Creep of the Week: Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders

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Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is wearing a green dress with her arms crossed. The background in purple and the word Creep of the Week are on the right side.
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Photo from Arkansas.gov. Image by Ed Hahn)

Sanders won’t comply with Title IX rules that include protections for transgender kids in schools

Who trashed it best?

The students at Spring Hill High in Tennessee who wreaked havoc in their school after hours, destroying and vandalizing school property in a senior prank that went too far?

Or the fully grown adults on the Shenandoah County School Board in Virginia who voted to rename schools after Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Turner Ashby, reversing a 2020 decision that decided to strike the names of these Confederate traitors in the name of human decency?

I’m going to go with the adults openly embracing racism — er, excuse me, “heritage.” I mean, sure, high school students should know better than to overturn desks and pour liquids on the floor, but those are messes that can be cleaned up. What that school board did in Virginia is disgusting, essentially telling families and students that racist violence was, and is a noble pursuit and that these traitorous fucks deserve respect of any kind.

I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but adults love to trash schools. Right-wing school board members are nothing new, but over the past decade or so, there is a growing conservative coalition of anti-LGBTQ+, anti-science (which includes anti-vax and anti-mask), anti-critical thinking, anti-diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Which means that when the Biden Administration declared in April that Title IX protects trans students, heads across the country exploded. As the Arkansas Democrat Gazette explains, “The update in Title IX is based off the U.S. Supreme Court’s majority opinion in the 2020 case, Bostock v. Clayton County, which held federal civil-rights protections on sex and gender apply to gender identity.”

The Human Rights Campaign said that, in practice, the rules change “means students can use the bathroom and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity, can attend prom and other schools dances with a same-sex date and can depict LGBTQ+ families in the art they paint and in the stories they write. It also means schools can’t intentionally misgender students, create a hostile environment where LGTBQ+ students are bullied, or retaliate against students who complain of harassment or discrimination.”

Sounds great to me! Alas, you don’t have to look hard to see what happens when anti-LGBTQ+ conservatives are in charge.

Just look at Arkansas. Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has declared that the state will not comply with the Biden Administration’s Title IX rules that include protections for transgender kids in schools.

“Sanders signed an executive order stating that Arkansas schools will continue to enforce restrictions on which bathrooms and pronouns transgender students can use” despite the new Title IX regulations, according to The Associated Press.

“My message to Joe Biden and the federal government is we will not comply,” Sanders said.

Oooh. Tough talk. Sticking it to the Biden Administration by sacrificing transgender kids. Truly a sign of courage.

Arkansas isn’t the only state stomping its feet over the new Title IX rules. Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Louisiana, and Kentucky are also willing to throw transgender students to the anti-trans wolves for political gain.

“In another of her administration’s endless attacks on LGBTQ Arkansans, Gov. Sanders has signed an executive order today that refuses compliance with updated Title IX policies,” Megan Bailey, communications director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, said in a statement. “This act is a stark defiance of laws to protect against discrimination and a clear, aggressive attack on the well-being and freedoms of LGBTQ people in our state. This latest action is part of a disturbing pattern of behavior from Gov. Sanders, who seems more invested in divisive politics and fueling culture wars than addressing the urgent needs of Arkansans.”

Because, of course, she is. After making her living standing in front of the American people and lying on behalf of Donald Trump, it’s pretty clear that she’s just another cog in the right-wing outrage machine that cares only about power, not people.

Arkansas could potentially lose federal funding over refusing to follow the Title IX guidelines protecting trans kids.

“That appears to be a sacrifice that those whose only priorities are themselves and their own political profiles are willing to make,” Brandon Wolf, HRC senior director of political communications and national press secretary, said, according to the AP.

But Sanders DGAF.

“If President Biden threatens our state with loss of educational funding because we refuse to go along with his election-year pandering, Arkansas will take the federal government to court,” Sanders said, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

In other words, she’ll sue. And given the proliferation of Trump-appointed judges all over the fucking place, chances are good she’ll succeed.

It’s easy to get exhausted and overwhelmed by the sheer weight of right-wing hatred and cruelty out there and to feel like there’s nothing you can do. But you can do something. Voting, of course, but also by being a vocal ally of transgender people. If you are transgender, seek out a supportive community. The only way love can conquer hate is if we refuse to stop screaming support for love from the top of our lungs.