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By Brynn Tannehill | FAIRFAX COUNTY, Virginia – LGBTQ + leaders, the public, media and Democratic officials need to consider what the self-proclaimed “Gender Critical” movement is (that is, TERF, or “Trans-Exclusionary Radical”). Feminist).
This is not a bunch of people who just have “reasonable concerns” or who just think the trans movement has gone a bit too far. It is a movement inextricably linked to both the religious right and the neofascist far right. They share the belief that the optimal number of transgender people is zero and are prepared to use both the power of government and participatory harassment to achieve this goal.
This has always been their goal. In Janice Raymond’s book “The Transsexual Empire” she said that “the problem of transsexualism would be better served by making it morally non-existent” by eliminating the medical and legal systems supporting trans people.
In recent years, the most important document outlining the platform of the movement has been the Declaration on the Gender-Based Rights of Women. He calls for the same policies as Raymond: end legal recognition of trans identities and their legal recognition as a class. He argues that the legal existence of trans people as a class discriminates against women and against rights recognized by the UN. Likewise, he argues that all medical procedures related to the transition are part of “gender identity”, which they see as inherently contrary to women’s rights, and therefore should be banned. The only right for trans people that the document lists is that people should be able to dress as they wish.
It is not a marginal document. The signatories are a list of anti-trans activists in the US and UK, including Kathleen Stock, Kate Harris, Julia Beck, Ann Sinnot, Kara Dansky, Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, Jennifer Bilek, Maya Forstater and Stephanie Davies. -Arai. Sinnot founded the LGB Alliance, Stock is a member of the board of directors and Harris is the executive director. Thus, the positions taken by the Declaration are firmly at the center of the anti-trans movement and not a fringe that can be easily dismissed as such.
These listed policy goals are almost identical to those listed by the Family Research Council (a powerful anti-LGBTQ + hate group) in a 2015 white paper. The FRC manifesto on trans people also called for an end to all legal recognition of transgender identities, to all legal protections for them as a class, and to severely limit their access to medical care related to the transition. The FRC’s interpretation of “sex” and “gender” is almost identical to that of the Declaration. Another conservative internal Project Blitz policy document identifies “transgender” as a communicable risk to public health, which the government has the duty and the right to eradicate by all available legal means.
Then there is the violent far right which has increasingly targeted transgender people in recent years. Media figures who serve as a gateway to the violent far right (like Tucker Carlson, Ben Shapiro and Charlie Kirk) have increasingly told their audiences that trans people pose an existential threat to US national security, western civilization and the perpetuation of species. Gavin McInnes, founder of the far-right Proud Boys militia which was involved in the January 6 attackse the insurgency, warned his supporters that “We need more violence from Trump supporters. Choke a bitch. Smother a tranny. Wrap your fingers around the windpipe. Take a gun.
History provides evidence that, if the opportunity presented itself, the American right would accept a “soft” eradication of LGBTQ + people. When AIDS was killing gays at a frightening rate in the ’80s and’ 90s, they refused to do anything because they saw it as a solution to a problem, God’s rightful revenge on the wicked. Right-wing radio hosts who paved the way for Shapiro and Carlson gleefully read obituaries of dead gay men, while playing Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” in the background.
Thus, no one should doubt that the religious and neo-fascist right also believes that the optimal number of trans people is zero, and that the government and concerned citizens should do all they can to help achieve this goal.
There is a long history of collaboration between old-fashioned genre critics and the religious right. Lierre Keith of Deep Green Resistance is a signatory to the declaration. She was also an anti-pornography activist in the 1980s who sided with the religious right at the time, like many others.
Coordination between these three factions on trans people has increased. The LGB Alliance (an anti-trans group that claims to deal with LGBTQ + issues, but only lobbies against trans people) recently held a conference in London. American writer Andy Ngo was in attendance and had a press pass for the event. For those unfamiliar with Ngo’s work, he primarily provides glowing Proud Boys coverage to far-right media like the Post-millennium, serving as a sort of Wal * Mart Leni Riefenstahl to necks trying to join the Sturmabteilung 75 years too late.
CGs may claim they are opposed to discrimination against trans people, but that is literally part of their demands. One of the current legal hotspots is religious law and CGs claim they have a protected right to gender abuse their students and colleagues. Also, when a group of people is not recognizable as a class under the law (because the declaration treats sex as an unalterable binary, and gender as a concept that discriminates against women, and isolated use of the word transgender in frightening quotes), it is almost impossible to protect them from discrimination by private or public entities. At the same time, GC leaders more or less encourage people to harass trans people for existing.
GC leaders also say they oppose violence against transgender people. However, the neo-fascist right they joined is all for it. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, Family Policy Alliance and FRC, once lamented to his audience that America needs more real men to shoot trans people who use the wrong bathroom.
Kathleen Stock, while defending the ban on trans people on the toilet, conceded that while some cisgender women would be “badly sexed” trying to use the toilet, it was simply an “unfortunate cost” for it. the greater good of women. What Stock tacitly acknowledges is that there are inevitably consequences if a person is perceived to be using the wrong bathroom. This includes potential arrests, strip searches, violent beatings, sexual assault and battery, and (as James Dobson suggested is appropriate), death. It is implausible to suggest that she believes it always ends with the arrival of the police and the departure of the individual. Instead, the inevitable violence is only a necessary evil for the greater good.
If all of their wishes come true, everyday life for transgender people becomes almost impossible unless they never leave their homes. They will not be able to obtain precise official identification. They will not be able to use the public washrooms except for those few unisex marked at one stall, and they will not be able to get medical treatment related to the transition. Going to work or school will be impossible: no toilet that you can use regularly, and always a teacher, student or colleague exercising their right to laugh at you and humiliate you. Violence against trans people will continue to escalate as they are demonized and transformed in a terrorist campaign of stochastic violence that the police do nothing to prevent.
As a result, trans people who are in the closet are strongly constrained to stay there. Those who are already out and made the transition will need to consider leaving the country, as some have already done in Hungary and the UK. When you commit cultural genocide, you don’t have to kill people; just making life so miserable that they run away or go underground is enough.
We can already see this kind of thing happening all over the world. In Hungary, which US conservatives present as an example of how to wage culture wars, women and gender studies programs have been banned, as has the recognition of trans and intersex people as classifying and modifying gender markers on government documents. In the UK, a person who makes an appointment today to see a gender clinic for an admission appointment can expect to wait around 1,296 years before being seen, which is equivalent to a ban on medical treatment. In Russia, Vladimir Putin (whom the religious right also loves) has called the acceptance of trans people a “crime against humanity”, while LGBT people in the country are beaten with impunity by street thugs who support Putin’s moral order.
These scenarios arrive as a freight train for trans people in the United States. The Republican Party has been radicalized and consumed by people doing their best to make us look more like Russia and Hungary. GOP think tanks like the Claremont Institute openly state that they will take power for generations to get rid of things like “transgender”. In an America that has turned great again, there may be little room for trans people when they have been demonized as the epitome of all that is wrong in a pluralistic society.
We need to stop pretending that there are two equally valid sides to this. It’s not about trans people versus women with “legitimate concerns”. It was the trans people against an alliance of well-funded religious authorities worthy of the Republic of Gilead, neo-fascist henchmen in search of their free brown shirts, and the overt “liberals” who decided that these movements were theirs. golden ticket to a world with far fewer trans (out) people.
Brynn Tannehill is a senior analyst at a Washington DC area think tank and is the author of “American Fascism: How the GOP is Subverting Democracy.”