Monday, June 12, 2023

Deja Vu: Today's attacks on trans people are repackaged homophobia from the 1990s

To a lot of older LGBTQ people, the recent legislative and other attacks on transgender people are very familiar. We've had seen it before. In April, Jack Turban, assistant professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, published an opinion piece at CNN which spelled it all out.

 Turban's piece, What the anti-trans movement is all about, deserves a read and a share.  Here are some excerpts:

If some of these arguments around fairness and protecting children from LGBTQ people sound familiar, it’s because they’re the same ones used against gay people in the 1990s. These Republicans have simply repackaged old anti-gay rhetoric and scaremongering to target transgender people. 

 Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, some cities in Colorado began passing laws prohibiting anti-gay discrimination. Frustrated by this progress, social conservatives in the state created an organization called Colorado for Family Values. 

 Worried about more localities passing anti-discrimination laws, which it saw as endorsing non-Christian values, the group came up with a bold strategy: Start a ballot initiative to amend the Colorado Constitution to prohibit state and local government bodies from passing more. The question was: How would it convince voters, who were increasingly tolerant of gay people, to support it? The group developed two primary tactics it thought would appeal to different types of voters. The first was a more palatable “fairness” argument. It created the false narrative that anti-discrimination laws would give gay people preferential or “better” treatment than straight people. It ran with the catchy slogan “equal rights, not special rights.” 

Turban points out how one tactic has been recrafted to attack trans athletes by creating a false argument that they are somehow taking scholarships and victories from cis (mostly female) athletes. He talked about the second tactic.

 The second was a bit more grotesque — reverting to age-old accusations that gay people were sexual predators and “groomers” who posed a risk to children. The strategies worked, and what was known as Amendment 2 passed

Turban then accurately compares how social conservatives exploited the lie that LGBTQ people are a danger to kids in the 90s to how they are now claiming that transgender people are a danger to kids.

. . . . We’ve also seen a resurgence in social conservatives labeling LGBTQ people as dangerous to children. When advocating for Colorado’s Amendment 2 in the 1990s, Colorado for Family Values distributed 750,000 copies of a pamphlets saying that “sexual molestation of children is a large part of many homosexuals’ lifestyle.” Things are much the same today. US Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted this month that “Democrats are the party of pedophiles,” a comment she doubled down on in a recent interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes.” 

 Some conservatives have turned this rhetoric into public policy, arguing that laws are needed to force transgender people to use bathrooms of their sex assigned at birth, suggesting that otherwise sexual assault rates in bathrooms will rise. Though research shows that such policies are linked to transgender youth facing higher rates of sexual assault, I worry that facts won’t win out.

 In the 1990s, Colorado for Family Values won in large part because it had carefully crafted, emotionally inflammatory rhetoric, and its opponents didn’t. It didn’t matter that facts weren’t on the group’s side. The same is true today.

 In recent years, this rhetoric has been most effectively applied to attacks on gender-affirming medical care. Some conservatives have labeled it “mutilation” and in some instances “child abuse” despite endorsements by major medical organizations.

The only thing different about what social conservatives are doing now as opposed to the 90s is a dwindling down of scapegoats. Instead of targeting the entire LGBTQ community, they are laser focused on denigrating a segment of the community. But the repercussions are still as deadly as they were back then.

Editor's note - claiming that LGBTQ people and our pursuit of certain rights will endanger kids is a social conservative tactic used in several fights against us, including marriage equality.

'Arizona governor vetoes anti-trans bathroom bill' & other Mon midday news briefs

Arizona governor vetoes bill requiring schools to limit transgender students’ bathroom access - Folks, we have to learn that elections matter and we don't keep our equality without electing public officials who will work to ensure our equality. 

Historians are learning more about how the Nazis targeted trans people - And we also have to know our own history. All of it. 

Small town Pride organizer forced to flee state after “groomer” group targeted him - Now this p@sses me off. We cannot allow stuff like this to happen. 

We are here now: New documentary powerfully portrays intersex stories - Learning more about who makes up our community is never a bad thing. 

Pride Month Organizers Confident in Security Despite Far-Right Threats - This OUR month. They can't EVER take it away from us. We are here and we aren't going away. Nor are we going back into closets.