In 2017, Twitter, the popular social media platform boasting 261 million users worldwide announced new guidelines to ensure the safety of its accoount holders from targeted harassment, bullying and incited violence. Although they’ve claimed to crack down on misgendering trans users, we’ve seen little change. In fact, it has been demonstrated repeatedly that these protections ensconced in their guidelines do not apply to the transgender community, nor are they enforced on behalf of us.
Even more disturbing is how Twitter actually did a full pivot on their own rule set which states:
Why? For using the word “TERF” — and acronym for the aforementioned Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist- which is a moniker given to those who do not believe that transgender women should be included in the feminist movement, nor will they acknowledge them as women at all. Often, TERFs use social media to organize malicious attacks, especially on higher profile transgender women, misgendering them, harassing them while provoking their followers to do the same. They believe transgender women are men and claim they pose a threat to women and children everywhere despite having absolutely nothing to substantiate this malformed logic except their own, deeply ingrained hatred.
While trans women who use Twitter have had to compromise their own comfort and emotional health to use the platform due to the relentless hysteria they’re met with every time they log in, more often than not, when trying to defend themselves, they end up being the one put in Twitter’s proverbial time-out, not their attackers.
@horridbaby Reported them but since Twitter is banning trans people speaking out against TERFS rather than the TERFs themselves – I’d imagine not much is going to happen.
Based on the breadth of reports, it appears that there's a certain word which Twitter's policy team has designated as a slur. The word is an acronym factually describing people who hold a certain category of transmisic belief and attempt to enforce it on others. This is bad.
Anyways twitter has no morality when it comes to what will get your account suspended I've seen people get banned for cursing or saying "terf" but Ann Coulter can post the most racist and insensitive images and nothing! Please go report the tweet 2x as sensitive images and abuse!
Fascinating that Twitter will suspend accounts for saying "terf" but not the n-word, calling people fat, inciting harassment against trans people, etc. I've reported multiple abusive people with no results and yet a non-slur is getting people banned.
Hey twitter, stop banning people for calling out TERF bullshit. Our existence is not up for debate and you cannot treat both sides of this equally, as we wish to simply exist and they wish for us to be erased from society. Cut it out. TERFs can go to hell.
When a report is made over a tweet or, in most cases, entire accounts devoted to anti-trans vitriol designed to intentionally mislead the public, peddle dangerous misinformation and prejudices that provokes violence towards the trans community, this is typically Twitter’s response:
This, in spite of Twitter’s own declaration that targeted harassment or abuse of an individual or group is against its rules. Indeed, Twitter is complicit in the mobilizing of TERFs and other hate groups or accounts whose sole purpose is to promote aggression toward transgender people as well as provoke others to do the same.
The British writer/comedian has made inciting violence and hatred toward transgender women a full time job via social media.
The 50 year old has become better known for his relentless twitter attacks on trans women- and those in the LGBT community who ally with them- than any of his former career achievements, one of which includes creating the beloved classic comedy sitcom “Father Ted.”
Ever since the proposal to reform the Gender Recognition Act in 2018 which would allow transgender individuals to self identify and receive legal recognition of their proper gender without the restrictive requirements previously in place that obstructed comfortable medical and social transition, Linehan has postured himself as one of the most vocal antagonists of transgender women on the platform. To an audience of over 650,000 followers, Linehan has made a practice of parroting misleading information, posting fear-mongering, anti-trans statements and attacking anyone, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation and even age (He has openly attacked Transgender children) who attempt to inform or correct his dangerous erroneous statements and open any meaningful dialog.
One of his favorite targets is Linda Riley, the out lesbian editor of Diva Magazine and Board director of the GLAAD organization. Riley has been a strong ally for the Transgender community and made great strides in dispelling myths created by people like Lineham which are intended to make cisgender women fear transgender women. Riley has worked tirelessly to unify the lesbian and transgender community of women who also identify as lesbian, acknowledging that gender identity and sexual orientation are unrelated to one another. A trans woman can, in fact, also be a lesbian, or straight, or asexual, bisexual or polyamorous. Riley has gone to great effort in her career to demonstrate that affording the rights to one letter of the LGBT acronym does not result in the removal of said rights from another.
Because of Riley’s support of the inclusion of trans women, she found herself placed firmly in Linehan’s crosshairs. Her refusal to condemn all transgender women, label them perverted men donning dresses to assault innocent women and children in private dressing rooms and public bathrooms, or preemptively convict them of crimes they’ve never committed, minority report style, infuriated Linehan. He dubbed her a Transgender sympathizer.
Linehan posts upwards of 20 times a day, and every single post rests solely on one topic… his staggering hatred of transgender women. His twitter account appears to be devoted entirely to targeting this community and inspiring attacks against us. He has introduced himself as the Great Straight Male Hope of women, especially lesbians, who he works diligently to convince suffer indelibly as a result of transgender women being allowed to exist. To the Trans exclusionary radical feminists, he has become something of a hero. To the rest of us, it’s clear that Linehan has done nothing more than leverage the ignorance and prejudices of others in order to amass an army of bigots who join him in his twitter tirades.
As Linehan presumed himself the spokesperson for lesbians around the globe- a misogynist maneuver if ever there was, ironically- Riley asked him to stop speaking on behalf of lesbians and allow them their own platform. Not an unreasonable request as Linehan has been literally propelling their opinions and statements- except they weren’t theirs… they were his. In response, Linehan posted a poll on his twitter timeline that immediately blew up in his face.
And there the truth sat before him. Most lesbians have no desire to be locked in a culture war with transgender women for the benefit of Linehan, nor do they feel compelled to exist in a state of perpetual unrest beneath the shared umbrella of LGBT activism simply to pander to his blatant bigotry. Most women know that Linehan’s rapid fire attacks on transgender women are not motivated by any desire to protect them, but instead to exact his own brand of vengeance and ceaseless bullying of an already vulnerable group of innocent people.
They refused to co-sign his targeted hatred or enable what has become a disturbing obsession Linehan has with transgender women altogether. Make note- Linehan never references transgender men in his missives which only further exposes his explicit interest in transgender women. He has mocked the disproportionate number of transgender suicides, berated lesbians who stand in support of transgender women and launched a barrage of scathing insults toward women who question his unhealthy fixation with trans women altogether claiming they are “Siding with their oppressors”
The reality is, women do not require Graham Linehan or any man to push them from their own platform so that he can do the talking for them. Nor do they require informing on what they should be worried about or who they should rail against. Linehan, despite it being demonstrated for him over and over again via his own vanity polls, refuses to concede that women are smart enough to speak for themselves. He prefers to believe women are fragile and dim-witted, so they must need him.
But, it is Linehan that needs them, actually. His efforts to develop a fanbase around his manufactured “Truths” intended to provoke outrage among women and lesbians while grooming them for his own makeshift war against transgender folks only elevates his status and serves his very personal agenda. He does this while convincing his followers that he is doing it for them… and that is masterful deception.
There is only one individual here guilty of misogyny and it isn’t your transgender neighbor… It’s Graham Linehan. The Alex Jones of the LGBT world- and he’s not even LGBT. He simply enjoys spewing rhetoric, complaining about transgender women and encouraging lesbians to pick up their proverbial swords to fight us so he can sit back and watch from his lofty perch. But even the worst of our society has varied on their targets. Katie Hopkins, for example, has said abhorrent things about everyone from overweight people to immigrants. Linehan, however, has zeroed in on one community with an alarming intensity, and he’s using women as his pawns.
Most recently, we’ve seen the proposal to remove us of from inclusions beneath the 1964 Civil Rights Act which will, consequentially, expose to to further acts of violence, discrimination and harassment. In a memo that was leaked to the Washington Post which had been drafted and amended by four judicial branches, the Department of Justice, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor since early 2018, it stated that the Obama Administration, by force “…wrongfully extend(ed) civil rights to people who should not have had them.”
The latest series of attacks came from all sides, fast and furious. In true Trump fashion, so many other stories dominated the headlines that the conversation, the outrage, the backlash disappeared within days, buried. This is truly the era where it seems impossible to keep up or even stay proactive when something new arises every day, provoking more shock, more fear and more cultural division.
But, transgender Americans were watching this election from the edge of their seats. We knew that the unfolding results had direct implications on our lives, our safety, our security and our future ability to thrive in this nation as an equal. There were throngs of cheers as Democrats swept the House of Representatives, but that alone cannot protect us from the political missiles ready to launch in our direction.
The House of Representatives has several powers assigned to it, including financial oversight, introducing or reforming revenue bills and even the ability to impeach a federal official- yes, they can move to impeach the President. However, what passes through the House must also pass through Senate… and if you, like millions of others, watched the election results come in on November 6th, you know that Republicans not only maintained control of the Senate, but picked up two seats.
The Senate can block every effort that the House of Representatives makes. This is the dark reality of having two branches each run by opposing factions. They don’t care about the issues as much as they care about keeping score. They vote with each other, not against each other. They are more like National Sports teams than a body intended to represent everyday folks like you and me. We must accept there is no bipartisan effort in government.
We trans folks and our allies can fight these immeasurably damaging lawmakers all the way to the Supreme Court, but Trump has been ahead of the ball, stacking the bench with Conservative Judges- and one specifically, Justice Kavanaugh, is very eager to please the President who defended him against multiple sexual assault claims to ensure his confirmation- a decision made by Senators who, unsurprisingly, voted along party lines to put him there for the duration of his lifetime despite evidence he may have perjured himself during his testimony.
It’s been hard for the nation to stay on course, however, with so many minorities coming under fire by Trump Administration and the venomous candidates he has devoted the last two years campaigning across the country for. Amidst blatant voter suppression, bombs sent to leaders of the Democratic Party by a Trump loyalist, more devastating gun violence, the latest at a Country and Western Bar in Thousand Oaks, California marking the 307th mass shooting since the beginning of the year, it’s easy for us to get lost in the chaos.
And it is chaos. The entire Nation is reeling.
As a Transgender person, I get a lot of critical feedback. Some are polite and some are violent threats. The argument most often posed to me is this:
Many people say; “There are just too few of you to matter.”
They can’t even agree on how many of us there are. All our detractors care about is there being more of “Them” than there are of “Us.” Those are the politics this administration relies on. Them vs. Us.
Everywhere you look, the Trump administration is starting a war on people. Their goal is to keep everyone scattered. Like a pride of Lions attacking a herd of wild buffalo, they keep the attacks coming with a rapid intensity, thus there is no time to organize against or even react to the last. They go for who they perceives as the weakest first. It is not unnatural, if you are a member of any of the disenfranchised communities that have suffered as a result of this cancerous presidency, to be concerned for your own fate or be hyper-focused on issues that explicitly target you. It’s hard to be angry with others for having already moved on from the discussion of my civil rights. That only happened two weeks ago, although it feels like years by now. As a social activist, or, more accurately, a humanist, it’s a challenge to determine where my own efforts are best served. Every day it feels like a new crisis and another marginalized community in need of our collective acknowledgment and more importantly, our compassion as acts of hate are emboldened and then escalated by Presidential rhetoric. He winds up his base with lies and fuels their white, cisgender, heterosexual anxieties over sharing spaces with people unlike themselves. He gives them a show, they give him unwavering loyalty. It isn’t entirely dissimilar to the time he was a mainstay on the World Wrestling Entertainment Stage. That was a gig Trump maintained for awhile, appealing mostly to those who enjoy watching others being kicked, punched and body slammed, but in a ring rather than at a rally. Although not a wrestler, he was combative sidebar; A character of antagonism and the audience loved him… and he loved the attention. Great entertainment for denizens of a sports bar, a tragedy for a country under his unqualified leadership.
That’s a fancy term, isn’t it? It’s actually a dangerous trend. Here’s why.
People who self-identify as “Free Thinkers” are growing in numbers at an alarming rate. From the perspective of a casual observer, these individuals parade themselves as an elite collective that have taken the proverbial red pill. To them, we live in a complex machination, a Matrix like world where all of us who possess a conscience- but not an elevated consciousness- are merely drones. We’re tendrils acting with uniform behaviors and our thoughts are not independent, but instead a reflection of some great hive mind that they, themselves, have managed to unshackle themselves from.
Everything is a lie, if you ask a Free thinker. The moon landing never happened, the Earth is flat, global mind control is plaguing society, wealthy lizard people are influencing the political direction of the Nation. To be fair, not every Free Thinker subscribes to all of these campfire conspiracy theories. Some adopt a decidedly different tactic and attempt to legitimize their attempt to swing away from reality using faux science and pack mentality. They find pockets of people who claim the Free-Thinker badge and spoon feed each other misinformation, propaganda and radical hyperbole as they enable each other’s further untethering from logic.
Throughout the decades, Free Thinkers came in various forms; Some were simply anarchists, interested in mostly in rebuking power and authority figures. Some were social rebels fighting against man-made traditions, cultural constructs and heavily embedded world views we accepted without resistance. They regarded themselves as uniquely informed and inarguably correct. With that gift of awareness that eluded most others, they perceive themselves as superior to the rest of us simpletons; Us worker ants trapped in a never-ending mechanism of primal habit and indoctrination, effectively blind to our own slavery of automated responses and thought.
There is something disturbing about today’s emergence of those who dub themselves Free Thinkers and that lies in the fact that they are functioning based on emotion, not thought, not logic, not facts. Science is abandoned, truths are a burden and reality, as it irrefutably exists doesn’t anymore thus is open to debate. This deviation from reason; This departure from the tangible world and its myriad of functions- they shirking of these things they embrace as a form of liberation.
It’s not liberation. It’s a wanton desire so impermeable that they have accepted a grotesque distortion of a fantasy in order to cope with adversity or appear as if they’ve been delivered some vast insight into the secrets of the universe that science has somehow missed altogether. They know things that even the most intelligent of our species clearly missed as we are prisoners of a singular structure. We do what we are allowed. We think within the boundaries of the thought police. We fear being detached from some make-shift mother organism and developing our own self governance or manifesting an unaided perspective or untainted opinion.
Many times we dismiss those who self-identify as “free Thinkers” as wild haired neurotics living in houses of tin foil. Some might say that Einstein was free-thinker, or Benjamin Franklin who went out into a lightening storm with a kite connected to a conductive wire. Bystanders surely though that was indisputably crazy. Maybe you could argue that Da Vinci whose genius allowed him access to experimentation and the development of new concepts. None of them dismissed reality, but by their very acceptance of it, they maneuvered to re-shape it.
These are not the Free-Thinkers of today. Today, free thinkers are, in fact, eager to place themselves in the shackles of control while convincing themselves that they’re actually absolving themselves of them. Kanye West, for example, a black man who has often defined himself as a free-thinker, aligned himself with his own oppressor. He deliberately omitted all cogniscence of social conditions in an effort to appear rebellious and exalted when he was actually handing his own fate to a man who, historically, would have refused him basic human rights. He expressed absolute disinterest in was was unquestionably bad for him- and all black Americans, with the intent of appearing separated from those of us who sat in disbelief.
“You wouldn’t do this, but look at me, everyone is telling me not to, but I am! I don’t do what everyone else does! I’m not a sheep! I’m a free thinker!”
No. You’ve been radicalized enough to declare yourself your own enemy. That’s not being a free thinker or indicative of any heightened awareness; That’s self sabotage. That’s intentionally wounding yourself while the world watches, hoping that we’ll believe your proclaimed divinity will keep you alive as you bleed out in front of a man who would have happily done that on your behalf. Abandoning common sense, refuting what we know to be true or false to aggrandize yourself isn’t free thinking… that’s one letting their own ego obstruct their judgement. It’s not innovating new concepts or ideas. It’s not pioneering new paths or demonstrating things we have never before seen or considered.
The fact they have developed their own organization to legitimize their ostentatious ignorance and people have subscribed to it is only evidence of an inherent need some humans have to be, not just informed, but specially informed, like Moses standing atop Mount Sinai receiving a Godly message. They want to be recognized as a people set apart from the rest of us… just because it provides them a message or a purpose. It turns an otherwise ordinary life experience into an extraordinary mission of delivering what we now call alternative facts.
Many who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election viewed themselves as free-thinkers. That superhero-like free thought gave them the courage to rebuff their responsibility to their fellow Americans, to break the establishment, which they accept as bad, and turn it on its head. It was all about the ego of influencing change via the power they recklessly wielded at the polls. Vote for the reality television star, they thought, he’ll destroy the system and set us all free from ruin. Trump brilliantly played to that demographic; Those whose ego inevitably hamstrings their discernment. They operated under the impression that they were Trump’s chosen. The promises he made appealed directly to their prejudices and fears. He represented everything that went against what we know to be good; Equality, due process, freedom of the press and he conjured up a monolithic adult version of a boy’s club in a tree house. The red hat grants you access. It is the equivalent of the white hood, but they don’t see it that way. Falling into ranks behind a chest thumping tribal chieftain of the Republican party wasn’t flipping the middle finger to the system or executing free thought… it was, despite what they’ll tell you, an abandonment of civility and refusal to co-exist peacefully with others as they see themselves as superior. Because Free-Thinkers all see themselves as operating on a different plane of wisdom and expanded knowledge… in this case, we’re all left to pay the consequences for the mass hysteria the ensues.
There is an undeniable confusion that free-thinkers suffer from, and that is their inability to tell the difference between being an individual and being a revolutionary. Revolutionaries were the true free thinkers. Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King, the Wright brothers, Rosa Parks, Sylvia Rivera, the people who changed the world by changing minds and expanding our scope of appreciating the experiences of those who are not like us. They weren’t peddling conspiracies or burning down their own houses to demonstrate on behalf of those who would have done it for them. They did express free thought by shedding dismissing knowledge and suppressing their awareness of social evolution to give credibility to those who hoped to thwart it. They fought for a better world and an improved quality of life. They were not these absent-minded, hate motivated rebellious teenagers who balked at things like research, hard-line evidence and preached against a common good, they were indeed revolutionaries who challenged social injustices they knew were corrupt and removed them of their self sovereignty.
Free thinkers want to set themselves on fire to push back against those they deem controllers. Revolutionaries simply want to empower and inspire the rest of the world to make it a better place. They were devoted to a cause, as where free thinkers are mere followers of a mythical design and devoted only to self interest.
In the end, they only hurt themselves. We must rely on the revolutionaries to save us from the self appointed free thinkers.
Every Republican in Senate voted to install Dreiband into the seat of civil rights control, while every Democrat voted against his confirmation, claiming he had done nothing more than devote his entire career to enabling discrimination and inciting hatred toward minorities. Given that the house and Senate are controlled by Republicans, their effort to stop his appointment was in vain. He was confirmed with a 52–45 vote.
Yesterday, the New York Times revealed that Trump had laid his crosshairs on the civil rights of Transgender people with the intention of removing all remaining protections under the civil rights act, exposing us to a broad scope of discriminatory acts would, by consequence, be sanctioned by the White House. We would be legally denied housing, employment, education and would possess no freedoms, equalities or benefits of the justice system. The 14th Amendment of the US Constitution which reads;
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. — The 14th Amendment: Section 1
Would no longer apply to us.
The previous appointment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was integral in this movement to marginalize transgender Americans. With a bench composed predominantly of conservatives, any appeal made on behalf of LGBT people would likely be denied as the scales of justice in America’s highest court have tipped to favor religion over equality.
This cunning plan has long been in the making, both Kavanaugh and Dreiband have played a vital role in putting it in motion. To be clear, Trump’s aggressive campaigning for both men was not simply a matter of ego, but essential to the agenda of his administration in achieving the ultimate goal of dismantling the civil rights act to exclude transgender people and, most certainly in the near future, gay people as well.
Despite his public antics and face-palming buffoonery, Donald Trump’s words may be his own, but his policies have the fingerprints of Mike Pence and John Kelly all over them… and both of them work closer with Trump’s nemesis, Jeff Sessions, than Trump himself ever would. Still, somehow, Sessions planted the seeds that would ensure the excision of Trans people from civil rights and basic protections and with the help of John Kelley and Mike Pence, it was given the presidential stamp of approval.
What remains most disturbing about this administration is how calculated their efforts have been to build their own impenetrable wall around themselves to ensure every move they make avoids blockading. From nominating judges to installing hate-motivated leaders in top positions, they thwart any potential intervention by democrats, even in the nations Supreme Court which they now, unquestionably, control indefinitely.
Even if democrats win the house majority in the mid-term elections, they enter their positions in shackles created by this administration; Ineffective, in fact, nearly powerless.
The new policies to remove all protections, recognition and inclusion in the 1964 Civil Rights act has been discreetly being drafted since February.
I wish I could say with any confidence that I never expected this, but it would require that I dismiss two years of a war waged on transgender people. From late night tweets declaring a ban on transgender service members to the banning of the very word “Transgender” in any missives from the Center for Disease Control to the White House to the founding of the US Department of Human Services new Religious Freedom and New Conscience Division, I knew these were mere omens of much darker things to come.
It feels impossible. I said to myself those words. “That will never happen.” Other people reinforced that. “Don’t worry, that will never happen.” But, as religious radicals and a venomously bigoted president took control of every branch of government, it became increasingly difficult to console myself simply by turning a blind eye to the rapidly developing reality.
Some might say that it’s just the political game. Others, like myself, perceive it as a gaslighting of Americans. A masterful manipulation in which a power hungry elite align with each other for the sole purpose of protecting themselves from accountability and to preserve a narrow world view.
A world view in which people like me have no place. That fact has become increasingly evident throughout the duration of Donald Trump’s presidency. Both the President and Vice President, the deeply religious Mike Pence, have been the keynote speakers at the hate group rally Value Voters Summit which hosts hellfire and brimstone preachers who have proposed criminalizing homosexuality and even setting gays on fire as they distributed hateful propaganda.
The president is addressing the Values Voter Summit today. Here’s what they’re giving guests in a swag bag: “The Hazards of Homosexuality
So, was I surprised to wake up to the alarming memo leaked to the New York Times that detailed with great precision the argument to excise transgender people from society by making us vulnerable to greater threats of violence, religious persecution, acts of discrimination and attempting to legitimize the stripping of our basic civil rights?
No. I wasn’t. I hoped beyond all hopes that this day would never come and perhaps I allowed myself to be lulled into a sense of complacency by the comforting words repeated over and over; “That will never happen here.”
Maybe it’s my fault for allowing myself to believe that this country was, in the greater scope of things, a better place today than had been demonstrated by its past of oppression and savagery toward minorities. I was wrong.
I am disturbed by the calculated organization of this plan to viciously attack my community, already one of the most vulnerable to societal persecution and threats to our safety. It feels like we’ve been locked in a war with Trump and his thugs in suits who are reckless wielding their authority over our fate since he was elected. I’m tired. I believe we’re all tired. I am not sorry to admit that for the first time, today, I wept upon reading these words taken from the memos shared between the Department of Education, the Department of Labor, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Justice.
The argument proposed by religious evangelicals that have taken the government hostage is that we, as Transgender Americans, have had our rights and dignities allowed us forced upon an resistant body of authority by a former, liberal president. These rights and equalities, the protections given to our community were seemingly done so begrudgingly and now the new administration is eager to rescind them. Using the excuse, in spite of science proving otherwise, that there are only 2 sexes, male and female, and that they are “Unchangeable and determined by the genitals a person was born with.”
Where does this leave us? Those of us who by means of our very existence indicate otherwise? We’ll be dubbed mentally ill again. We’ll be castaway in our own nation. We’ll be forced to revise any amended birth certificates or drivers licenses that represent our gender identity in favor of identifying our genital make-up. If we do not or cannot conform to the new normal, we will be subject to great risks to our job security. Our ability to thrive as individuals will be forever compromised. As fundamental Christianity tightens it’s grasp on laws and policies emphasizing Religious Freedoms over social progress we will fall victim to further incidents of violence, possibly even murder by those who claim it was in the name of their God- and they will pay no consequence citing religious freedom. All this delivered with the Presidential stamp of approval.
Justice will no longer serve us. A trans person before a bias court will find themselves thrown into prisons according to their genital, despite the evident danger to their person. Ultimately, we will be prey for the predators who hold high seats in America. We can never go back from this.
It is difficult to hear people minimize our plight by offering up easy words and flippant pacification. Where once it was; “It will never happen here” and then it did, now it is, “Everything will be fine.” And “Don’t be afraid.” Words quite easily falling from the lips of those without a knife held to the thinning tether of their freedom. In fairness, it must be hard for those who do not experience this resistance and fall comfortably between this administrations goal posts to appear grossly disaffected by the potential consequences we now face. I’ve spent the day listening to CIS people telling me how to feel and why it looks worse than it will be.
How I feel is valid and justified. I have been fighting this moment for two years and yet, even still, here I am.
Here we are. What frightens me the most is my inability to predict where we are going now. What is the next blindsiding announcement I’ll wake up to in this frightening new world where everything that was once good is now gone. Where fear and anxiety is my own new normal. How does one reconcile teetering on the cusp of absolute erasure?
Pushing back against the tiding feelings of hopelessness and inevitable defeat is not a battle I fight alone as I know many others are dealing with the same unnerving uncertainties we face. So, I did what I do. The only thing I can do.
I know all to intimately the bleak place within that days like today can thrust us into. The sheer suddenness of it, the shock over the coordinated effort privately composed behind closed doors for nearly a year to disenfranchise us further, it causes us grave emotional damage.
All I could think to myself as I slowly processed this information was this; “I’m going to see countless trans men and women taking their own lives, even more so than we do already, afraid this very moment is an indicator of a terrifying future.” That is my greatest fear of all- that even one of us will see no value in their tomorrow. With that weighing on me, I am compelled to share this:
Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, anytime to speak to a certified counselor.
The Trevor Project has a 24/7 hotline available to anyone 1–866–488–7386
Trans Lifeline 877–565–8860 is available to counsel any Trans+ person who needs to talk.
The elevated visibility of white nationalists and emboldened religious hate groups boasting the endorsement of the Trump Administration has made the streets of America as dangerous for LGBT and people of color since the 1960’s.
In New York City, the birthplace of the LGBT movement, the epicenter of pride, the city that celebrates it’s cultural diversity and inclusion, a White Supremacy group known as Proud Boys violently attacked a group of peaceful protesters, hurling anti-gay slurs as they pummeled their victims on the sidewalk in front of a club in Manhattan’s lower East side.
This is one of those nights where things seem even more fucked up when editing/reviewing my photos. It wasn’t until I wanna editing that I realized how many fights were happening at once.
After the vicious attack which injured several bystanders, the alt-right group gathered to take a celebratory photo… and the New York City police department did nothing in response to the attack leaving many asking why. The authorities refuse to provide any answers.
Since Trump has taken office, we’ve seen the growing radicalism of his base become increasingly violent. In Charlottesville, a White Supremacist group of Trump Supporters called “Unite The Right” held a rally to demonstrate their intolerance toward LGBT and black communities. There were counter-protesters present, carrying placards and signs condemning the hatred that had shamelessly marched down the streets, parading their bigotry. Unite The Right attendees turned violent and ultimately, a riot ensued wherein they even attacked the police.
A year after the deadly attack, Unite The Right boldly applied for- and was granted- a license to hold a second rally on the anniversary of their first; This was intended to celebrate the pain, chaos and death they’d brought to their opposition. They felt they’d won.
In fact, their hate parade spawned hundreds more just like it in backwoods towns and major cities as Alt-Right extremists began developing local branches and offshoot hate groups feeling wildly confident by our Presidents refusal to condemn their racism, bigotry, xenophobia and misogyny. He referred to them as “Some fine people,” effectively providing a presidential stamp of approval.
Indeed, the president and his administration have aligned with well known evangelical based hate groups. Bother the President himself and his VP have given keynote speeches during the Voters Values Summit, a notoriously anti-gay, anti-trans collective of evangelicals who use the conference to preach that homosexuality should be criminalized, trans women are the downfall of society and they pass around shocking propaganda pamphlets. It is the first time that American leaders have shown solidarity with such divisive hate groups.
The president is addressing the Values Voter Summit today. Here's what they're giving guests in a swag bag: "The Hazards of Homosexuality
Some LGBT and people of color are understandably afraid. We have every right to be afraid. The direction that America is going has the potential to have a devastating effect on our communities. Our healthcare will be compromised, given Trump has founded the Division of Religions Freedom and Moral Conscience that will allow medical professionals to refuse us treatment based solely on our sexual orientation or gender identity. Trump has effectively banned the word “Transgender” and “Vulnerable people” from any missives between the White House and the CDC. He has tried multiple times to ban Transgender people from serving in the military. His Zero Tolerance policy resulted in the separation of immigrant families at the border and babies locked in cages.
It is a perfectly reasonable emotional response to be frightened about what the future holds as we approach mid-term elections. Whether or not democrats win the house, the split down the middle of the nation and dramatically opposing world views will likely provoke only more discord and social chaos as the conservative retaliate, likely claiming the results are rigged if they don’t prove favorable. The violence will intensify and the targets that have been painted on the backs of people of color and the LGBT community will only invite more aggression from neo-nazi’s who will be outraged at the prospect of a political loss of power having exposed themselves so unapologetically. They can’t simply disappear again.
We are in danger. Our public safety is on the line. Our ability to thrive in society is being unceremoniously challenged. We’re witnessing, nearly every day, more examples of hate motivated crimes. 2018 has been a record year in murders of Transgender women and of black men killed by police authorities. We have no reason to expect that winning the midterm election will result in a sudden ebbing of such radical and violent behaviors toward our people.
We are not afraid because we are “Snowflakes” or possess a weak nature. We are not afraid because we aren’t being catered to or getting things our way. Our protections have mostly been redacted anyway. We’re afraid because we’re being systematically disenfranchised and subject to cruel and inhumane treatment that is being sanctioned by government leaders. Equality seems to be slipping further away rather than nearer to our grasp. Between anti-trans bathroom bills intended to alienate us by identifying us according to what bathroom we use and Christian adoption agencies preferring children in their care go without loving families rather than be adopted by gay parents, we’re being pushed further to the fringes of society. Our culture is regressing to an era wherein we must live our truths in secret, if only to guarantee our survival in hostile territory.
It is not an exaggeration to say that a culture war has been waged upon us, and the government is on the side of our opponents.
The question is often asked; How do these Christians see Donald Trump as such a paragon of virtue? He’s an adulterer, a habitual liar, his arrogance remains astounding. What has created this unique marriage of interests that warrants the the unwavering support by Christians of a man who is the absolute antithesis of their own values? The answer is simple.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
We are that described enemy.
We have received the messages they are sending loud and clear. There’s nothing wrong for experiencing fear, anger, even feeling anxiety, depression and agitation as we wait to what lies in wait. The seeds of chaos and targeted bigotry have been sewn. We’re watching it happen. Its easy for those who have never been subject to persecution to feel lulled into a privilege of comfort and security, thereby dismiss us as reactionary and irrational when we express our fear. They’re not in our shoes.
They have nothing at risk. There will be no marches down their street intended to protest their existence. There will be no Senators introducing bills that debate their human rights and dignities. This is not their fight, thus the implications are easily rejected.
This is our fight. We haven’t invited it. We’d rather not have to do it. We also understand we have no choice. Again.
We’re standing in the very shoes of those in history who had everything to lose and risked it all anyway…
They didn’t do that just so that we’d had to find ourselves in the same battle half a century later. But, here we are. That’s what we must do…
For years now we’ve listened to right wing conservatives bellow incessantly about their second amendment rights, that being the right to bare arms. They lived in a state of perpetual terror that President Obama was going send officials door to door like Avon Ladies to collect guns in a mythical mass exodus of civilian firearms.
It never happened. It was never going to happen. It was a self manifested hysteria intended to leverage something- anything- against the democratic administration. Even in the face of horrific mass shooting events that have plagued the nation, not a single member of the administration attempted to revise or retract the second amendment.
They did propose regulations to thwart the increasing frequency of unlicensed gun ownership. They did propose more aggressive background checks on those attempting to own firearms. They did propose the removal of military grade weapons from the marketplace because who needs rapid firing military weapons if not in pursuit of a deadly purpose? Who wants those types of machine guns floating around or easy to obtain?
In American, we experience more deadly mass shootings than any other modernized nation. We also boast the most lenient gun laws, and that has been reflected repeatedly and to devastating effect in Aurora, Colorado, Newton, Connecticut, Orlando, Florida, Santa Barbara, California, Las Vegas, Nevada. Everywhere from shopping malls to elementary schools, from music concerts to college campuses, we have seen the consequences of our cavalier attitude toward heavy arsenal and ammunition.
I found it incredibly telling that Donald Trump has decided that protesters, who have been the bane of his presidency since the indelibly corrupt 2016 election, should be criminalized. He wants to make the act of peaceful protesting illegal. Ironically, protesting is an exercising of multiple constitutionally protected rights; Both in the form of Freedom of Speech and the Right to Assemble covered by the first amendment.
In the past he has classified all of those Americans who have protested his divisive, dangerous policies as paid actors; An effort to discredit anyone who disagree with him or simply dislikes him. He has attempted to convince his adoring fanbase that all those who protest him are, ultimately, fake. Same with news agencies that don’t beam adoringly over him. “Fake News!” His ego will not allow him to accept that there are people who find his racist, misogynistic, behavior despicable, his politics of “Them vs. Us” malignant, and his leadership unqualified. Still, there exists a disturbing yet persistent delusion that it is impossible for anyone to genuinely object to his presidency.
Unlike with guns and the bizarre, self-manufactured, legitimately fake war against them, similarly to the legitimately fake “War on Christmas” that never existed but even still sends Republicans into hysterics every year, the Republican aren’t interested in the constitution anymore. At least, not in any context where it might be used to protect civilians from a Dictator-like leadership or hold those in power accountable for violating them.
Now, the constitution is an inconvenience. A thorn in his side. A threat to his ego.