Inter Lake wrong to publish Rep. Fuller’s opinions
| December 4, 2022 12:00 AM
The Daily Inter Lake and John Fuller have done it again. As LGBTQ+ Montanans are experiencing legitimate fear and trauma after the shootings at Club Q in Colorado Springs, the Inter Lake and Rep. Fuller have repeated harmful misinformation about LGBTQ+ people that enables verbal and physical violence and discrimination against our LGBTQ+ neighbors, friends, and relatives.
In 2018, the Inter Lake published a guest editorial that criticized a support group for LGBTQ+ teens. That piece was full of character attacks and cruel stereotypes, and local residents responded by telling the Inter Lake that gross misrepresentations of LGBTQ+ teens and adults had no place in our valley.
During the 2021 Montana Legislative Session, Fuller sponsored three bills designed to remove the rights of transgender youth to access medical care and participate in school sports. He used every stage of the legislative process as an opportunity to amplify misleading information meant to reinforce negative perceptions about LGBTQ+ people, and especially transgender people. MHRAN knows that this misinformation comes directly from well-funded national groups that are promoting a slate of hate bills that target transgender youth and adults.
Let’s be clear: Rep. Fuller’s actions are not designed to protect anyone. Since the passage of his misleadingly named “Save Women’s Sports” bill in 2021, he has shown no interest in taking actions that would truly support women’s sports, like advocating for funding or scholarships that close gaps in access to sports and athletics. Rep. Fuller’s actions exemplify the type of blatant lies and rhetoric that encourages violence against the LGBTQ+ community.
While Rep. Fuller is free to have his completely unfounded opinions about transgender people, the Inter Lake and other media companies are not required to repeat slurs, false characterizations and calculated cruelty that clearly lead to very real harm toward our LGBTQ+ friends and neighbors. Transgender people belong in Montana; Rep. Fuller’s hateful rhetoric does not. Please take time today to tell your local elected officials that you support equality for LGBTQ+ people in our valley and our state.
Shawn Reagor is advocacy lead at the Montana Human Rights Action Network, and on the leadership team of Love Lives Here in the Flathead Valley.
[Editor’s Note: Rep. John Fuller’s letter (Glacier Queer Alliance director’s criticism off-base, Dec. 1) was submitted as a rebuttal to a Daily Inter Lake article (Glacier Queer Alliance considers safety training in the wake of Club Q shooting, Nov. 26) in which Fuller was specifically mentioned by the Glacier Queer Alliance executive director. The Daily Inter Lake opinion page will continue to serve as a conveyor of the varying ideas and beliefs that exist in the community — particularly those of elected officials who wield decision-making power that affects the community.