Last week the New York Times, proving its social liberal bona fides, crowned North Carolina as the home of bathroom bigotry against transgenders. On Friday, it was Indiana’s new abortion restrictions that were up for vulgar mockery. Yet the same day, the Times also showed how to sell people on transgenderism, door to door.
Reporter Mitch Smith celebrated feminist activism in the form of a rain of coordinated hostile tweets sent to Indiana’s Republican governor Mike Pence after he signed pro-life legislation: “Women Irked by Abortion Law Make Governor the Butt of Social Media Ridicule.”
One woman invited Gov. Mike Pence to her gynecologist appointment. Another provided an update on her cramps. Another tweeted that she had just changed her tampon.
The social media missives directed to Indiana’s governor this week have been frequent, pointed and unyielding in their descriptions of female physiology. They are part of an unusual campaign on Facebook and Twitter to express outrage at a law that Mr. Pence, a Republican, signed last month that created several new restrictions on abortions.
The protesters often post with the hashtag #periodsforpence and mix anatomical details with a touch of humor.
The online version article included some loving reposts of some of those tweets, including one from a Planned Parenthood affiliate and this priceless bit of pro-abortion wit from a professor at Indiana University at South Bend.
@PeriodsforPence: Perimenopausal bleeding happening now in South Bend. Some heavy flow, I tell you, Pence. Thanks so much for your concern!
The law, which also includes a ban on abortions motivated solely by gender, race or disability, made Indiana’s abortion rules among the country’s most restrictive, and led to scathing critiques of Mr. Pence, who said last month that he signed the bill “with a prayer.”
The Facebook page, Periods for Pence, started late last month, features a grimacing photo of Mr. Pence and a request that women call the governor’s office to “report our periods.”
“You should really let him know, since he’s so concerned,” says an early post from the page’s anonymous creator, who identifies herself only as an Indiana woman. “It will only take a few minutes of your day, but it lets them face an undue and unjust burden, for a change!”
Smith emphasized Pence’s previous social conservative stands, in an evident attempt to discourage other governors:
This storm of Twitter and Facebook posts comes just over a year after Mr. Pence faced criticism for signing a law that many believed would have allowed religious conservatives to deny services to gay people.
With businesses threatening to boycott the state over that issue and protests both on Twitter and at the Capitol, lawmakers regrouped and changed the law to specify that it did not allow discrimination based on sexual orientation.
That episode was particularly damaging to Mr. Pence, who had been discussed as a possible presidential candidate but who managed to infuriate both political opponents and members of his own party with his handling of the bill.
While the Times discourages conservative social activism, it went out of its way on Friday to promote the liberal variety, doing some public relations for activists who literally went door to door to sell transgenderism in reporter Benedict Carey's “Study Sees a Way to Shift Views on Transgender Rights.”
Door-to-door political canvassers can soften the attitudes of some voters who are resistant to transgender rights by prompting them to reflect on their own experiences of being treated differently, researchers reported on Thursday.
The study, published by the journal Science, is a follow-up of a widely covered 2014 report that had a similar conclusion but was subsequently retracted. That paper, also published in Science, found that canvassers could reduce some opposition to same-sex marriage but only if the canvassers were gay.
A total of 1,825 voters took an online survey of their views, in which questions about transgender people were embedded among queries on other issues. The researchers randomly assigned half this group to receive either the “treatment” -- the conversation about transgender rights -- or a “placebo,” a conversation about recycling. And the researchers randomly assigned territories to canvassers who identified themselves as transgender, or nontransgender.
Analyzing those answers, Dr. Broockman and Mr. Kalla found that the views of about one in 10 of the voters canvassed on transgender issues had shifted in favor of equal rights -- by an average of about 10 points on one measure, called the “feelings thermometer.” Ten points on that scale is roughly the amount that the American public shifted in its views on gay rights between 1998 and 2012, a period when eight states legalized same-sex marriage.
The finding is a validation of the Los Angeles L.G.B.T. Center’s work, which it calls deep canvassing. The center had commissioned the first study in 2014 to see whether its door-to-door work to build support for gay marriage in Southern California was getting traction. That by itself made it a somewhat novel project, in that political activists rarely engage academic researchers to do controlled studies -- or vice versa.
Carey is not so sympathetic to conservative activism; in 2010 during the Tea Party uprising, he wrote an article about right-wing anger that included photos of both Tea Party marchers and The Weathermen, a domestic terrorist organization from the 1960s, with the caption “Varying Degrees of Rage.”