Smash anti-trans bigotry!
Enough is enough. And we mean enough!
Transgender youth are under siege. Legislators in all but four states have introduced at least 469 bigoted bills, many of which have passed. (aclu.org) Some bills deny trans youth the opportunity to participate in school athletics. Some deny youth under 18-years-old access to trans-affirming health care, criminalizing doctors who provide care and/or parents who approve it. Then there are the reactionary book bans and the gag order bills like Florida’s “Don’t say gay” bill.
There appears to be no end in sight.
But what are we told, practically from the day we start kindergarten? This is the greatest country in the world! Nobody else enjoys the democratic freedoms that we enjoy. What George Washington called the “great experiment” continues to perfect itself.
Garbage. For proof of the fraudulent hypocrisy in capitalist propaganda one need look no further than the state of Montana, where a democratically elected trans woman state legislator has been barred from entering the legislature’s chambers. House Rep. Zooey Zephyr had given an impassioned speech against a bill to deny trans-affirming health care to trans youth.
Zephyr, the first and only transgender Montana state representative, was banned for violating “decorum” when she said, “If you disallow that care and don’t allow people to have access to that, the only therapy left is either, A, meaningless or, B, conversion therapy, which is torture. … If you vote yes on this bill and yes on these amendments, I hope the next time there’s an invocation, when you bow your heads in prayer, you see the blood on your hands.” (Democracy Now! April 28)
Before the vote to ban her from the Montana House floor, Zephyr added, “I have had friends who have taken their lives because of these bills. I have fielded calls from families in Montana, including one family whose trans teenager attempted to take her life while watching a hearing on one of the anti-trans bills. …
So, when I rose up and said there is blood on your hands, I was not being hyperbolic.” The bill was signed by Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, despite pleas from his non-binary son that he decline to sign.
Statistics fully back Zephyr’s position. The Trevor Project reports that its 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health “found that 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.” The rates of contemplated or attempted suicide are even higher for trans youth of color. (thetrevorproject.org)
Zephyr is not the only oppressed person who managed to be elected as a state legislator, only to be muzzled by a reactionary Republican majority. Several weeks ago in Tennessee, the two youngest Black representatives were expelled for — here too — violating decorum. Reps. Justin Pearson and Justin Jones had demonstrated inside the state capitol for a ban on assault weapons sales.
Rep. Jones has drawn parallels between what happened to him and Rep. Pearson and what happened to Rep. Zephyr: “We see this weaponization of decorum to silence dissent, to silence voices that make people uncomfortable. And that’s really what they’re doing, is silencing any voice of divergence from their dominant narrative.”
Pushing back what Jones called “this rising tide of fascism and authoritarianism” is not going to be easy. We can’t count on the Democratic Party to put a halt to it.
Solidarity between Black and Brown communities and LGBTQ2S+ communities, as demonstrated by Rep. Jones, is definitely a place to start.
But there needs to be more than the support of one censured legislator for another. We need a broad movement against white supremacy, misogyny, transphobia, ableism and all forms of oppression, one that encompasses the whole working class, including but not limited to organized labor.
That is what is needed to stop these bigoted bills from being implemented.