Authoritarians like Trump target trans people for a reason

Consider the Authoritarian streak and the cruel delight TERF Scum take in abusing women born Trans.

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/22/authoritarians-target-trans-people-democracy-patriarchy

Transgender rights are crucial in the struggle not only for human rights, but women’s liberation


Mon 22 Oct 2018

Attacking transgender people – especially transgender women – has become a favorite strategy for authoritarians, and Trump is no exception. On Sunday, the New York Times reported that the Trump administration is attempting to narrow gender identity to the one assigned at birth – thereby denying transgender people their place in society.

This is a deliberate attempt to deploy tried and tested transphobic messaging to rile up his voter base ahead of the midterm elections. Trump wants to rally conservatives while engaging in attacking a marginalized group that it is still socially acceptable to target. Unfortunately, support and inclusion of transgender individuals even among mainstream progressives is lacking, and even some self-proclaimed feminist movements advocate for trans exclusion in ways similar to the recent Trump directives.

The irony in this is that if we peel the onion it becomes clear that transgender people are not actually the real target of such authoritarian leaders. Though transgender people will be the ones annihilated on the frontlines, figuratively and literally, by this tactic, we form too small a minority to pose a serious threat to authoritarianism. Women’s liberation is what autocrats are attempting to quell with anti-trans measures. Strongmen have made their hostility and contempt for women clear, whether it is through promotion of rape as was done by the Filipino leader Rodrigo Duterte, or pushing a US supreme court nominee credibly accused of sexual assault while insulting his accusers, in the case of Donald Trump.

Substantial evidence exists showing that gender equality and greater participation of women in the democratic process leads to more inclusive and socially oriented forms of government. Autocrats rely heavily on the “might is right” model and perpetuation of socially constructed violent models of misogyny in order to exert power, and women’s equality and liberation challenges basic tenets of totalitarianism. It is not a coincidence that with increasing pushes towards gender equality and justice across the globe, patriarchal forces are striking back violently and propelling anti-women leaders such as Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro towards power.

Progress on transgender issues, and the very existence of transgender individuals, also challenges the basis of male hegemony, because it blurs the boundary between men and women. The directives from the Trump administration on strictly delineating and defining sex as binary, immutable and determined by chromosomes and natal genital anatomy are basically attempts to demarcate a red line between men and women. The recent actions by the Hungarian leader to withdraw funding from any educational programs that deal with gender theory and an insistence on binary immutable sex is part of the same effort of transgender erasure.

Transgender erasure is a weapon being used to fight against women’s equality. In order for a mechanism of oppression to exist between two classes in society, differentiation between them is crucial. In the same fashion as interracial relationships and mixed-race children were anathema to segregationists, transgender people pose a serious challenge for patriarchal structures. The inviolable superior status of white people over black people is challenged when there are people who are both black and white. Similarly, in creating gray space between male and female, transgender people subvert the patriarchy.

Misogyny and oppression of women must be fought globally and unwaveringly, including in western societies, which have falsely been perceived as post-feminist. Transgender rights are crucial in the struggle not only for human rights, but women’s liberation. Those who fiercely advocate for eradicating transgender people are fighting to retain a world under the regime of male hegemony. In such an environment, autocrats and their accompanying oligarchies are sustained. A world without misogyny and with women and queer liberation is a world without despotic rulers. We are in desperate need as a global community to arrive there

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The Cruelty Is the Point

From The Atlantic:  https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/the-cruelty-is-the-point/572104/

President Trump and his supporters find community by rejoicing in the suffering of those they hate and fear.


Oct 3, 2018

The Museum of African-American History and Culture is in part a catalog of cruelty. Amid all the stories of perseverance, tragedy, and unlikely triumph are the artifacts of inhumanity and barbarism: the child-size slave shackles, the bright red robes of the wizards of the Ku Klux Klan, the recordings of civil-rights protesters being brutalized by police.

The artifacts that persist in my memory, the way a bright flash does when you close your eyes, are the photographs of lynchings. But it’s not the burned, mutilated bodies that stick with me. It’s the faces of the white men in the crowd. There’s the photo of the lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Indiana in 1930, in which a white man can be seen grinning at the camera as he tenderly holds the hand of his wife or girlfriend. There’s the undated photo from Duluth, Minnesota, in which grinning white men stand next to the mutilated, half-naked bodies of two men lashed to a post in the street—one of the white men is straining to get into the picture, his smile cutting from ear to ear. There’s the photo of a crowd of white men huddled behind the smoldering corpse of a man burned to death; one of them is wearing a smart suit, a fedora hat, and a bright smile.

Their names have mostly been lost to time. But these grinning men were someone’s brother, son, husband, father. They were human beings, people who took immense pleasure in the utter cruelty of torturing others to death—and were so proud of doing so that they posed for photographs with their handiwork, jostling to ensure they caught the eye of the lens, so that the world would know they’d been there. Their cruelty made them feel good, it made them feel proud, it made them feel happy. And it made them feel closer to one another.

The Trump era is such a whirlwind of cruelty that it can be hard to keep track. This week alone, the news broke that the Trump administration was seeking to ethnically cleanse more than 193,000 American children of immigrants whose temporary protected status had been revoked by the administration, that the Department of Homeland Security had lied about creating a database of children that would make it possible to unite them with the families the Trump administration had arbitrarily destroyed, that the White House was considering a blanket ban on visas for Chinese students, and that it would deny visas to the same-sex partners of foreign officials. At a rally in Mississippi, a crowd of Trump supporters cheered as the president mocked Christine Blasey Ford, the psychology professor who has said that Brett Kavanaugh, whom Trump has nominated to a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court, attempted to rape her when she was a teenager. “Lock her up!” they shouted.

Ford testified to the Senate, utilizing her professional expertise to describe the encounter, that one of the parts of the incident she remembered most was Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge laughing at her as Kavanaugh fumbled at her clothing. “Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter,” Ford said, referring to the part of the brain that processes emotion and memory, “the uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.” And then at Tuesday’s rally, the president made his supporters laugh at her.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/the-cruelty-is-the-point/572104/

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MPs and LGBT campaigners call out ‘relentless’ media hostility towards trans people

From Pink News UK:  https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/10/17/campaigners-anti-trans-media-letter/


17th October 2018

Lords, MPs, and leading LGBT+ campaigners have signed an open letter condemning anti-trans media coverage in the UK, saying hostility has led to a “significant decline in the mental health of many trans people.”

The letter is signed by MPs including Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrats’ deputy leader, and ex-shadow secretary for women and equalities, Sarah Champion. It demands that British media revise their coverage of trans issues.

The document, published by Pink News in full below, calls on the media to look at the detrimental impact anti-trans coverage has on the mental health of trans people, urging publications to apologise for the psychological damage caused over the past year.

Other people among the 41 signatories are Lib Dem peer Liz Barker, Labour peer Lord Cashman and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

It’s also backed by Susie Green, CEO of Mermaids UK, Jay Stewart, founder of Gendered Intelligence, Christine Burns, author of Trans Britain: Our Journey from the Shadows, and trans campaigners and non-binary film makers Owl and Fox Fisher.

The open letter was organised by Helen Belcher, chair of the LGBT Consortium and co-founder of Trans Media Watch.

Continue reading at:  https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/10/17/campaigners-anti-trans-media-letter/

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Gender equality will only be achieved if trans and non-binary people can identify as they wish

From Metro UK:  https://metro.co.uk/2018/10/16/gender-equality-will-only-be-achieved-if-trans-and-non-binary-people-can-identify-as-they-wish-8040935/


Acting director of Liberty
Tuesday 16 Oct 2018

Most of us take our gender for granted. We don’t worry about people addressing us with the wrong pronouns or challenging which public toilet we use.

Should we require a service specific to our gender, we never imagine someone questioning our entitlement to it. Being our gender is like breathing the air, a reflex.

Like air, however, gender is a deceptively complex compound.

Our genetic code, our physical bodies, our internal sense of self, our external expressions of identity and the social norms and stereotypes projected upon us – all these factors are implicated in the idea of gender.

Most of the time, they align. When they diverge, we are confronted with the complications of gender, compelled to examine it with our conscious brains and to unpack what the complications mean for our values of equality, fairness and human dignity.

Trans people are those whose internal sense of their gender – what psychologists refer to as ‘gender identity’ – diverges from the sex assigned to them at birth. For anyone who is trans, or who knows a trans person, the urgency of acknowledging their real gender is clear.

As in every movement, we must stand together and be heard.

The cruelty of denying people their basic right to self-determination contributes to the fact that at least 45% of trans people in the UK have attempted suicide, and a similar proportion have experienced at least one hate crime in the last year.

In the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, the Government took an important step forward by enabling trans people to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate, legally recognising their correct gender. This can make a huge difference in applying for jobs and accessing public services.

But the Act needs improvement.

The Government’s public consultation on what this reform should look like closes on 19 October  – and it is urgent and critical that everyone who believes in equality uses their voice to support trans rights.

Continue reading at: https://metro.co.uk/2018/10/16/gender-equality-will-only-be-achieved-if-trans-and-non-binary-people-can-identify-as-they-wish-8040935/

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Senators are ‘Rushing’ this Anti-Trans Lawyer Onto The Courts

From Trans Equality Now:  https://medium.com/transequalitynow/senators-are-rushing-this-anti-trans-lawyer-onto-the-courts-7eb9bbf7c2cc

Allison Jones Rushing has built her short career on debunked arguments against LGBTQ rights and strong ties to an anti-transgender powerhouse.

By Gillian Branstetter
Oct 16, 2018

If there’s one thing the Trump administration can’t stand, it’s the legacy of civil rights law impeding their efforts to strip legal rights away from millions of people. Just this week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions whined to his wealthy friends at the Heritage Foundation about judges who rightfully side against the administration’s efforts to, among other things, rip children out of the arms of their immigrant parents or purge transgender people from the military.

Because members of the Trump administration know their discriminatory policies don’t stand a chance in a fair courtroom, they’ve joined with Senate leaders Chuck Grassley and Mitch McConnell to rush as many extreme judges to lifetime appointments as they can before the midterm election. They’re in such a rush, they’re holding partisan hearings on judges while Congress is in recess — something that’s never been done before.

This week, they’re trying to quietly advance Allison Jones Rushing. Vying for a lifetime appointment on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals , Rushing has built her short career on promoting homophobic and transphobic prejudice, siding with dogmatic ideologues over the rights of everyday citizens.

Rushing has strong ties to the Alliance Defending Freedom, a covert legal powerhouse that hunts for tragedies to exploit in the name of enforcing a dogmatic anti-LGBTQ ideology. They lead the fight to criminalize LGBTQ people’s existence in countries around the world. including efforts to forcibly sterilize transgender people. They defend the damaging and debunked practice of so-called conversion therapy, which is now banned in 15 states including the District of Columbia.

They stand by the horrific claim that being transgender is “most often” a result of child abuse. Today, ADF is leading the fight against even the most basic legal protections for transgender people and working overtime to defame transgender children as threats to their neighbors and classmates.

Since beginning her legal career as a student working for ADF, Rushing has co-authored reports with the ADF and speaks regularly at its events. In 2013, Rushing gave a talk defending the Bush administration’s efforts to ban same-sex marriage nationwide, arguing that Congress and states should be able to adopt discriminatory laws solely because they believe LGBT people are immoral.

In any other time, Rushing’s history would be wholly disqualifying for any judicial appointment. But as Senate leader Mitch McConnell has said, the Trump administration is in a hurry to “transform the federal judiciary for a generation” by stocking them with extreme ideologues like Rushing. This way, the administration can game the entire federal court system in favor of their most prejudicial policies.

Continue reading at:  https://medium.com/transequalitynow/senators-are-rushing-this-anti-trans-lawyer-onto-the-courts-7eb9bbf7c2cc

 

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Media keep talking about “identity politics.” But what does it even mean anymore?

From Media Matters for America: https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2018/10/18/media-keep-talking-about-identity-politics-what-does-it-even-mean-anymore/221736

More than 40 years after the term was coined, “identity politics” has been reduced to buzzword status.

PARKER MOLLOY
October 18, 2018

For nearly two years, Democrats have been desperate to understand the secret to President Donald Trump’s success. This week, Fox Business hosts Lou Dobbs and Trish Regan might have just figured it out.

From the October 15 edition of Trish Regan Primetime (emphasis added:

RISH REGAN (HOST): You look at the Democrats right now, and they’re really clinging to this idea of identity politics. In your view, what are they missing?

LOU DOBBS: Well, group and identity politics are really the blueprint for the Democratic Party. It’s no longer, as it once was, about the American worker. It’s no longer about middle America or middle class Americans. For 20 years, they watched the middle class in this country shrink. It took none other than President Donald J. Trump to step up and say he is for the American worker, the American working family, for the middle class, and put America first. And with that he has driven, it seems to me, a stake into the heart of group and identity politics. Because remember, Trish, and I know you do, this is a president — from the moment he began campaigning — says he will be the president of all Americans. … This is a president of possibility and an insistence upon dreaming, dreaming — all America is dreaming. And, by the way, those dreams are being realized in 21 months this man has been in office.

REGAN: It’s amazing because in some ways, Lou, I think he’s beating them at their own game. I mean, they used to be about middle class, working Americans, and then all of a sudden, as we saw in 2016 and the aftermath right up until today, things became about, say, the transgender population, which is 0.01 percent of the population. Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that. However, they forgot, they forgot all these people out there going to work every day trying to make a living, trying to put food on the table, and consequently, Donald Trump stole their thunder.

Ah yes, identity politics! Like its rhetorical cousin “political correctness,” identity politics has become one of those catch-all terms that means whatever the person saying it wants it to mean at that particular moment. For the past several years, it’s been deployed derisively to dismiss concerns specific to any group outside of the ruling class. Marriage equality? Identity politics. Black Lives Matter? Definitely identity politics. Protecting the right to an abortion? Massive identity politics. And, well, you get the idea.

In the above discussion between Dobbs and Regan, Regan cited the Democratic Party’s focus on issues specific to trans people as part of its downfall. After all, if just 0.01 percent of the country is transgender and Democrats are really going all-in on policies and campaign promises that would solely benefit that community, that does seem like a foolish use of resources. Unfortunately for Regan, neither point is really true. Regan was off by a factor of 60 in her trans statistic — the Williams Institute estimates that 1.4 million adults, or 0.6 percent of the population, identify as trans.

But to her second point: Yes, Democrats did include a few nods to the trans community in their 2016 party platform, such as supporting the passage of an LGBTQ-inclusive anti-discrimination bill and highlighting violence against trans people. But was that to the exclusion of anyone or anything else? No, not really. On the flip side, the Republican platform leaned into these issues hard, strongly opposing a recently implemented marriage equality ruling; pledging to stop using Title IX “to impose a social and cultural revolution upon the American people,” as they allege President Barack Obama had done with his “dear colleague” memo to schools saying bullying against trans students isn’t OK; championing the passage of the so-called First Amendment Defense Act, which would shield people from local and state statutes banning discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation so long as the person discriminating cites a strongly held religious belief; and support for discriminatory anti-trans policies in public space, such as North Carolina’s controversial, anti-trans HB 2 legislation.

Continue reading at: https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2018/10/18/media-keep-talking-about-identity-politics-what-does-it-even-mean-anymore/221736

 

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#WontBeErased: Transgender People and Allies Mobilize Against Trump Administration Proposal

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/22/us/transgender-reaction-rally.html

By Sarah Mervosh
Oct. 22, 2018

Activists in the L.G.B.T. community mobilized a fast and fierce campaign on Sunday to say transgender people cannot be expunged from society, in response to an unreleased Trump administration memo that proposes a strict definition of gender based on a person’s genitalia at birth.

The existence of the draft memo, the administration’s latest effort to roll back the recognition and protection of transgender people under federal civil rights law, was reported by The New York Times on Sunday morning.

Within hours, the hashtag #WontBeErased circulated on social media. By Sunday evening, a rally for transgender rights took place in New York; another was planned for Monday in Washington.

“You saw such a massive response because this attack on the trans community is essentially trying to erase the trans community from the face of this country and we’re not going to stand for that,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and chief executive of Glaad, a media advocacy group for L.G.B.T. people.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/22/us/transgender-reaction-rally.html

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