

In this video, Williams speaks with Colorado lawmaker Gordon Klingenschmitt about why he believes bathroom laws like the ones mentioned above are needed in this country. It all comes down to a belief in a myth that has been thoroughly disproven time and time again: that transgender people have and will sexually assault cis people in bathrooms. Klingenschmitt is a bit of a fearmonger, sewing these seeds of discord amongst the population. You can see in the video that he’s even a bit of a hypocrite in that when asked to talk about his religious beliefs, he has to (literally a quote from him) “change into [his] alter ego.” The man has to literally transition into another personality in order to talk about religious freedom and yet he doesn’t want to allow transgender people to transition into their truest selves in order to, you know, liveAre you actually serious?

Klingenschmitt actually goes off camera and changes clothes, donning a robe and traditional vestments before coming back out to essentially decry trans individuals for wearing clothes that don’t line up with their genitalia. Like, for fuck’s sake. The most jaw-dropping exchange in the video is between Williams and Klingenschmitt, and it thoroughly displays the cognitive dissonance, the actual breakdown in understanding that occurs in bigots like him when it comes to viewing trans people as, well, people.

Williams: Do you, for whatever reason, associate being transgender with being a pervert?

Klingenschmitt: I mean, that is perversion. It’s people who label themselves as transgender for the purpose of getting that access to violate the rights of others.

Williams: Is it fair to say that if you’re a priest you’re a pedophile?

Klingenschmitt: Well, of course not.

Williams: Why is it “of course not”? Why?

Klingenschmitt: Because some people are criminals, and some people are not criminals.

Williams: Could you take that logic and apply it to the transgender community?

Klingenschmitt: They’re apples and oranges.

What? The most shocking thing of all is that this man is a lawmaker. He’s a representative in the Colorado House of Representatives. He’s responsible for creating laws that impact lives within an entire state, and yet he doesn’t seem to understand the value of a significant portion of those lives. How is that okay?

(via Vox)

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Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (, and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters ( She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.