The LGBTQ+ community is under attack, still, though the target has shifted. The reason for the shift is clear from a public opinion poll finding that a majority of US adults do not support QT rights.
We must circle the wagons, now, around the most vulnerable among us.
If you, like JK Rowling or Bette Midler, are concerned about the implications for femininity, please worry about that another day. Our community is under active assault now, today.
Or if you, like me, have your own reservations, whatever they be, I am begging you to understand that the only humane thing to do is also the only thing that will end this madness we’re all going through: we must stand up against efforts to limit the rights of anyone to pursue what they believe will bring them happiness. Their happiness does not affect you in the slightest, at all. Many are being convinced that it does by nefariously minded people who are using the LGBTQ+ community exactly as other authoritarian leaders have done in our recent past, as a scapegoat, a boogeyman onto whom to project the most lurid fears they can conjure to capture a majority of voters (not the populace writ large, but voters, their ‘base,’ which makes a significant difference in a country where a minority of people actually vote [eg, the record turnout of 2020 almost brought out half the US population, 154.6M/329.5M])
This ultimately comes down to a basic principle of the US Constitution. It literally need not have anything to do with queer and trans rights in and of themselves. You don’t have to like queer people. You don’t have to support trans people.
It comes down simply to this: Do you uphold the US Constitution, or not? Do you believe in the genius of its every word, or not? Do you support the intention “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” or not?
Do you believe in the spirit of the US Declaration of Independence? Do you “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”—or not?
‘Promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty’…
‘The Blessings of Liberty’
Do you think only the dominant class is allowed these rights, the luxuries of liberty? (Careful: are you sure you’re part of the dominant class?) Doesn’t ‘general’ mean everyone?
You need to understand how fundamentally and blatantly anti-American these neo-neoconservative ideas are. It is in fact a hallmark of exclusionary (that is, anti-democratic) regimes. I am still processing that I was never allowed to know until this past month that the extremely well-known photo of books burning in a piled heap from Nazi Germany depicts the sacking of the world’s first LGBTQ+ medical research library. The looting of the Institute of Sexology, May 6, 1933 [link to Holocaust Memorial Day Trust].
My surprise regarding the specific books burned in that haunting image—devastating enough for any bibliophile—comes despite having come to know years ago that LGBTQ+ folks were one of the unacknowledged targets of the Holocaust along with any other minority group imaginable, whether in terms of race (Black and Brown people were deemed as equally worthy of eradication) or ethnicity (Romani, etc); and I understood from my upbringing in a severely bigoted time and place quite why this part of my community’s past had never surfaced into popular culture: it would have been an inconvenience too far for the fact, I’d hypothesized, that we would have had to confront the anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry perpetrated in most people’s everyday lives. Actually I realize now that the truth of LGBTQ+ genocide during WWII could only come to light once the majority of folks had gotten over the mistaken beliefs about us they’d been fed constantly in so many different ways from so many different people.
In case you missed it, as I write this, it’s been 90 years to the day since the Institute of Sexology was looted in Berlin.
One of the Nazi’s earliest targets was the LGBTQ+ community: we are a minority among minorities, and generally we have not enjoyed the love of the dominant majority, no matter who they are. LGBTQ+ folks are one of the easiest targets, and far easier if it is only one or two constituents within our coalition-based community, as now with the attack on Trans and Queer rights, making no mention of Gay and Lesbian (and by extension Bi) rights, now that they have been enshrined into Federal law.
I am not being glib when I say, Who cares what you think about Trans people? You care more than anyone else, and it is only because you think it alters how you understand yourself; it doesn’t. Set all that aside and recognize what is happening to us all: the authoritarian slide will only end if enough of us circle round those being targeted and refuse the current wave. This time around women’s rights are under significant and sustained assault as well, along with (as usual) the rights of other human beings to come here and make a life for themselves while contributing their skills to our common good, and, of course, Black and Brown bodies writ large. This authoritarian wave will not spare you, white ladies. Stand up now! We can talk another day over Daiquiris, Coladas, and Cosmos, virgin or not, about how all of us relate to one another, once all of us are safe.
As I see it, everyone has, ultimately, two choices: either you stand up for a minority population you have no direct reason to support in order to preserve your own rights, or our own individual concerns about womanhood, masculinity and gender generally will distract us into all of us losing our rights. This goes for you, Manhattan A-Gays—yesss queen I mean you. My Sapphic comrades, dust off the blazers and get to work! Soccer moms, Martha Stewart enthusiasts, Rachel Ray die hards, all of you apolitical girls: come stand with us for your rights over your own bodies! All of our struggles are inextricably interrelated. My Black and Brown comrades, I am absolutely speaking to you, too. Don’t think you’re going to secure any rights for yourselves at the expense of any other minority group. That is not how freedom works. Don’t make me dig out my copy of the Good Doctor’s Strength to Love or go googling through his speeches: we can all recognize that a slap at any one minority is a slap to all minorities. The rights of one group lead to the rights of others.
This is not merely a Trans Rights fight per se. It is one of the opening attacks of a determined oligarchy. We must ensure it fails.
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