Chris Matthews trips up anti-LGBT extremist with one simple question

On his show MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews interviews Jennifer Finney Boylan, a transgender woman activist, and Travis Weber, a right-wing anti-LGBT extremist from Family Research Council. Boylan starts off with an intellectual and poignant first-hand opinion of the transgender bathroom debate, stating, “Stop causing trouble where there is not trouble.” Chris Matthews asks Weber the simple question: Which bathroom should Jennifer use? Weber can’t answer.rpk-tramplin

Here is the interview text followed by the video:

JENNIFER FINNEY BOYLAN: I don’t think this is about bathrooms at all. I think it’s about equal rights. Transgender people don’t want special rights. We want equal protection under the law, and mostly what we want is to be left alone. And if we can’t be left alone, we’d like to be treated with love. So you don’t want me in the men’s room. And you know how you create that perfect situation? Just stop. Stop coming up with these laws. Stop causing trouble where there is no trouble. There’s been no reported signs of any incidents over the last several years. And by the way, a law very much like the one which President Obama put into action last night has been on the books in California for two and a half years now with no incidents whatsoever. So I say maybe these people are really not trying. Maybe the issue is really not bathrooms at all. Maybe because now gay men and lesbians can get married, and they’re no longer the whipping boys and whipping girls in this country, now maybe they’re trying to rile up people against transgender people. And it’s not right, and it’s not fair.

Thank you, Jennifer Finney Boyland. Chris Matthews then asks his transphobic guest:

“Travis, tell Jenny what bathroom she should use?”



MATTHEWS: Which one should she use?

WEBER: Yeah, I mean I’m not sure, um —

MATTHEWS: Well just answer that question.

WEBER: I think people should be —

MATTHEWS: She said she would not be comfortable or not cause such problem if she walked into a men’s room. Should she walk into a men’s room?

WEBER: I think we can do things the way we’ve done them for decades, and people could use bathrooms according to biological sex with specific accommodation made for people who have a genuine issue. If we look at the North Carolina law, it made an accommodation. People are not happy with that, however. And now the Obama administration —

MATTHEWS: Let’s just talk about transgender people. What should a transgender person who identifies as a woman do? What bathroom should they go to? Just keep it simple.

WEBER: Yeah well there’s an issue of privacy concerns.

MATTHEWS: See no, you can’t answer the question, can you? What should they do?

WEBER: They can use the bathroom of their biological sex, except when there’s a genuine issue and an accommodation can be made.

His lack of a real answer is laughable. For someone representing an organization called Family Research Council, one has to wonder where his research is coming from and who’s giving him council — because he sounds clueless.

The interview continues as we watch Weber step deeper and deeper into it.

BOYLAN: Look, this is a solution in search of a problem. And what I would suggest that we do is what my mother, a Republican, evangelical Christian suggested we do, which is open your hearts. Travis, if you had a child who was transgender, and I’m glad that you recognize the existence of gender dysphoria as a real condition that many of us face. We don’t deserve to be humiliated. We don’t deserve to be treated with anything other than love. And this is not going to open the door to boys in girls bathrooms. That is a hallucination which the right has come up with in order to scare people, and it’s not necessary. Even better would be if we simply open our hearts and treat each other with kindness and with the respect and dignity that we all deserve as citizens of this country.

MATTHEWS: Which should Jenny do if she was visiting North Carolina right now? Should she go to the men’s room? Should she? You’re dodging the toughest question, which is what do you want people to behave like?

WEBER: It’s not a matter of what I want, it’s a matter of what the law permits.

MATTHEWS: Well what should she do?

WEBER: In North Carolina —

MATTHEWS: She should go to the men’s room?

WEBER: Actually a private business can do whatever they want regarding bathrooms. And if it’s in a certain government accommodation —

MATTHEWS: OK, at the airport. How about the airport?

WEBER: They can have, an accommodation can be made to protect the privacy of the student.

MATTHEWS: Can you answer the question? Should Jenny go to the men’s room or the ladies room?

WEBER: Well, she can use an accommodation bathroom that is a single use bathroom that would protect the privacy interest of the students on the other side. Now let me say this —

MATTHEWS: No, no, let her respond to that. Did that mean anything to you, Jenny?

BOYLAN: That’s gobbledygook. That means nothing. I am a woman. I have an F on my driver’s license. I have the anatomy of a woman, but because my birth certificate says M, I would have to go to the men’s room. And that makes me unsafe.


WEBER: I agree with her that everyone should be treated with love and respect. That’s a human basic. That’s a human basic. And many people have different issues. They’re not arguing disrespectful. People love people and have different views on human sexuality that’s motivating a lot of this discussion.

MATTHEWS: It just seems odd to me that you’d want Jenny to show up in men’s room you go to. You think that would be appropriate? You think that would be appropriate? It’s a simple question, should Jenny go to your men’s room? Yes or no.

WEBER: We have to protect the privacy interests of people on both sides.

MATTHEWS: See, you’re dodging this question. It is a tricky question, but it’s an important one.

BOYLAN: He is dodging the question. It’s a simple question. I will be in the ladies room, thanks very much.

Thank you, Chris Matthews, for asking the question. When extremists begin to realize the answer already exists, perhaps they’ll send their hate train somewhere else. And thank you, Jennifer Finney Moylan. This quote pretty much nails the debate:

“This is a solution in search of a problem.”

Weber and his ilk would do best to remember that when we point one finger at others — we find there are three fingers pointing back at us. If you have no solutions, please leave the stage.
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Leslie Salzillo
May 15 · 11:02:23 PM
Tip Jar
May 15 · 11:15:32 PM

Of course the real reason they’ve got their knickers in a twist over transgendered and intersex people is they don’t fit in their warped reading of the Bible. Passages like, “Man and woman He created them..” don’t allow for non-binary sexual identities. Hermaphrodites have been around for thousands of years but modern medicine has given those who need to change the outward selves to match their inner ones a way to finally do it. And no Bronze Age text could cover that. And every time they have to admit the Bible isn’t perfect hurts them deeply. Chris Matthews (who actually stuck with the question which surprised me) might have well as asked him “Is the Bible the literal truth despite all the things it gets wrong?” because that’s what gays and transgendered people are to these zealots — living proof their insane reading of the Bible is a load of hogwash.
Recommended 21 times
Mark Wallace
May 15 · 11:31:38 PM

Thanks for posting this. Chris Mathews can sometime be irritating, but he is at his best when he persistently goes after real answers to simple questions. This session is reminiscent of his simple question to Trump: “Should the woman be punished?” As is typical for right wingers, the ideologues dodge the real questions. What they really want is for the modern world to just disappear so as not to challenge their world view.
Recommended 29 times
VA Gal Mark Wallace
May 16 · 04:42:28 AM

Both Mathews and Jennifer Boylan were terrific here.

She just kept stressing that there’s no real problem, just nasty vindictiveness against people trying to live their lives in peace. Weber sounded like a fool.
Recommended 15 times
DrSFG Mark Wallace
May 17 · 08:36:57 AM

I agree. I have tangles on Quora all the time with these neocons who absolutely refuse to answer these simple questions and continually dodge the issue. You ask it over, and over, and over, and over. They refuse to answer. They are *all* a bunch of hypocrites.
May 16 · 12:07:53 AM

Mathews is indicative of the problems with the 24/7 cable news paradigm we have now, because his incessant badgering on innocuous issues of the day is so overwhelming. Just let the person answer your softball question before you answer it for yourself please! But in these sorts of encounters his irritating style really shines.

While I agree with the line of questioning here, I think the even more powerful objection is: Why is Governor McCrory forcing little girls to use the bathroom with grown men?
Recommended 6 times
here4tehbeer slothlax
May 16 · 01:46:42 AM

My thoughts exactly…

But in these sorts of encounters his irritating style really shines.

There are two things that will stuff a wingnut like Weber — not letting them obfuscate the issue / answer, and asking a straightforward question that can only properly be answered with a simple Yes” or “No”.

“Should she use your men’s room?” is about as on-point as you can get.
Recommended 10 times
slothlax here4tehbeer
May 16 · 01:58:14 AM

Unfortunately, he spends 90% of his interviews just interviewing himself and telling us about his mancrush on Kennedy and that he worked for Tip O’Neill. Every once in a while, though…
Recommended 4 times
zenbassoon slothlax
May 16 · 06:49:58 AM

Why is he forcing little girls to use the bathroom with grown men? I have a meme for that.
Recommended 7 times
The Other Bob slothlax
May 16 · 11:03:17 AM

Bingo. The RWNJs have not been answered the question as far as I know: Should transgender men be forced to use the bathroom of the gender on their original birth certificates?
Recommended 3 times
daveydave The Other Bob
May 17 · 10:39:10 AM

Not only that, but the stupid NC law actually makes the thing they all claim to be so scared of MORE possible, not less. That is, that a man is going to pose as transgender, go into a woman’s bathroom and attack women or girls.

In a state like California, a (presumably straight) man could theoretically dress as a transgender woman, go into a women’s room, and attack someone. Just two problems with that, though. 1). It’s freaking never happened; and 2). For a non-trans to pose as a trans woman and be at all convincing is a whole production; an hour or more putting on makeup, buying women’s clothes he wouldn’t ordinarily wear (which is an expense)…
If some creep really wants to attack a woman, there are easier ways, to put it mildly.

On the other hand, thanks to this stupid NC law, now all some would-be attacker (or simply pervy) straight guy has to do is walk into a women’s room AS HIMSELF and claim to be a trans man (F to M). He can say “Hey, I WISH I could be in the men’s room, that’s how I identify. But I can’t break the law. The law says I was born female, so I have to be in here.”

What are the women in there going to do, check him below the waist? That’s probably what someone like that would want.

So this stupid law actually makes the thing they all claim to be afraid of more likely to happen, not less.
But let’s get real. That was always just an excuse anyway. What these laws are really all about is giving a big middle finger to trans people and saying to them “You are what WE say you are, not what you say you are.” The religious right and RWNJ’s in general are terrified by gender non-conformity, and these laws are an attempt to impose “order” on what they see as unacceptable chaos. Of course, it’s not chaos; it’s people with gender dysphoria being able to be who they are. But this terrifies certain people.
The Lone Apple
May 16 · 03:27:55 AM

These right wing haters are lost. Not one iota of logic in them.
Recommended 5 times
tommy5677 The Lone Apple
May 16 · 07:13:46 AM

Because the Old Testament, featuring their devil god, is illogical. There ya go.
Recommended 4 times
May 16 · 03:41:38 AM

Wow, Chris Matthews asked an on-point question and stuck with it. Hallelujah, it’s a miracle!! Thanks for the diary, Leslie.
Recommended 12 times
Leslie Salzillo elenacarlena
May 16 · 06:21:16 AM

Thank you, Elenacarlena. 🙂
Recommended 1 time
May 16 · 05:33:19 AM

Matthews was coherent, strangely enough….
Recommended 2 times
May 16 · 06:46:13 AM

She can’t answer because she’s not willing to say what her true opinion is: she’d prefer transgender people to not exist at all, but if that’s not possible, then at a minimum they should not be allowed out in public, because, ooh, icky.
Recommended 2 times
eagleray GeorgeBurnsWasRight
May 16 · 07:43:34 AM

Who is “she”?
Recommended 0 times
GeorgeBurnsWasRight eagleray
May 16 · 09:46:59 PM

Sorry, got confused as to which person was the anti-transgender one.

Change all the pronouns in my post to “he”.
eagleray GeorgeBurnsWasRight
May 17 · 05:38:18 AM

That’s better! Thanks. 🙂
May 16 · 06:57:53 AM

Chris Matthews asks Weber the simple question: Which bathroom should Jennifer use?

He has his answer all typed out and everything, but unfortunately lost his notes:

Ladies and gentlemen,this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense! Why would a Wookiee, an 8-foot-tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of 2-foot-tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense! Look at me. I’m a lawyer defending a major record company, and I’m talkin’ about Chewbacca! Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense! None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember, when you’re in that jury room deliberatin’ and conjugatin’ the Emancipation Proclamation, does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense!

Recommended 1 time
Aximill stevemb
May 16 · 09:35:57 AM

As sensical as the Mexican staring frog from southern Sri Lanka.
Recommended 0 times
May 16 · 07:48:39 AM

The truth is, this “problem” has been solved for decades.
Recommended 2 times
May 16 · 08:06:13 AM

I cannot believe how much I’ve learned about transgender in the last few years. it was something barely in the conversation around me before then (Caitlin Jenner isn’t the reason, in my case).

I bought a print from one of my brilliant artist friends a decade ago. Her name was Paul and she happened to have a penis. I had no idea of the internal turmoil she was wrestling with, and only in reconnecting on Facebook did it become clear. She still a great artist! Still the same wonderful person! Who knew?

On my last book tour, I met two people in two different cities in the middle of transition. Each told me that the hero in one of my books helped give him and her the courage to follow that which was in the heart. I was in tears both times. My heart burst to see these human beings becoming true to who they were. What an amazing journey.

I have a dear friend whose daughter is transitioning — starting in high school. When I heard Obama’s courageous edict, all I could think about is what it would have been like if this girl had to use the boys’ bathroom in high school.
Recommended 2 times
May 16 · 09:14:21 AM

Overall good article, but I can’t let the use of “council” when the author meant “counsel” pass….
Recommended 1 time
May 17 · 08:27:11 AM

WEBER: “I think we can do things the way we’ve done them for decades, and people could use bathrooms according to biological sex with specific accommodation made for people who have a genuine issue.”

Let’s see, how many things can we find wrong with this statement? First, that is NOT how things have been done in the past. Transgender men go to the men’s room and transgender women go to the women’s room.

Second, …decades? Does Weber think that transgender citizens didn’t exist prior to the 20th century?

And finally, can it be made ANY more obvious that that Weber thinks being transgender is NOT a “genuine issue”?
seab ChescoRes
May 17 · 10:30:41 AM

Maybe where Weber is from there wasn’t indoor plumbing till a few decades ago…
May 17 · 08:31:03 AM

I’m sick of hearing ”Do you want your little girl to go into the bathroom where a man may be”! This has nothing to do with transgender people & everything to do with ignorance fueled by hyperbole causing irrational fear. Who are these parents that let their small children go into a public bathroom alone anyway?

I never let my sons or daughter go into public bathroom unsupervised! When my sons were little I took them into the women’s bathroom with me or they went with their dad. When they were older, & their dad was not along, I let them go into the men’s bathroom but I stood right at the door and if it was taking longer than expected I would open the door and ask if they were ok.

Geeze, either let people go to the bathroom they identify with, like they have been doing for years, or make all public toilets be small individual rooms, with only toilets, that are lined up next to each other with the doors facing a hallway. The sinks can be in the hall where everyone can see. That way everyone has a private safe place to use the bathroom & wash their hands.

I prefer the latter only because who wouldn’t prefer toileting in private? That would also greatly decrease kids getting bullied & beat up in school too. It’s a win, win!
Drew S
May 17 · 09:02:29 AM

So let me speak from the experience of being a transgender woman that has to go to the restroom from time to time and is approaching her 50th birthday. There is usually just one thing on my mind, I have to pee. That’s it. Maybe a mirror to make sure I didn’t put lipstick on crooked, but that’s it. I want to pee, wash my hands and get the out. I don’t want to look at other people and I could care less about anyone while I am doing my business. That’s it. I just want to pee.

Matthews is spot on. Where would you like me to go. Should I in a skirt, just hike it up and piss at the urinal? Tell me guys, would you enjoy that? Many of you have a tough enough time peeing at a urinal anyway.

I just have to pee. I’m almost 50 and I have a 50 year old bladder. You cannot get more basic or fundamentally human than having to eliminate waste from your own body. The right wing “true believers” (and I will not call them Republicans because its an insult to genuine Republicans), are terrified of me? Hilarious. I just want to pee.
May 17 · 09:37:01 AM

So the anti-bunch are now pushing special accommodations. Saw a cartoon to the effect: “Those that object to the policy of self determination can please avail themselves of the single hole port-a-pot conveniently located out back on the loading dock’
May 17 · 09:42:19 AM

I work pro bono in family court and the foster system and have for over a decade.

Kids in the system know real abuse and who is in a public rest room is low on the list unless that person is clergy, judge, LEO, politician, yes even a judge or a CPS worker. Transgender individuals are not on their radar for good reason.
May 17 · 09:48:33 AM

This made my day. Matthews put a clear spotlight on these people — they’re full of nothing but hateful fluff. Everyone knows this is a non-issue, a smoke screen cooked up by fundies as a way to vent their bigotry and hate.

It makes me sad that this is an issue we even have to debate, that this kind of stupidity and hatred even has a voice.
May 17 · 10:13:26 AM
Having seen some transgender men and women I’ve been wondering if the North Carolina Legislature provided funding for Rest Room Monitors to check the birth certificates of people before they enter a rest room?
May 17 · 10:16:05 AM

I love it when Chris Matthews asks a concise question that gets to the heart of the matter, and then the interviewee struggles to find a carefully memorized talking point that might contain an answer.
May 17 · 10:36:49 AM

The NC bill was never about LBGT or bathrooms. The bill is really about protecting the monied interests against municipalities raising the minimum wage or granting employment and housing protections. It stops municipalities in NC from doing either. NC residents must now file a federal suit if they are the victim of discrimination – they have no recourse at the state level. They just put the bathroom part in there to pander and misdirect.
Wayne Johnson
May 17 · 11:02:13 AM

I wish Chris Matthews would get ahold of Trump and grill him the same way, insist the man answer questions without the distracting bull shit and if Trump won’t answer, embarrass him by declaring that he can’t or won’t answer… or did Trump the Manbaby refuse to be interviewed by Matthews because he would be mean to Herr WimpTrump
May 17 · 11:04:05 AM

Unisex every potty and do so retroactively.
May 17 · 11:22:52 AM

The Bible Bangers are a very sick bunch.
May 17 · 11:26:16 AM

The other appropriate question is; what have we done in the past or what laws do we currently have to protect our privacy from people like former Speaker Dennis Hastert in the men’s room?
May 17 · 11:36:03 AM

Some of the “reasons” for this stupid legislation would be funny if the people putting them out had a sense of humor.

The latest one that gets me is, “Well, what if a man decides that he’s a female that day?” Folks, I’ve met some really, REALLY stupid men during my lifetime — a lot of ‘em! — but even the stupidest guy I’ve observed isn’t THAT dumb. And that’s a good thing, because a moron of that caliber would most likely get his butt kicked beyond recognition.

And what has this pointless bickering accomplished? It’s resulted in women getting kicked out of women’s bathrooms because “she looked like a man.” We’ve gotten YouTube videos of guys posturing outside of bathrooms with their “You better not go anywhere near my little girl …” rhetoric. In the meantime, Congress can’t get their act together about appropriating funds to fight the Zika virus — choosing to focus their energies on a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.
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