Many of us have lived the contradiction. We have had friends and/or family members loving and supporting us to our faces, but facing a ballot box, vote for someone eager to do us harm. Do they really love us?
We are collectively experiencing such a situation as a community, a back-stabbing characteristic of when Julius Caesar uttered “E Tu Brutus,” as his best friend’s knife came hurling towards him.
This time the victim is not some classical politician however, it is a group of our most vulnerable — our LGBTQ kids who are getting the steely betrayal.
American conservatism has been incredibly callous towards children in general. When three Christian kids were gunned down recently, leading conservatives publicly shrugged their shoulders and said the silent part out loud, “We are not going to help you.” They have made it clear that in a choice between guns and children, guns win.
It is in this crucible of priorities that current conservative strategists live, and within their strategies, a distracting scapegoat has needed to be found and opportunistically vilified.
For this brand of American conservatives, that group of scapegoats is transgender kids. Certainly the conservatives are after people of color, women, immigrants, the LGBTQ community as a whole, but are deadlocked most severely on the transgender teen, and if that teen is athletic – they receive the pinnacle of ire.
Conventional thought would assume that the targeted teen transgender athletes might find their greatest safe harbor and advocacy in a publication called Outsports.
Outsports is the premier LGBTQ news website that deals with issues and personalities in amateur and professional sports. With articles boasting titles such as “Sports need to discuss cisgender discomfort over transgender athletes winning,” a teen feeling bullied and beaten by the reigning Republicans in transphobic state houses might feel at home.
Don’t get comfortable.
Cyd Zeigler, co-founder and editor of Outsports has announced, “I just registered as a Republican for the first time in 20 years.” (“He’s ALWAYS been ‘a Republican’ philosophically,” one source who works closely with him reports.)
Zeigler’s excuse for aligning with a party that has made transphobia a platform, is the indictment of Donald Trump. He fumes the Republican talking point that the Democrats are “seeking to use the government to attack political foes.” This motivation alone calls into question Zeigler’s competency in leading a transgender affirming publication. The discussions around trans rights are to educate with facts to offset Republicans’ vapid transphobic talking points. That he embraces such thin politically manipulative talking points around a judicial case, of which no one has yet seen the specifics and cannot sincerely evaluate, let alone judge, makes him a slave to politics and a betrayer of principle.
To add further insult to injury to the trans community, and to be, as athletic rights expert Dr. Veronica Ivy calls him, “a danger to trans people,” Zeigler has aligned himself with probably the most transphobic wing of Republicans he can. “Thank you @GovRonDesantis,” he tweets.
Thanking Ron DeSantis, the governor who spent the first day of Pride month in 2021 signing one of the first anti-trans athlete bills into law. Jaw drop. Thanking Ron DeSantis, not only an American conservative adhering to the plan to scapegoat LGBTQ kids and erase them, but who is arguably the architect of that plan.
It might be one thing if Zeigler had aligned himself with a Republican governor who vetoed a transphobic bill like Utah’s Republican Gov. Spencer Cox, but no, Zeigler opted to go full traitor.
Being asked to trust a media player who in secret does not have your best interests at heart, is possibly becoming “normal.” We in the LGBTQ community have an editor power-player embracing the political mastermind of transphobic and LGBT erasure politics, and the conservatives? Well, they have Tucker Carlson who secretly “hates Trump passionately.”
While Trump-ian Richard Grenell and Zeigler’s sister “Jess Z” applaud him, “So proud of my brother!” car dealer Jess exclaims, we have to send deep condolences to his staff, none of whom deserve this disrespect.
As for the LGBTQ community, and our teens in particular, John Casey of the Advocate asks, “Does Zeigler honestly have your best interests at heart? Does he truly represent what it means to be queer? Would you feel safe going to Zeigler?”
Our teens need, nay, they crave a hero who unflinchingly has their backs. Zeigler likes to cite his “many many years of advocating for trans people,” as his defense.
Yeah, well, that was then. This is now.
You, Mr. Zeigler, are no hero. You are a Tucker.