In the weeks that followed, turning in the final draft of my debut column on New Thinking, things went downhill rather quickly.
I guess it shouldn’t surprise me anymore, what with how fascist the Republican Party is these days, but hearing conservative commentators call for the “eradication of transgender people” at CPAC is downright terrifying.
According to The Daily Beast, what Knowles actually said at the Conservative Political Action Conference was: “for the good of society…transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely.” While it’s being argued that “transgenderism” isn’t the same as saying “transgender people,” I believe there is only one way to read his comments—the man is calling for genocide.
Outlets like Rolling Stone and The Daily Beast kept updating their articles after threats of lawsuits—but it’s not libel when comments are captured on camera with someone saying exactly what they said. If one replaces “transgenderism” with “Judaism,” would they not be calling for the genocide of Jews? There’s no other way to interpret his comments from where I am sitting. They are repugnant, disgraceful, and need to be called out.
There’s a saying that I grew up hearing a lot: “if we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.” It’s bad enough that antisemitism is rising in this country, but the transphobia is at a level where Republican legislatures and governors are passing and signing legislation that basically make it illegal to be trans.
When they ban gender-affirming care, they prevent transgender youth from getting proper healthcare. It wouldn’t prevent someone from coming out as trans, but essentially these bills force people to move to different states where society is more accepting. And if they don’t have the money to do so, those people and their families are screwed.
When studying the Holocaust and other genocides, Dr. Gregory Stanton developed the ten stages of genocide. While stages might imply a linear motion, some of these stages can—and will—happen simultaneously. Believe me when I say that it was never about the bathroom bills or banning us from playing sports. It was—and still is—about removing transgender people from the whole of society.
As a reminder, the Holocaust did not start with the labor and death camps and gas chambers. No; it started with hateful words, and by making it illegal for Jews to participate in public life. When Republicans are forcing through parents’ rights bills, what I see are not rights for parents, but the right to discriminate against transgender youth.
What these state governments are doing—in America, no less—is outright fascist and no different than Nazi Germany in the 1930s. The Jewish community does not have a monopoly on the Holocaust because Hitler targeted other populations, including the LGBTQ population.
The ten stages Dr. Stanton mapped out are as follows:
Where are we at right now? Stage eight: Persecution.
The transgender community and the strongest allies are fighting like hell right now. Families currently have to consider whether they should pack their bags because politicians are seeking or have already made members of their family “illegal.” In some instances, these people have had roots in their communities for many years.
This should not be happening.
President Joe Biden can post on social media about the recent attacks on LGBTQ rights and talk about the good fight. However, what we need right now is to see action being taken at the federal level. Having our backs alone is not enough, Mr. President.
In an appearance on The Daily Show with guest host Kal Penn, President Biden discussed the current culture war taking place against the transgender population:
What’s going on in Florida is, as my mother would say, close to sinful. It is just terrible what they are doing. It’s not like a kid wakes up one morning and says, “You know, I decided I want to become a man or I want to become a woman or I want to change.” I mean, what are they thinking about here? They are human beings. They love. They have feelings. They have inclinations that are…it just to me, is, I don’t know is, it’s cruel.
If Democrats had kept the House of Representatives, maybe I’d feel good about Congress codifying action to prevent the future fascist acts coming from the likes of Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee and elsewhere—not that it’s stopping red states from passing anti-LGBTQ laws. But in 2023, I have to start asking myself: at which point do I have to start considering moving to Canada or making Aliyah to Israel? I’m thankful to have Israel as an option, but that should be the very last resort.
If the Democratic Party is unable to keep the senate and presidency in 2024, I fear for not only my future, but for that of every transgender American. Life was a living hell during the Trump years. I don’t want to see a repeat under DeSantis or someone else.
The past few weeks have not been good for my mental health—YouTube TV dropping the MLB Network certainly doesn’t help any matters—and I can only escape through movies for so long before even that just becomes a numbing experience. But I keep taking it a day at a time: because what else can I do?
I will not apologize for being transgender. I didn’t ask, want, or choose this life. The only decision I made was to live, because “transition or die” means exactly that. I will fight like hell for my rights as a transgender American even at a time when fascists seek to take them away left and right.