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CCW Revisited, Pt. 3: Trans Rights Under Attack

I want to revisit perhaps the darkest aspect of our burgeoning national crisis. This, primarily, has to do with the rights and lives of Trans people. We're going to be talking about some pretty disgusting legislation and opinions on the right, so, take care of yourself here. If that's going to be difficult for you, I suggest you skip this letter. For everyone else, I think it's the most important issue of our time, so I would urge you to pay attention–if not to me, then to Trans activists who are sounding the alarm.

If you're plugged into, or even tangential to, the same social media circles I am, you've seen legislation out of various corners of the country that will curtail the rights of Trans and Queer people, or outright ban their public existence. Trans activists will point out to you that this time last year, perhaps even more recently, the rhetoric was "we want to protect the integrity of women's sports," and other such language that, to someone not paying attention, may have sounded like patter. But we have progressed exceedingly quickly from that argument toward a rhetoric tantamount to extermination. Which activists told us was coming.

Desiring violence against Trans people is, to be clear, enough of a reason to be deeply worried and angry. But I want to point out what should be obvious: the far right will not stop there. The bar quickly moved from "Trans people in sports" to Trans people in public, and it will slide from there immediately–if you don't already consider it simultaneous–to all Queer people, and I doubt it will stop at anything short of white, cishet, and Christian as worth living in this country. Christo-fascism is a marriage of enough terrible qualities that what Christianity does not wish to stamp out, white supremacy will.

Legislation

The distance between introducing legislation and a law being on the books is about a wide a gulf as you can fathom, but that doesn't matter much when you see such legislation time and time again. This bill, brought to the House of Representatives by Rep. Johnson of Louisiana, is notable for two things: it's in the fucking House, and it's a massive escalation–the sort of thing you'd expect to see out of a red state legislature with about 50,000 total residents (no offense, Wyoming). The bill calls for the prohibition of federal funds toward any program, event, or literature of a "sexually-oriented" nature for children under the age of 10. The catch is where you'd expect it–"sexually-oriented" is defined so widely as to include: "any topic involving gender identity, gender dysphoria, transgenderism, sexual orientation, or related subjects." It's well past targeting only Trans people, and encompasses any representation of sexuality.

This goes beyond Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill writ federally. It could carve away any literature, any instruction, any programs that so much as include the concept of gender. It could, feasibly, empty schools and government agencies of LGBTQIA personnel–anything touched by federal funds. People would lose their jobs, face persecution, lose their homes, and surely worse. And, as always, this kind of legislation only escalates the rhetoric. The next move is darker still.

Before you say to yourself, "this won't pass," the point is not passage–not right now. The point is raising the temperature on the issue until the idea is more palatable to the general population. Again, we went from "don't play sports," in some states to "don't exist in X areas." And legislation similar to the above can be found at the state level, as well, with Idaho pushing for a bill in January that will ban public drag performances on the basis of upholding "public virtue." It's that last part, that extremely flexible phrase, that worries me. That kind of phrase can pivot from the stated application of a law (the prohibition of drag in public) into something far broader. That kind of phrase can lead to the criminalization of most anything–miscegenation, atheism, you name it.

Public Opinion

I mentioned the last time this came up that some of the urgency behind anti-Trans legislation came riding up out of a pit on the back of Alex Jones. Sputum from his ilk is bound to be darker than what we see in the halls of governance, but only at first. It doesn't take long for a media message to catch fire, and it doesn't have to be a credible idea for it to make a real impact in legislation. Matt Walsh, another asshole white boy with a microphone and misplaced emotion, has called for the criminalization of drag shows and for participants to be thrown in prison for pedophilia. This should sound familiar. His rhetoric is baldly hyperbolic and misrepresentative, calling drag performers "professional groomers," but it's only one step away from that which is already being suggested in government.

There are about a dozen of these guys–completely interchangeable white men with slightly different flavors of fascism they adhere to–but they have, between them, millions of subscribers. Violence against Queer people in this nation is nothing new, nor must we look far to find horrific examples. What's different is the breadth of sources of hate these days. Everywhere you turn, on any platform, there is a mouthpiece. Politicians, mainstream media figures, pastors to thousands. Pitifully enough, influencers, Twitter-famous assholes, and the little princes of social media sites like Parler and Truth Social are doing plenty of work on this front as well. The environment this kind of hate festered in a couple decades ago has changed: the sump pump that kept this basement from flooding over has broken, thanks to social media, and whereas these basements used to keep the hate mostly contained, now it instead breeds, and quickly.

This spread constitutes another front in the fight. While the most extreme legislation is not very likely to pass in the near future, when these unflushable turds get together, there is a common theme of them attacking events, libraries, bookstores, any site of possible Queer joy. These calls for assembly have shut down numerous events, answered on occasion by armed leftists that have defended them, with none only so far pushed to bloodshed. We've been lucky on that score.

Fighting Back

It's rare that we have good news on here–particularly in a series such as this. But there is good news on this front. Should this have been limited to the theoretical, I would have stated that the way to prepare for the issue of Trans discrimination and legislation would be to–you guessed it–form mutual aid and community defense groups. But this is the reality on the ground today, and people already have. We talked about the efforts of the Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club and others before, and these folks are still showing up to defend persecuted communities. And there is great reason to, as the other side is already on the offense. Last week, a shop in Tulsa was firebombed after it hosted a drag show.

If you're of a mind to defend yourself and others, I would strongly suggest arming yourself, training, and finding a group near you such as a John Brown Gun Club. They aren't everywhere, but chances are good there is some kind of such group near you–a Socialist Rifle Association, or barring an outright firearm-related club, any anarchist or mutual aid group to begin laying groundwork. The least good you can do in one of these organizations is a little good–which is still better than what you were doing before.

There are folks out there, liberals mostly, who will argue that you can't beat legislation with an AR-15. Which is true. But if an armed group of leftists can stave off a camp sweep, if an armed group of leftists can hold back Christo-fascists from attacking a drag show, then they can make a local government think twice before they raid a library looking to arrest a Trans person for reading a story to children. And if we can keep a front like that up for a while, you'll find the rhetorical temperature cools, for fear of getting your ass handed to you by a leftist wearing cat ears.