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On Wednesday, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Co.) appeared on Steve Bannon’s show to fear-monger about the Equality Act. Or, in her words: “The so-called Equality Act.” For Boebert the name was a “play on words.” Because, she said, “there is nothing about equality in that act! If anything, it’s supremacy—of gays, lesbians, and—uh.” Boebert then pauses before saying a slur for transgender people.

 

Boebert here is dim. She is railing against a piece of legislation that, if passed, would amend civil rights laws to extend protections for LGBTQ+ people in all sorts of sectors. My colleague Abigail Weinberg explained the details:

[It will] ensure protections for LGBTQ people in areas including housing, employment, and “public accommodations” such as retail stores. Proponents call it a necessary extension of the Civil Rights Act, while opponents have argued that the bill would infringe on religious rights.

This is not a “play on words.” And so-called culture war battles aren’t severed from the real, material conditions of our lives. The case of trans rights makes this obvious. My colleague Laura Thompson has detailed that in reporting on Trump’s transgender military ban and how even children aren’t safe from the GOP’s war on LGTBQ+ people.

Boebert is parading as anti-woke by using a slur in a half giggle. She knows what she’s saying is hurtful, it seems; she pauses before saying the word and then squeaks it out. The other explanation, maybe, for the pause is that saying “transgender” has been so normalized to such a degree that it’s hard to even recall how to be offensive. Still, she pulls it off.

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