The American anti-trans propaganda seems to be working, according to David Byler of the Washington Post. Here are some reflections on why it is working and what to do about it.
The transphobic shift is significant among right wing American Christians. That is not surprising, given all the propaganda. Byler does not look at Liberal voters, though, which makes the parallel turn towards more tolerance of LGBT-people all but invisible in his article.
“Sixty percent of American adults reported last summer that they oppose including options other than ‘male’ and ‘female’ on government documents. Fifty eight percent favor requiring transgender athletes to compete on teams that match their sex at birth.
“Forty one percent say transgender individuals should be required to use the bathroom corresponding to their sex at birth (31 percent disagree and 28 percent don’t have a position). And Americans are roughly evenly split on whether public elementary schools should teach about gender identity.”
The fear of the unknown
In times of uncertainty many look for predictability and safety in tradition. Traditional gender roles give some straigth/cis people a sense of belonging, purpose and order, and trans people represent a threat to this order.
Trans people become the threatening «Other», the «Unamerican Aliens», like people of color, Jews and gay people before them. As seen in this American antisemitic cartoon from 1890, the idea of dangerous social contamination is not a new one.
Exclude and dehumanize
Gay people have become more accepted, though. It is harder to «other» them. Their increasing visibilty have humanized them in the eyes of the cis/het majority. Trans people have not reached this stage of liberation, however.
Indeed, the increasing persecution makes it less likely for trans people to come out, and fewer and fewer are willing to be interviewed. This means that fewer will see trans people as real people. This is what the transphobes want to achieve: Total cultural erasure.
The next step: Going after the LGB
Charles M. Blow presents the next step in their strategy in an article in the New York Times:
Chris Rufo, the man who orchestrated the attack on critical race theory, underscored a new focus earlier this month.
“Conservatives must move the fight from ideology to bureaucracy,” he tweeted. “We’ve won the debate against CRT; now it’s time to dismantle DEI.”
D.E.I. stands for diversity, equity and inclusion, a concept that goes far beyond just the racial prism of critical race theory, and moves into the worlds of ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, age and class.
So gay people are not safe either.
It is clear that the Republicans will attack all people that do not live up to their own ideas of «normal» and «God given» sexuality and gender. The recent attacks against the educational system is only the beginning.
Supremacy before democracy
The Republicans know that increasingly progressive ideas among young Americans may end their influence in American politics. This is seen as an existential threat for American conservatives. (Which it is.)
This is why right wingers use scare tactics and scapegoating, gerrymandering and legislation to make it impossible for others to make America a better place for all. They only real Americans are Christian, conservative, white, cis and straight. America is theirs to own.
You could say that the American Civil War never ended.
Liberals, moderates and sane conservatives have to realize that the war against trans people is a sign of a broader war against American democracy, justice and the hope of a better world.
No ideas about a better future
The Republicans present no new ideas about a better future these days. The only thing they have left is an imaginary and sanitized past that never existed. This fantasy lets them continue destroying the lives of those they do not like, and without feeling remorse.
In the 1930’s Germany was lost to fascism because conservatives thought they could control the Beast, and the left was too divided to beat it.
It is important for all good people to understand the threat, take it seriously and build effective alliances.
The right wing war against trans people proves that this is a about values. They attack trans people because transgender inclusion has become one of the most important signs of a compassionate, just and fair society.
If trans people win, society wins.
Keep on fighting!
Top photo: Vanessa Nunes