Obama tackles the hard stuff: Gay conversion therapy, transgender bathrooms

Without making a value judgment about the seriousness of these issues to millions of Americans, the importance of leading one of America’s patented “national conversations” about them today – right at this minute – is suspect.

As Barack Obama flails in pursuit of a legacy achievement in the form of a dubious nuclear accord with Iran that is only likely to fan the flames of a region already on fire, the timing of the president’s decision to lend his moral weight to the cause of ending gay “conversion” therapy has given his critics justified pause.

“President Obama is calling for an end to such therapies aimed at ‘repairing’ gay, lesbian and transgender youth. His decision on the issue is the latest example of his continuing embrace of gay rights,” The New York Times reported.

“We share your concern about its potentially devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer youth,” the statement, written by Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Mr. Obama, says. “As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.”

In fact, for a man who ostensibly opposed gay marriage less than three years ago, Obama appears determined to set a benchmark standard for LGBT-friendliness. Despite the fact that it will probably be in extremely limited demand, officials announced they are going to create an “all gender bathroom” in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building for the White House staffers who work there. The aim of this new bathroom is to eliminate the stigma transgender people face when confronted with binary lavatories.

Don’t expect the Beltway-based reporting class to ask any questions about the number of transgender staffers the White House currently employees. To even ask that question is to offend the principles of identity politics, an altar before which virtually every member of the coastal media elite genuflects. And while the psychological community generally regards gay “conversation” therapy as hokum – Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill banning the practice in his state in 2013 – don’t hold out hope that reporters will prod Democrats over their less scientifically-minded proclivities.

The party of rationalism is also the party that has viciously opposed genetically modified food strains that could save millions of lives in the developing world. The party of rationalism is also the party that crafted and signed a law that legitimized and funneled millions of dollars into holistic treatments like acupuncture, chiropractic therapy, and Eastern medicines. “They get the shot, that night they have a fever of a hundred and three, they go to sleep, and three months later their brain is gone,” said scion of the party of science, Robert Kennedy Jr., of the process of vaccination. “This is a holocaust, what this is doing to our country.”

But you won’t hear any of this raised by an incredulous press corps that might find Obama’s apparent deference to scientific consensus opinion on gay “conversion” hard to swallow when his party rejects that consensus on other matters of importance to a greater number of Americans.

The point has been made before that what is vogue today is not necessarily the incontrovertible truth. There is nothing wrong with Obama speaking out against the largely discredited practice of gay “conversion” therapy, per se, but it is a mission of a piece with Obama’s claim just yesterday that the latest consequence of climate change is an uptick in the number of asthma sufferers. The president’s design is perfectly transparent to all but his blinkered supporters. His aim is not to address a public policy crisis, but to redirect the national media’s focus towards terrain more favorable to him and his party.

The political media, of course, obliges. You will not hear much outrage today in the press over the White House’s objection to signing a bill that makes the administration certify that Iran isn’t committing acts of war against the United States before the sanctions against that nation are lifted. Even though this topic is of objectively more value to more American news consumers than is anything having to do with transgender restroom requirements, to raise this issue is to put Democrats in a bind. Therefore, the press will not raise it.

If you have an objective press corps, America, you will hear more than one reporter ask an administration official what the demand is for an “all gender bathroom” for those who work in the White House. If you don’t, you can assume that the political press has collectively determined that this development is both necessary and good, and those asking questions about it are probably bigots. The latter eventuality seems more likely.

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