Trans people and our allies are continuing to resist the fascistic assault on our rights and our lives. The attacks, however, have entered a dangerous new phase as a major far-right media figure has openly called for trans people to be “eradicated” on a national stage, and the most dangerous federal-level ban yet proposed is now being considered by Congress.
Activists have responded by uniting with others whose body autonomy is under attack, and others in a common struggle, and have made some gains. However, a stronger and more militant resistance is needed to overcome these attacks and to defend trans lives.
Michael Knowles hosts a podcast on the far-right propaganda site The Daily Wire. Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland, a who’s-who of Republican political activists and 2024 presidential hopefuls, Knowles told the audience that “for the good of society … transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely.”
It was a repeat of a statement he made on his radio show a few days earlier, where he argued against trans activists who denounced his words as genocidal by saying that “there can’t be a genocide” because transness “isn’t a legitimate category of being.”
As Liberation News has documented, the far-right’s anti-trans rhetoric has increasingly referenced Nazi Germany and the Holocaust as valid “solutions” to the “transgender question,” and even mainstream GOP politicians have adopted an eliminationist policy against trans people.
Just days after Knowles’ incendiary speech, a national ban on trans girl athletes competing on girls’ sports teams was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. In a twisted perversion of the day’s revolutionary legacy, the bill was first argued on International Working Women’s Day, described by its far-right supporters as “defending the rights of girls.” It is the second national-level ban on trans rights attempted in recent months, with a nationwide ban on gender-affirming medical care for trans children being proposed last August.
The August bill was entered into a Democrat-controlled Congress and did not enjoy significant support. However, the March bill has 86 co-sponsors and there is now a Republican majority in the House, although the Democrats still have the ability to block it in the Senate.
Meanwhile, more than 300 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in state legislatures this year, the vast majority targeting transgender people, and many have passed. But where there is oppression there is resistance, and trans people and their allies have been fighting back tooth and nail, in some cases halting these bills entirely, in others weakening them as much as possible while laying the foundations of a more united fightback with other oppressed groups under attack.
Activists in Utah, Albuquerque and West Virginia make gains
In Utah, more than 150 people demonstrated in the bitter cold last month in opposition to a slew of anti-LGBTQ bills and calling for unity of struggle by those defending abortion access and other fundamental democratic rights under attack.
In Albuquerque, parents, teachers, union members, and students united to oppose a “Don’t Say Gay” copycat policy that would have forcibly outed LGBTQ youth to intolerant parents.
Demonstrations have also rocked numerous other state capitals, school board meetings, and city centers across the country in recent weeks, wherever the far-right has moved to attack the rights of LGBTQ people.
Liberation News spoke with Ash Orr, a trans organizer in West Virginia, which just became the ninth U.S. state to pass an almost-total ban on doctors giving transgender children the kind of gender-affirming care recognized as ethical and necessary by virtually every major medical association in the country. However, thanks to powerful grassroots resistance, it was also the second U.S. state to reject a total ban on such care.
“While unfortunately we do have a ban, we were able to get in a critical piece of harm reduction care,” they said, explaining that trans allies, parents of trans individuals, and doctors from a hospital clinic that serves transgender youth had joined forces to pressure state lawmakers using a combination of scientific studies and personal testimonies.
Because of their efforts, what would have been a universal ban on gender-affirming care was given a number of caveats, including for trans teens at risk of suicide or who experience extreme levels of gender dysphoria.
Asked why lawmakers pursued the ban even after recognizing the science behind the need for gender-affirming care, Orr said it showed they were willing to “throw an entire community under the bus for a couple of votes.”
Orr said that while the constant demonization of trans people as “groomers” and imposters was clearly having an effect on people, “we are also seeing more people come out to accept the trans and queer community … we are seeing more allies coming up than homophobic and transphobic individuals.”
“There is absolutely a bridge that has been built from the fight for reproductive justice and abortion care to the fight for trans rights,” Orr added. “Our community has a great understanding that these are intersectional. We showed up to fight for our rights.”
“We all have the same goal. We all just want basic human rights and bodily autonomy.”
Indeed, the same far-right politicians funded by the same capitalist billionaires are leading the attacks on trans and LGBTQ rights as they are on abortion, Black voting rights, unions and labor protections, and more.
We have the same enemies, and if we forge a united struggle in our communities, the working class cannot be stopped. But we will only truly be free of these dangers once we abolish capitalism entirely and build a system that centers people’s needs instead of profits.
Photo: Anne Marie Champagne, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons