Justice

This 'Liberal Redneck' Brilliantly Shuts down Trans Bathroom Opponents in Their Native Language

Trae Crowder, a comedian who performs as "The Liberal Redneck," is more than a little "fired up" about anti-transgender bathroom bills.

Crowder — a 30-year-old Knoxville-based comic, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel — posted a video on YouTube last week mocking outraged Facebook posts about transgender women using public women's restrooms. In the video (which has been viewed over 14,000 times on YouTube and earned over 200,000 notes on Tumblr at the time of writing) Crowder bemoaned Facebook posts alleging that transgender people are a threat to women and female children, and he said that all the posts asserted basically the same panicked sentiment.

Since there have been zero cases of transgender women assaulting women or children in bathrooms, according to Mic, many people believe bathroom bills like North Carolina's House Bill 2 are simply a way to promote discrimination under the guise of protecting children. "It don't make no sense," Crowder satirically pointed out. He also alleged that those in favor bathroom bills weren't actually concerned with sexual violence, but instead were simply expressing bigoted views about transgender people.

"You're freaked out, the thought of a man wantin' to be a woman disgusts you … because you lack the capacity to understand it," he said.

Crowder added that even sexual predators wouldn't be foolish enough to seek out victims in broad daylight "with their mouth-breathin' troglodyte daddy 12 feet outside the door just dyin' to punch somethin' different." He also asserts in the video that if pedophilia was really the concern, Catholic priests — who have been caught sexually abusing children numerous times in recent news — should be banned for using public bathrooms.

The reaction.

Crowder, who has been "a lifelong advocate for LGBT rights" and voted for Obama twice, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel, has reportedly received an outpouring of positive feedback from transgender people and members of the LGBT community.

"Over 90 percent of what I've gotten has been positive," he told ATTN: over the phone.

Many of the positive messages were "from people in LGBT community saying 'I don't even know we had people like you in our corner, and that's really nice to know,' or 'I really appreciate you standing up for us down there, with people that aren't typically our biggest allies,'" he explained.

Crowder received numerous supportive messages from parents of LGBT children.

"I got this one [message] from the mother of an LGBT teenager, and in it she said they have an LGBT group at her kid's highschool, and they showed the video in there and a lot of the teens were crying and stuff," he said. Crowder read from the message, which stated, "Many of them now watch your video to give them strength to walk out the door and face the world, your words have given them hope."

Other liberal Southerners also appreciated his video.

"Then, the other camp has been people saying, 'hey man, I’m a blue dot in this red sea too, I'm a liberal born and raised in the South my whole life or whatever else, and I just appreciate you letting people know that we exist,'" he told ATTN:.

But Crowder also told ATTN: that he has been accused of being a phony Southerner, by both non-Southern liberals and fellow-Southerners.

"It's so weird. There’s been a lot of people accusing me of being a phony," he told ATTN:. "What's weird is that those people are also broken into two camps, and they could not possibly be more polar opposites from each other. There's been rednecks who are saying ‘you aint no redneck, you can't be a redneck because no redneck loves queers, so you’re full of shit.' On the complete opposite end, it’s super liberal people."

Crowder explained, "I have also gotten some messages from people that literally refuse to believe I am actually Southern because they genuinely think that someone with a Southern accent or 'redneck' literally cannot be open minded or progressive, that they are all racist or homophobic or whatever."

“It’s so funny to me that those two groups of people have united in their dislike for me," he said.

Is Crowder's video fair to Southerners?

Crowder's video plays on stereotypes about rural, low-income, white Southerners, and characterizes them with an unflattering and rather inflammatory stereotype — asserting that they beat the very same children they allegedly want to protect from transgender people with wire hangers, while watching Dr. Oz.

It's true that many white, working class voters are socially conservative Republicans. This group increasingly fled the Democratic party in the second half of the twentieth century, which many people believe is due to their aversion to "smug" liberal ideology and elitism, Vox pointed out.

"Despite historic advantages with both poor and middle-class white voters, by 2012 Democrats possessed only a 2-point advantage among poor white voters. Among white voters making between $30,000 and $75,000 per year, the GOP has taken a 17-point lead," Vox editor Emmett Rensin wrote.

But Crowder has implied that he doesn't mean to slam Southerners so much as "give them a taste of their own medicine," by reducing them to similarly ridiculous stereotypes, the way some conservative Southerners invoke stereotypes to describe the LGBT community.

The comic explained:

"I see a lot of the more stereotypical rednecks — in videos or in written posts on Facebook — who have no problem with just being completely in your face and aggressive and not holding anything back and saying just horrible things, really hateful things. But they're like 'I've got a right to believe that, that's what I believe. What happened to free speech? I'm just speakin' my beliefs. Ain't nothin wrong with that.' They hide behind that kind of thing, and think that makes it okay to say a bunch of really hateful shit. So what I was trying to do was kind of parody or satirize that, acting the exact same way that they act — very aggressive, in your face, like 'I don't give a damn what you think about it' — but saying things that they don’t agree with."

Crowder told ATTN: that he believed Southerners often bought into anti-LGBT views to feel better about their own moral shortcomings.

"As long as they have that at the top of the pyramid of things that Jesus doesn’t like, it makes them feel better about all the sinning and shit that they do, but that's that’s just my half assed theory on it," he explained.

Since North Carolina passed HB2, many companies and celebrities have boycotted the state and spoken out against the bill.

You can watch his full viral video below, and on Youtube.

Update 4/26/2016, 9:45 p.m. PST: This piece was updated with quotes from Crowder.