“So, Bill Maher’s definitely emceeing President DeSantis’s first WHCD dinner?” asked Patrick Ruffini after watching this clip from last night’s “Real Time” show.
Of course not, silly. President DeSantis wouldn’t dream of attending the WHCD.
The segment below demonstrates what an unusual niche Maher has carved out for himself on American television. Outside of Fox News, you won’t hear liberal orthodoxy on LGBT matters challenged this way. His jumping-off point is the data I wrote about a few months ago showing that the share of Americans who identify as gay, bisexual, or trans is way, way up in younger generations — but not uniformly across those three.
The great LGBT awakening is mostly a bisexual awakening, and mostly among women at that. Still, the share of Zoomers who claim some form of alternative sexuality exceeds that of their elders in every category. And the gap in trans identification is especially large — 20 times as many Zoomers as Boomers, whereas the share that identifies as gay or lesbian is only two or three times as large. Is some of that gap due to Boomers having faced a vastly stronger social taboo against transgenderism in their formative years? No doubt. There must be senior citizens walking around who have quietly felt trans for years but wouldn’t dare ever acknowledge or act on it. Case in point:
did left handedness become trendy or did we stop punishing left handed people for being left handed pic.twitter.com/SOWJebMYwn
— Seth Trueger (@MDaware) May 21, 2022
Liberals are indignant today that Maher would suggest anyone might identify as trans because it’s “trendy,” which is a glib term to use in this context. There are easier ways to be hip than switching genders, right? But kids and young adults are less likely to have fully formed identities and therefore are probably more likely to experiment with alternative ones if they see those identities celebrated. The more culturally visible trans people are, the more trans rights become a liberal cause celebre, the more we’d expect kids to “try on” that identity out of curiosity. And not always with happy results.
The other thing that makes Maher’s media niche interesting is that as he veers further right on certain issues, he continues to evince disgust towards the GOP on others. Usually when someone in the media, uh, transitions from left to right or vice versa, they quickly sound indistinguishable from rank-and-file partisans on their new side. “Zeal of a convert” and all that. Maher remains quite distinguishable from garden-variety Republicans, though. Another snippet from last night’s show:
You mentioned J.D. Vance. He says, “If you wanted to kill a bunch of MAGA voters, how better to target them and their kids than with deadly fentanyl? … It does look intentional.” So he’s saying the Democrats are intentionally poisoning people with fentanyl. Elise Stefanik, she’s number three Republican, former normal person. She had a statement on Twitter that started, ‘The White House, House Dems, and usual pedo grifters.’ Pedo. So, it’s like routine to call the Dem–I’m sorry but the Republicans are talking like Nazis. I know we’re not supposed to make the Nazi comparison, but when you’re pedophiles and when you’re scum, when you’re the enemies of America, when people are trying to replace you, this is Nazi kind of talk.
The subject of Elon Musk’s swing to the right also came up on the program. “Elon Musk this week — I’m a big fan in many ways, but when he says, ‘Now I’m going to vote Republican,’ I’ve got to part company there. C’mon, Elon,” Maher said. He won’t support a party that “doesn’t believe in the emergency of climate change or democracy.”
He’s a centrist Democrat. But he sounds Republican on this subject because uttering a discouraging word about anything trans-related is a grave affront to modern liberalism, even when it pertains to kids.