Since 2021, fundamentalists in the United States have been conducting an actively growing campaign of hate and harassment against transgender individuals and the LGBTQIA community.
To worsen this terrible situation, many of those that have chimed into this discussion over the past couple of years have done so under the guise of ‘debate’, as if the existence and lived experiences of transgender people are a category for debate and discourse.
Originally, the existence of transgender individuals became a topic of modern social divide around 2016, as a consequence of North Carolina’s ‘bathroom bill’, House Bill 2, which banned transgender people from using bathrooms that do not align with their sex assigned at birth.
Subsequently, when the LGBTQIA community and their allies started protesting the bill across the U.S., many were exposed to the existence of transgender people for the first time. In that context, many found themselves on the side of North Carolina’s legislation, pushed by the potential for ‘posers’ or ‘creeps’ to employ a loophole in modern society’s concept of gender to sexually harass individuals of the opposite sex.
Additionally, rumors of men wanting to dominate women’s spaces in sports or social areas further increased the supporters of the bill, resulting in many people subsequently developing transphobic mindsets.
While those who had no stake in this fight casually spoke on these circumstances, transgender individuals and allies were raising red flags of caution over the normalization of tone when discussing transgender people.
Transphobic individuals commonly take issue with transgender people due to their deviation from what they believe is normal. Whether this belief is held through a religious, biological, or sociological lens, the widespread cognitive dissonance has been enough to spark outrage in certain circles for years.
The core of the ‘anti-trans’ argument is that transgender individuals are inherently unnatural and disrupt the chain of operations in one way or another. This argument is easily defeated by history, which has documented accounts of transgender people in several different civilizations across time.
In fact, transgender individuals have existed for centuries, evidenced by research and studies of ‘cross-dressers' of their generation who similarly faced legal and social prosecution for their choice of personal expression.
Following Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 Presidential Election, the Republican Party was forced to pivot towards issues that may sway independents or construct a stronger foundation in their voter base.
Considering that the Republican Party’s policy-making decisions are anti-progressive, a political ideology losing popularity in modern societies, finding a route on which lawmakers and constituents alike, especially young and older voters, could agree proved quite difficult.
Thus, leaders of the Republican Party and public right-wing figures chose the next best solution for optimal results in the upcoming presidential election: scapegoating issues that do not exist.
Republican representatives and conservative media figures alike harped on non-existent issues of child abuse within drag shows, a type of event typically seen in LGBTQIA spaces and performed by transgender or non-binary individuals.
Although no genuine accounts of child abuse were reported, conservatives ran with this ‘controversy’ and co-opted the term ‘groomer’ to refer to any individuals who participate in drag shows with children present.
According to the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN), grooming is a term used to describe the process when an adult or older figure uses manipulative tactics to gain access to a potential victim, coerce them to agree to the abuse, and reduce the risk of being caught. Therefore, drag shows are not child abuse, neither in practice nor in theory, and parents who encourage their adolescents to participate are neither groomers nor pedophiles.
Drag shows are an expression of aspects embedded within LGBTQIA culture, that have been demonized to garner political support. However, modern conservative icons in media like Matt Walsh, Jordan Peterson, and Ian Cheong have each advocated for the government to sanction legal and physical punishments for transgender individuals and their allies.
Shockingly, Walsh, whose platform is mainly consumed through social media sites and YouTube, even released a documentary last June titled What is a Woman?, where he interviews many different people in an effort to form a concrete definition of a woman.
Though the documentary first appears like an exploratory dive into both society and medical professionals’ perspectives on women, it is essentially a conversational journey of bias confirmation against transgender individuals.
Also, Walsh was involved in several virtual attacks against children's hospitals by helping Chaya Raichik, owner of LibsofTikTok and another notorious ‘Anti-groomer’ coordinate mass hate calls denouncing the doctors’ willingness to perform gender-affirming surgery on children. These hospitals were not actively performing these surgeries, they simply provide them in case one of their patients and their parents seek it.
However, this did not stop the attackers, as even offering the surgery is a moral stance that they deem indefensible.
A clamorous example of this hate campaign is Boston Children's Hospital, which also received a bomb threat last August for their ‘crimes against kids’. Tragically, even with all of the mania caused by their assumptions behavior, no one among Walsh, Raichik, and other conspirators in media, like Tucker Carlson of Fox News, faced legal repercussions for this.
In this context, it is crucial to notice that when a minority-identity group can be slandered, attacked, and openly despised without consequence, it sets a precedent for potential physical harm to come to members of a said identity group.
Following a societal standard of violence and spite is likely systematic eradication, which we are seeing the foundation of being implemented in proposed bills across a number of states.
Conservative administrations are forcing existing transgender children to de-transition while trying to punish any medical professionals involved in gender-affirming surgeries with monetary fines, felony charges, and lengthy prison time.
Data gathered by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System project states that there are approximately 1.6 million transgender individuals living in the United States today. Criminalizing their existence and attempting to phase out (much less deny the existence of) any group of people is genocide and reminiscent of one of recent history’s greatest tragedies: the Holocaust.
Interestingly, ‘victim blaming’ transgender individuals for society’s treatment of them today is also reminiscent of tactics utilized by the Nazis in an effort to dehumanize their subjects and evoke less empathy from potential allies and supporters.
Historically, Nazis began persecuting advocates of homosexuality and researchers in May 1933, then burned thousands of books containing material they disagreed with (Anti-Nazi, authored by a Jewish individual, etc.). In September of the next year, lists of known homosexuals began to get compiled by the Nazi's secret police force.
By 1938, homosexual men were being sent to concentration camps, while efforts to force self-identification laws on Jewish Germans were being ramped up in aggression.
By the end of the year an all-out riot against Jews, Kristallnacht, broke out in the streets of Germany. Conditions for the lives of minority-identity groups referred to as non-Aryans by the Nazis, progressively got worse until the planned mass genocide began across the various concentration camps.
Transgender individuals, like all humans, deserve to enjoy a life free of conflict, especially if we are talking about conflict based on their personal choice of expression and self-concept.
They deserve to live free of fear of potential persecution in any form simply due to their identity.
However, in today’s American society, transgender individuals are granted none of these rights and are instead thrust into a never-ending debate over the validity of their existence.
To right these transgressions which have become so embedded in our society today, it is necessary to learn from history and take a deep dive into the unfair biases we may be projecting onto others.
Allying with transgender individuals in another dark historical period is the least that we can do to support them and their well-being in a time of need. Fighting the false narratives surrounding their existence and experiences is the least that one can contribute to this discourse.
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