The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, May 10, 2022 1:00 am


Pander play

Braun again opts for politics over pathos

EDITORIAL BOARD | The Journal Gazette

Indiana's junior senator, Mike Braun, has again found a way to debase his position. It's only been a few weeks since he had to walk back his ludicrous comment about overturning the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark ruling on interracial marriage.

Now Braun has found another way to befuddle Hoosiers, saying he's doing it for the sake of the children. He's one of five U.S. senators behind a letter to the TV Parental Guidelines Advisory Board appealing for a warning label on TV-Y7 programming that contains an LGBTQIA+ character or characters or has discussions related to gender and sexuality.

The letter signed by Republican senators Braun, Dr. Roger Marshall (of Kansas), Mike Lee (Utah), Steve Daines (Montana) and Kevin Cramer (North Dakota) is aimed at Disney because one of its executives said she was proud  they have “many, many, many” shows featuring characters who are lesbian, gay or transgendered.

Most would expect that in 2022, there would be writers who would illustrate the totality of America's rich tapestry.

But the senators are worried that the children, tweens and teens to whom this applies could model behavior or imitate what they see.

Viewers could model love and respect for fellow Americans. They could model friendships that go beyond simplistic notions of “right” and “wrong” people and families based on out-of-date social norms in an unequivocally diverse nation.

Nope. It's about sex.

“Sexually-related content not only negatively influences and exploits its young audiences,” the five write, adding that dialogue often “involves the promotion of irreversible experimental treatments that involve surgical and otherwise invasive cosmetic procedures that are detrimental and life-altering, and do not evidence medical necessity.”

And while Braun and the senators were doing their best to be maliciously performative for a base of voters, an Indiana newspaper recently highlighted a real problem facing transgender Hoosiers – lack of acceptance.

The Anderson Herald Bulletin's Statehouse reporter, Whitney Downard, had an article articulating the difficulties faced by transgendered people in Indiana. There was real pain in the voice of Lilith Le'fay Belladonna.

“There's a lot of trans hate in the country right now,” Belladonna said. “I don't understand why people have this hate in their heart. ... All we want to do is live our lives just like everyone else.”

One of the best quotes from the story came from IUPUI's Richard Brandon-Friedman, a professor of social work and pediatrics at Riley Hospital who counsels youth considering transition.

More youth are willing to be open about their true selves, which is ultimately a good thing. But some politicians see an opportunity.

“When you have politicians come in, it just leads to this political association of transgender youth, and their experiences become somewhat demonized when they're just trying to live authentically,” Brandon-Friedman said.

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