OMG, you will never believe this but Peter LaBarbera is in jail.
Just kidding, in a way.
For those of you familiar with LaBarbera, the specter behind Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, you’d be forgiven for assuming that he was in jail for hate-criming someone — probably a transgender teenager wanting to attend prom or something.
In reality, LaBarbera is merely in Facebook jail. (But, then again, aren’t we all?)
LaBarbera is super upset about his 30-day suspension from Facebook after posting photos of Alex Jacob’s postoperative top surgery along with an invitation to the AFTAH banquet, promising that AFTAH would help stop “transgender insanity” and “gender deviance and body mutilation.”
“The picture is from the Twitter feed of Alex, a beautiful young woman who had her healthy breasts surgically removed two years ago in her tragic quest to identify as a man,” LaBarbera writes.
A couple of things. First, whether or not LaBarbera thinks pre-op Alex is “beautiful” is irrelevant. Note to LaBarbera: Alex’s body isn’t, wasn’t, and never will be your business. The only thing “tragic” about this whole thing is LaBarbera’s obsession with LGBTQ people and his commitment to hating them.
Second, LaBarbera links to Alex’s Twitter feed. And so I went to check it out and OH MY GOD ALEX HAS THE CUTEST CORGI PUPPY NAMED CHARLOTTE SORRY I AM LITERALLY DEAD FROM ACUTE CUTENESS! (OK, so I’m not literally dead, I’m figuratively dead.)
But Alex’s Twitter isn’t all cute puppies. It has a fair share of trans realness, too.
“Sometimes I have these lil moments where I look in the mirror n see the way a shirt falls over my flat chest n get so ecstatic,” Alex tweets. “it’s been over 2 yrs since top surgery & it’s easy to forget about the pain I felt pre-op but I don’t think I’ll ever stop having these moments of pure joy n comfort in my own body.”
Pure joy and comfort, huh? That’s a lot different than the “tragic quest” LaBarbera depicted. The “pain” Alex is referring to isn’t physical pain, but emotional pain. It’s a pain that cisgender people don’t, and probably can’t, fully understand. And it’s why LaBarbera’s insistence that people like Alex are damaged and sick is so appalling. Trans people have higher rates of suicide precisely because of the kind of societal pressure rejection LaBarbera traffics in.
Not that anyone needs to tell Alex that.
“Transphobes will treat trans people like freaks and deny us basic human rights only to later use our high suicide rates as proof that we don’t deserve validation and support,” Jacobs said.
It’s a vicious circle, and one that literally costs lives.
So LaBarbera can spare me his sob story about his cyber exile.
“To tell you the truth,” LaBarbera writes, “I can’t even keep track anymore of how many times I or AFTAH have been ‘jailed’ or unpublished by these leftist ‘Tech Totalitarians’ in the last few years.”
For someone who claims to be a purveyor of “truth,” LaBarbera sure lies a lot. But in this case, I believe him. He probably can’t keep track of all of the times he’s faced consequences for advocating hate against LGBTQ people. However, the number of times he has either faced no consequences or even has benefited from peddling hate is far, far greater.
“I don’t have any answers on how to combat this escalating corporate speech control, which is far more menacing than the government ‘hate crime’ laws conservatives feared for so many years,” he writes.
If LaBarbera thinks it’s tough to be a right-wing bigot online he should try being, say, any woman with an opinion on Twitter. Women online get rape and death threats for posting things like, “I really loved the all-female Ghostbusters reboot!” And even when the accounts of those threats are reported, they often don’t get put into Facebook or Twitter “jail.” They just hang out there, unchecked, just like sexism and misogyny IRL.
LaBarbera will not be deterred, however.
“We must never, ever, ever give in to this radical, anti-God LGBTQueer sex-and-gender revolution and its apologists,” he writes. “Their agenda harms children, and we cannot let them silence us. Hopefully reason and sanity will prevail over the growing ‘LGBTyranny’ that threatens our cherished freedoms as Americans.”
Ah, yes. Our cherished freedoms to post super shitty things about people on Facebook. Like the founding fathers intended.
“Keep on fighting,” LaBarbera writes.
And the truth is, LaBarbera truly is fighting the good fight. He’s just on the wrong side. Oh, and his Twitter feed has no cute Corgi puppies AT ALL. Complete waste.
D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer, and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.