In an interview on Friday, Apr. 22, with religious right broadcaster AM 980 KKMS, Rep. Abigail Whelan, a Republican from Anoka, and Sen. Warren Limmer, a Republican from Maple Grove, defended both North Carolina’s anti-LGBTQ laws as well as a bill they’ve authored that would bar transgender people from using the restroom in public places and places of employment.
The interview with Paul Ridgeway focus on a letter that Limmer and Whelan wrote – and which was signed by 35 GOP lawmakers — to Gov. Pat McCrory for enacting anti-LGBTQ legislation in that state.
Ridgeway: Well, I’m talking to Sen. Warren Limmer who has written a letter to the North Carolina governor and also Rep. Abigail Whelan from Anoka and both of them sent letter and — by the way, I thought the letter was very thoughtful and it’s to Governor McCrory and I’m going to read it [Ridgeway reads the letter].
Not only do I agree with that but the polling shows it, but as I just read the American College of Pediatrics said that sex-change operations don’t work. It’s the same as child abuse and Johns Hopkins, as you both know, the chief surgeon who headed the transexual surgeries stopped them saying it doesn’t work. So Rep. Abigail, why does Gov. Dayton and the liberals keep pushing this issue. I don’t understand it?
Whelan: Well, I think you hit the nail on the head earlier. We’re entering into an era where good is called evil and evil is called good, I don’t want to… The motives of folks… They, I believe, think that they are doing the right thing and it’s unfortunate. Because as you also said, we know that confusing children is a form of child abuse. Ultimately, when you are questioning your gender identity for years and years. Up until, I think it was just two years ago, that was a dysphoria and it was diagnosed as a mental disorder and you know it’s one of the things that we just we really need to have compassion on these kids, on these children that are questioning their gender identity. Our bill would allow for them to use a private facility. We, from our part, we want to offer counseling. We want to talk to them. We want to say why are you feeling this way and just show love because ultimately you said it. Well, when you go through life and you are transgender and you end up having an operation, those folks they are depressed. The operation does not help the depression and a lot of them end up committing suicide at the rate of 20 times higher than average.
Ridgeway: It’s terrible. 20 times higher. When I was going through college, I worked with a young guy who wanted to have a sex-change operation and I’m sure he’s not even alive anymore. The suicide rate is so high. I’m talking to Rep. Abigail Whelan, State Representative from 35A and Sen. Warren Limmer, Senator from Senate District 34 and they wrote a letter to Gov. McCrory of North Carolina just showing support… And by the way, studies show that many children who have had same-sex attractions once they reach puberty, the vast majority of those attractions fall away. They do, and yet we see the American Medical Association saying that transgender operations is child abuse, trying to change somebody’s sex. God created you a man, you are a man. God created you a woman, you are a woman, and you’re not an apple. You aren’t a dog. You aren’t the opposite sex folks but I think Representative, you are right and I know you are Sen. Limmer feel this way as Christians. We’ve got to show love and compassion and get counseling and help for young people or people going through this.
Ridgeway was talking about the American College of Pediatrics, a conservative Christian organization with a mainstream professional-style name. ACP is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group, and the organization’s sole purpose appears to be to advocate against LGBTQ equality and attempt to lend credibility to the anti-LGBTQ movement. They have labelled gender affirming medical care as child abuse in a letter frequently cited by the religious right.
Ridgeway’s terminologically challenged assertion that most transgender youth don’t remain transgender into adulthood (he confuses gender identity with sexual orientation) is not supported by research and is cherry-picked from a flawed study.
Ridgeway then paraphrased a question from a gay listener of his show:
Sen. Limmer, I’ve got a question that a listener had asked me the other day to ask a and he’s also a gay man who listens to this show. He said, “Well there’s been no sexual attacks in bathroom yet by a transgender person going…” Now I’ve got a problem with this. I’ve got daughters. I’ve got… even my neighbor’s got two young daughters and I would not want the guy walking into the shower who thinks he’s a girl or vice versa. I wouldn’t want to have my son… a woman walking into the shower thinking she’s a boy, but this gay person who listens to the show said, “but well nobody’s been hurt yet?”
Limmer: We have to wait until someone is hurt — I agree — to have a law to protect them? I think really what the problem is is that they see is that there is a cultural expectation of privacy in those public facilities whether a bathroom or a locker room and that hasn’t been breached yet but we do know that there are sex offenders that will lie in wait in public restrooms public locker rooms to attack people and it’s not a question of whether transgender people would attack others; it’s the way we’re now creating an expectation of a man who puts a little mascara on his face could walk into a bathroom and lie in wait in an isolated public bathroom and wait for the victim to come in.
Later in broadcast, Whelan addressed the issue of the “gender fluidity movement” and that people need to pray for the spiritual battle:
Whelan: Oh okay, well I guess I would just close with this: the gender fluidity movement is one the biggest problems we are facing and it’s bringing about a lot of confusion. In fact, one of the reasons Rep. Gruenhagen brought about his bill, there was a constituent of his who works at a place where there’s an individual who changes day to day. They don’t know if the individual will feel like a man or a woman day to day and his constituent felt very uncomfortable using the bathroom with this person and so… the fluidity and how we as a society address that which is why we need and objective standards like biological sex. I would also encourage folks to keep praying because we all know the battle is spiritual.
Whelan has close associations with the anti-LGBTQ Minnesota Child Protection League. She assisted in fundraising for the organization last fall. Both the MNCPL and the Minnesota Family Council have been part of her campaigns for office. Limmer has been a longtime friend of KKMS and Ridgeway. In fact, Ridgeway served as Limmer’s campaign chair several years ago. Both Whelan and Limmer are frequent guests on Ridgeway’s show.
Here’s the full interview: