FedSoc Students Totally frosty On Trans Visibility Day… impartial Kidding, They Were Vile Trolls
FedSoc Students Totally Cool On Trans Visibility Day… Just Kidding, They Were Vile Trolls
Yesterday was the International Transgender Day of Visibility, an occasion to raise awareness of discrimination against transgender people across the globe. On the heels of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill – which, contrary to its public relations strategy isn’t about sex ed, but about barring kindergartners from same-sex parents acknowledging their families – right-wing spaces have upped the animosity toward the LGBTQ community. And it has a lot to do with how little pushback conservatives received leaning hard into anti-trans hate for the past several years. In this environment, Trans Visibility Day weighed heavily on a lot of minds.
So how did FedSoc students celebrate:
That’s a representative of Yale Law School’s FedSoc chapter. We won’t identify the student specifically – not so much out of protecting him from the consequences of youth, but because we have every reason to assume that’s the sort of attention he actually craves when he does this sort of stuff.
For the record, there’s nothing necessarily anti-trans about that sweatshirt. It’s a DJ Khaled thing and, in that context, “they” are all the haters that told you that you wouldn’t amount to anything. Grammatically it probably should be a slash through “them,” but whatever. Regardless of which word ends up on there, unfortunately for DJ Khaled, his inspiring self-confidence message is easily co-opted into an anti-trans symbol.
So congratulations, you played yourself.
Because you don’t get to wear this shirt on Trans Visibility Day and feign ignorance. That’s obviously a popular strategy for specific Yale FedSoc students.
This was a choice. Yale Law students aren’t generally stupid and are well aware of what they’re doing. He took a symbol that, whatever it once meant, is openly marketed as anti-trans and decided to wear it on a day celebrating trans people because it’s the trollish thing to do.
That is his free speech right too. Unlike the prior “trap house” incident where a recognized student group violated policies against student groups engaging in discriminatory rhetoric, this is just a member of that group being an asshole. It’s hateful and juvenile and unprofessional and far more unbecoming of a future lawyer than any protest, but he gets to do it as long as it’s not some sanctioned student group act.
And unfortunately this probably works out to his benefit. Arguably the biggest miss of my career in legal industry commentary came in 2018 when I speculated that the age of the conservative legal movement rewarding petulant trolls was over. While one might expect the very serious right-wing movement to bypass childish trolls in favor of straight-edge preppies who dream of running hedge funds, in reality, the most established figures on the right seek out the most egregiously vile college and law school students. They want folks out there “owning the libs” for their own churlish entertainment. That’s who they’ll carefully transform over coming decades into federal judges (or legislators as the case may be). As I put it in the past, “By the time the Senate confirmation hearing rolls around, they want George Will on the streets and Rush Limbaugh in the sheets.”
But it’s not over. The path to success among the GOP establishment still runs through being the most in-your-face provocateur out there. Anyone can act like a libertarian, upper-class, tax cut banker, but when push comes to shove, how do you know it’s not just another David Souter? The movement got burned once, it’s not going to do it again. It’s what Ripley said about nuking the site in Aliens.
Crowning the most offensive and insensitive scumbag is the only way to be sure.
[photo2]Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.