Oh Brother

This conservative-funded anti-trans ad is so sad it’s funny

After a nail-biting election, we’re all thrilled and relieved to see progressive candidates enjoying their wins in states like Kentucky, Ohio, and Virginia.

But there’s just one thing that’s sweeter than winning, and that, my friends, is the ability to laugh at the ones who lost. That is, if they happen to be soulless anti-trans trolls, like the good folks at American Principles Project, a conservative PAC that describes itself as “America’s Top Defender of the Family.”

After Democratic incumbent Andy Beshear won the gubernatorial race on Tuesday, we’re still reeling from the realization that, in a different timeline, it could all have gone so, so very wrong. Take, for instance, this ad that the American Principles Project put out to smear Beshear. It’s a short video that imagines a world in which the FBI shows up at your house for being condescending to your child while they’re trying to come out as trans. Which…I mean, I personally would love to live in that world, but that’s another story.

We open on a typical Kentucky family—or at least, what conservatives imagine to be a typical American family, comprised of three white people—father, mother, and child—sitting at the breakfast table chuckling about how their friend bought an electric vehicle. Jerry, what a nerd, amirite? Wanting to reduce fossil fuels—that is just so utterly Jerry. What a kook!

Then, out of absolutely nowhere, the child comes out as trans. “Mom, Dad,” they say, “I think I might be a boy.”

The father shows clear signs of freaking out, but the mother takes a different tactic. “You know we’ll love you no matter what,” she says, “but you’re a girl, so why would you say that?”

Parents, take note: this might seem like a perfectly fine response to your child coming out, but it’s actually a really, really crappy one. To say “we love you no matter what” and then directly contradict it by asking your kid why they would ever in a million years unburden their deepest, most personal revelation to you kind of cancels out the first part entirely.

But lo! Before this family can get to the heart of the matter, a Rachel Maddow type busts into the house with a briefcase, telling them they’re not allowed to so much as have the conversation! Again…what version of America is this? Because I’d love to live there.

No sooner does Rachel bust in than the FBI comes to take the trans child away from their parents—which, honestly, fine by me! The conversation they were having was going down a deep, dark road, one that probably ends in conversation therapy. So yeah! Not really seeing what the problem is.

The issue is that ignorant people who still remain in the dark about what it means to be transgender probably do find this to be a scary dystopian event. Which is why it’s great that Andy Beshear beat Daniel Cameron: it means that these kinds of ads aren’t stirring up the kind of fear the conservatives were counting on.

That’s why we can watch it now and laugh our heads off, seeing it for the campy piece of trash that it is. And let’s be clear, I don’t mean trash in the John Waters way: I mean it in the regular old trash way.

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