What’s the opposite of a coveted endorsement? To some, it’s Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor “Space Laser” Greene tweeting at you to say thank you for your cable-TV monologue. But maybe Bill Maher, who earlier this week received this exact cursed endorsement from Greene, welcomed it. After all, he may identify as a liberal, but he prides himself on just asking questions (a lot of which sound suspiciously like GOP talking points). Last Friday, on his HBO show, Real Time With Bill Maher, he was questioning whether LGBTQ kids really are, you know, LGBTQ: “Yes, part of the rise in LGBT numbers is from people feeling free enough to tell it to a pollster, and that’s all to the good,” he said, “but some of it is—it's trendy."

Greene endorsed this message because the GOP is desperate to drag trans kids into their wider culture war, even though only a fraction of them are undergoing gender-affirming surgery or hormone therapy, and evidence shows that “access to gender-affirming care is associated with better mental health outcomes—and that lack of access to such care is associated with higher rates of suicidality, depression and self-harming behavior,” according to Scientific American. In a January 2017 report, UCLA’s Williams Institute estimated that 0.7 percent of U.S. kids ages 13 to 17—about 150,000 children—identified as transgender.

To read the rest, subscribe to The Atlantic.

Already a subscriber? Sign in