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What’s the real reason Jeff Sessions is helping with a trans hate crime prosecution?

What’s the real reason Jeff Sessions is helping with a trans hate crime prosecution?
Jeff Sessions, a staunch opponent of LGBT rights, was one of the first prominent supporters of Donald Trump.Photo: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

While there’s been quite a bit of digital ink spilled about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to assist in the prosecution of a man charged with murdering a transgender teenager last year, his motivations haven’t been clear.

While Sessions said in June that he would “protect the rights of all transgender people,” under his leadership, the Justice Department has argued that employers should be able to fire people for being gayas well as for being transgender. It has also rolled back protections for transgender students, and is giving cover to those who wish to discriminate against the LGBTQ community, so long as they use their religious beliefs as the stated reason.

Sessions’ previous history has caused LGBTQ organizations to claim his intervention is simply a publicity stunt to burnish his image as a civil rights protector.

“[I]t is the height of cynicism for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to use this – frankly rare – instance of civil rights enforcement under his tenure to deflect from the current department’s sustained opposition to its historic mission,” Lambda Legal said in an emailed statement. “No one in the Trump administration has done more to harm LGBT people, and especially transgender people, than Jeff Sessions – and in a government chock full of anti-LGBT appointees, that is saying a lot.’

“For Sessions now to seek credit for helping prosecute hate crimes against transgender people is akin to him handing out gasoline and matches and then looking for a pat on the back when he prosecutes someone for committing arson.”

Buzzfeed reporter Dominic Holden, however, has a different view of why Sessions is inserting himself into the case. Holden’s extended Twitter clapback to the uproar is the most credible explanation yet and worthy of serious attention.

Sessions doesn’t care about LGBTQ civil rights, he explains. Instead, he lays out the case that Sessions is adamant about prosecuting violent crimes and he’ll use every tool at his disposal to send people to prison – including the hate crimes law he voted against as a Senator.

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