There is a parallel to that, I believe, in the struggle for LGBT equality.
Now it is legal for same-sex couples to marry in 36 of the 50 US states and the District of Columbia. People who, not long ago wouldn't be caught dead uttering the word "gay"--let alone "lesbian" or "transsexual" (most didn't know the word "transgender"--are now speaking up in support of gay family members, co-workers and neighbors. I know, personally, two people who beleived that "the lifestyle" is against their religious beliefs and are now advocating for the rights of LGBT people. One has even become a counselor to them--and to parents who face the same struggle she had when her daughter "came out".
According to every recent poll, the majority of Americans think that there should be no legal bars against same-sex marriage and that lesbians and gay men should be protected under civil rights laws. Expressing hate against gays is taboo in many quarters; in others, people simply wonder whether the hater hasn't got better things to do and more important things to think about.
What this means--in keeping with Newton's Law, as it were--is that the remaining homophobes are becoming more virulent in their hatred or simply more ludicrous in their expression of it. For example, there are lawmakers--like one from Texas (who looks like she's having a fantasy or two involving Rick Santorum)--who want the "right" to refuse to do business with or employ, or other wise discriminate against, LGBT people. Why? They believe that anti-discrimination laws somehow infringe upon their right to religious freedom.
That argument's absurdity is equaled only by its lack of originality: It was used as a rationale for racial segregation and slavery itself. Oh, yeah, and discrimination against women, too, which makes it all the more ironic that it's being used by women.
The good news is that where laws like the one Donna Campbell has proposed in Texas have been put to the vote, they've failed--even in states like Kansas, which is about as conservative and Republican as they come. That tells me that even those who don't care much about LGBT equality can see how ridiculous and just plain wrong (I doubt that even Antonin Scalia thinks it's constitutional!) it is.
What that means is that Campbell and her ilk will just become even more illogical and delusional until the campaign funds dry up. Then they'll give up or get voted out of office.
Even when that happens, though, we'll have another reaction to contend with. You see, the non-officeholders who've been fighting against same-sex marriage and LGBT equality--I'm talking now about groups like Focus on the Family and American Family Association (It's always about protecting "family", right?)--are turning their hatred, I mean attention, toward transgender people. And they will fight us with the same virulence and belligerence they used against lesbians and gays.
The bad news is that as our lives and struggles become more familiar to more people, those groups will become more truculent and, possibly, violent. The good news is that it will last only for so long. But we have to be prepared in the meantime--and to keep our allies close to us.