Republican culture warriors keep getting more extreme in the vast swath of people and things they want to punish and drive out of public life or boycott, but … the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? This feels like a reach—even by recent standards.
There’s a lot to take in here.
Those more than 16,000 petition signatures were gathered by a group called One Million Moms, which makes 16,000 sound particularly underwhelming. Like, if there are a million of them, they should be able to collect at least 100,000 signatures without breaking a sweat, right?
And that “non-binary and transgender extravaganza”? They have two entire examples of nonbinary performers in the parade: Justin David Sullivan of “&Juliet” and Alex Newell of “Shucked,” which are current Broadway musicals. Two years ago, pop singer Kim Petras performed, “becoming the first transgender celebrity to perform during this once family-friendly holiday tradition,” according to the petition. Yes, a woman standing on a float doing a poor job of lip-syncing a generic pop song single-handedly ended the Thanksgiving parade’s family-friendly status not only the year the performance happened, but eternally. And this year, those two nonbinary Broadway performers somehow turn the parade into a “non-binary and transgender extravaganza.”
The parade will include “16 featured character balloons, 26 fantastic floats, 32 heritage and novelty balloons, more than 700 clowns, 12 marching bands and nine performance groups.” Sullivan and Newell will be part of two of the five Broadway productions included. Oh, but there’s more:
Throughout the streets of New York City and on-board Macy’s signature floating stages will be exhilarating performances from artists including Bell Biv DeVoe; Brandy; Chicago; En Vogue; ENHYPEN; David Foster and Katharine McPhee; Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors; Jessie James Decker; Ashley Park with the cast and Muppets of Sesame Street®; Pentatonix; Paul Russell; Amanda Shaw and Alex Smith; and Manuel Turizo. U.S. Olympic Silver Medalist Jordan Chiles (Gymnastics), U.S. Paralympian Ezra Frech (Track and Field), U.S. Paralympic Gold Medalist Jessica Long (Swimming) and Miss America 2023 Grace Stanke will also join the festivities.
Throw two out nonbinary people into that extremely large mix, though, and apparently it’s a trans extravaganza. How closely would you have to be watching to even pick those performers out of the onslaught of performances?
But of course the right-wing rage isn’t about their actual performances. It’s about the fact that trans and nonbinary people are able to succeed in our culture. That they are allowed to be visible on the biggest platforms. That even in the face of ongoing discrimination, some trans and nonbinary people’s talent breaks through to Broadway or the Billboard charts or the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. That is at the core of the rage that led One Million Moms to come up with a petition and 16,000 people to sign it. To most people, though, that kind of hatred is ugly and alienating.
Just one word explains why Democrats had such a massive election night on Tuesday: abortion. On the newest episode of The Downballot, co-hosts David Nir and David Beard recap all the top races through the lens of reproductive rights, which continue to motivate Democrats and even win over a key swath of Republican voters. Nowhere was that more evident than in Ohio, which voted to enshrine the right to an abortion into the state constitution by a double-digit margin, despite countless GOP attempts to derail the effort.