In a Tuesday night segment on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, the oft-controversial Colorado state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs) serves as the face of opposition to policies that would normalize transgendered people in society.
The segment, delivered by Jessica Williams, juxtaposes Klingenschmitt’s views with those of a panel of transgender people.
The focus of the piece is on state laws dealing with religious freedom and sexual identity, in particular bills like the one passed recently in North Carolina, which is designed to have transgender people use the restroom matching the gender on their birth certificates rather than the restroom they feel most comfortable using.
“They [transgender people] not only want to be confused about their own identity, but they want the rest of us to be confused with them,” Klingenschmitt tells Williams in a sit-down interview. “Now they want the government to join them in that pretense? They’re making us into liars.”
The piece features several transgender people disputing the notion that their gender identity is a choice, and listing a litany of struggles and offensive remarks they’ve experienced as a result of who they are.
The piece features several clips of Klingenschmitt speaking on his satellite and Internet religious TV show, expressing fears of who might end up in which public bathroom under various policies and opining that a “demonic spirit” is responsible for some gender identities.
After calling an attack on a pregnant woman in Longmont “the curse of God” last year, the former Navy chaplain was removed from a House committee assignment by his peers. He suspended his show for the duration of last year’s legislative session.
Nevertheless, Klingenschmitt plans to advance his career in politics. He’s currently running to be a state Senator in a GOP primary against former state Rep. Bob Gardner.
Ever since being elected to the state House of Representatives, Klingenschmitt has attempted to keep his life as a television preacher and state lawmaker separate, a fact that Williams makes light of in the Daily Show segment.
At one point, Klingenschmitt tells Williams he needs to “change into my alter ego,” in order to discuss gender identity.
“Who are you,” quips Williams. “Lady Gaga?"
The segment then shows a timelapse of Klingenschmitt changing out of his suit with his state lawmaker’s name badge and into clergy robes, while Williams points out that he is changing his own identity to feel more comfortable in the interview. Klingenschmitt then proceeds to read bible quotes from a smartphone.
Later in the segment, Williams asks Klingenschmitt whether he associates being transgender with being a pervert.
“That is perversion,” Klingenschmitt said in an interview with Williams. “It’s people who label themselves as transgender for the purpose of getting that access to violate the rights of others.”