The Future Of Trans Americans Still Hangs In The Balance

It’s easy to get excited about the House Of Representatives becoming majority Democrat, but what does that really mean?

For transgender people, the last two years have exposed us to a steady onslaught of relentless attacks. From fear-mongering televised advertisements that posture us as inevitable sex predators to rile of the evangelical voters, to the attempted ban on transgender people serving in the military, the ban of the word “Transgender” or “Vulnerable people” in any missives between the CDC and the White House, the redactions of protections for transgender students in public schools and college campuses. Then came the establishment of the United States Department of Health and Human Services founding a new branch called The New Conscience and Religious Freedom Division intended to allow medical caregivers the right to refuse treatment to LGBT individuals citing their religious convictions.

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.

Within days, Trump appointed renowned anti-LGBT attorney Eric Dreiband to the head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division who immediately sent a directive to the United States Supreme Court saying trans identifying people can now be fired without legal recourse.

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.

Even before all the votes had been counted, the future for transgender Americans began to look more bleak when Trump demanded the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions– who was, himself, notoriously anti-LGBT- and appointed a younger, more bigoted version of Sessions in the form of Matt Whitaker. A Man who has historically weaponized his political power against LGBT people. A man who insists that Federal Judges must rule by Biblical Law.

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.

Trumpists vs. Immigrants.

Trumpists vs. Muslims

Trumpists vs. Transgender people

Trumpists vs. Women

Trumpists vs. People of Color

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.

For several years there has been talk about developing an Equalities Act, one akin to that already adopted by the United Kingdom in 2010. Again, for that to ever see the light of day, it would have to pass Senate. It does not, sadly, rely solely on the House of Representatives. In Senate, transgender Americans have absolutely no representation. While several trans candidates were elected to local and state offices, Vermont’s Christine Hallquist is the first trans person to win a Gubernatorial primary, but lost in the race Tuesday night. She immediately expressed her concerns for the future of transgender Americans and their potential loss of more rights.

The Department of Health and Human Services has already moved to replace references to “Gender” with “Sex” as they have decided- behind closed doors as the world spun off its axis and we were all distracted- that sex is binary and gender identity that contradicts genital does not exist, nor will it be acknowledged by government agencies despite scientific evidence that anatomy does not determine gender. This reformation of policies, not just from the Obama era, but as far back as 1964, will have far reaching implications, including limiting or removing our right to vote given that some are arguing the constitution directly references sex, not gender, and some have had their government documents amended to reflect their gender identity, not their birth assigned gender. If Republicans succeed in their efforts to remove insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, that will undoubtedly include those diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Suddenly, transgender people could find themselves without affordable access to medications vital to their health and emotional well being. Those in the House of Representatives claim they will prevent this when they assume office in January, 2019.

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Kanye, Flat Earthers and the Rise of Free Thinkers

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.

Gay or Trans Republicans, black people joining groups of white nationalists, people insisting the Earth is flat just to feel they’ve gone against the grain and that somehow makes them special. Listening to flat-Earthers attempt to provide evidence that the planet is disc-shaped and the shocking confidence they have in their presentation of a shared delusion is not only bizarre, but deeply disturbing.

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.

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The First Step Has Been Taken In Plan To Revoke Civil Rights From Transgender Americans

The policy that has been secretly drafted over the last 9 months meticulously laid out a plan of actions to exclude transgender people from inclusion in the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

It comes in the form of the official confirmation of Eric Dreiband, Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.

If you recognize Dreiband’s name, it’s because he fought the state of North Carolina to honor the notorious anti-trans bathroom bill that would prevent transgender students from using public facilities in their own schools. His bigotry wasn’t restricted to the trans community, however. The bigoted lawyer also challenged every local government in his state that attempted to pass anti-discrimination laws that targeted the LGBT community and women.

He fought for revisions in the Affordable Care Act that would enable medical providers to cite their faith-based objections in discriminating against LGBT people. Although that effort was originally denied, it was later implemented in the shape of the newly formed Religious Freedom and New Conscience Division of the Department of Health and Human Services.

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.

It was a year ago, in fact, that Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave us the first glimpse of things to come when he openly stated that the civil rights act did not protect people based on sexual orientation or gender identity. At the time, most just brushed his statements off as the same brand of ignorance that this current administration has become known for. Of course, Sessions has a sinister history of attempting to obstruct the voting rights of black and latinx Americans and has openly longed for a complete gutting of the civil rights act. Just a few months after that, Diana Flynn, a former senior official at the Justice Department, resigned from her position, saying that the department was in the process of pursuing what she determined as detrimental rollbacks to LGBT rights.

How did we not see this coming?

More importantly, what can we do about it now? If we’re to give credit to anyone for executing such a malignant plot, it isn’t Trump alone. Often, The Presidents primary puppeteer is his Vice President, the hyper-religious zealot Mike Pence- who also actively attempted to suppress minority voting in his home state of Indiana during the 2016 election– and Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, who has been recorded saying of the white house staff, “The staff and everyone on the staff work for me, not the President.”

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.

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Transgender Americans Awoke to Find Ourselves on the Cusp of Eradication

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.

All this preceding the blatant perversion of American Democracy by Republicans so hellbent on maintaining power that they’ve reduced themselves to suppressing minority votes, mass purging registrations, closing voting polls in majority black or latinx districts and moving them miles away from any access to public transport in order to obstruct their path to the polls. This hasn’t been done quietly, nor has it been done with a shred of remorse. Why? Because those overseeing these corrupted midterm elections are the same people running for seats of power. These politicians that are aggressively skewering the results are the same men that our President is endorsing- even when, during a time not so long ago, some were bitter enemies that he deemed liars and frauds. Now, he’s their greatest ally. Right, “Lyin’ Ted?”

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.

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 spoke.

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

Trans Lifeline 877–565–8860 is available to counsel any Trans+ person who needs to talk.

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It’s Okay For LGBT People To Be Afraid In Post Trump America

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.

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.

Unite The Right — A White Nationalist Group

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.

Unite The Right Members attack the Police in Charlottesville, NC on August 11 2017

In one of the darkest moments, they brutally beat an black bystander and Neo-Nazi James Fields decided to weaponize his vehicle and plow it into the crowd of protesters that left 32-year-old Heather Heyer dead and dozens more injured.

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.

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…

… And it’s okay to be afraid.

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Trump Efforts to Ban Protests Proves The Constitution is Negotiable When Inconvenient

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.

In the dark aftermath of each bloodbath, Republicans, many financially backed by the National Rifle Association, come forward immediately in defense of guns and, predictably, they start reciting the Second Amendment.

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.

However, Donald Trump loathes criticism. It’s no secret that the American President experiences an emotional meltdown whenever he is mocked or challenged. He has made sure to clarify that his hands are, indeed, normal size hands. His hair is real. He is a self-made billionaire. He is the healthiest president in the history of presidents. He’s done more for the country than any former president has. Most of these statements he has made in response to the press are contradictory to demonstrable facts. Facts, however, are irrelevant to this President. Optics are everything. He has an egotistical desire to control perspective of his image, and if he is not exalted as anything but the greatest human male specimen, the best in every form and fashion, he launches into a public tirade. Sometimes at the White House podium, sometimes on twitter.

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.

Thus, he believes it should be illegal.

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.

As far right as the United States government has shifted, the threat to our democracy is growing more evident with every baby caging, trans banning, travel banning, woman hating, law making in the name of Christianity, and we should be terrified.

The truth, despite the president’s own protestations, is undeniable.

It is also his worst enemy.

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Black and Latinx Democratic Votes Are Being Suppressed In Multiple States

Nearly 60,000 votes in Georgia, primarily representing black voices by at least 70%, have been placed on indefinite hold or completely purged.

How did this happen? In true Trump Fashion, Georgia’s current Secretary Of State, Republican Brian Kemp, hurriedly passed an “Exact Match” policy. The policy immediately purges all registrations with even the slightest discrepancies from public record, such as hyphenations in surnames, misspelled street names or those have recently moved within the state but haven’t updated a government record. Investigative journalist Greg Palast that Indiana has ultimately purged an overwhelming 469,000 voters, collectively.

Brian Kemp has a strong motivation to repress the votes in primarily black counties, especially given his democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, was polling surprising well in the staunch red state.

Abrams also happens to be a black woman.

Current Georgia Secretary Of State Brian Kemp and his Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams

Rather than risk the possibility of a record turn out for black Americans during the midterms, Kemp decided to take no chances and instituted the last-minute policy as a deliberate voter deterrent and, in many cases complete disqualification of votes.

It seems this is becoming a terrifying trend as Indiana, home of Vice President Mike Pence who is famous for intentionally suppressing votes in majority black communities over and over, has purged 469,000 voter registrations as of today. This was done in in violation of a June 2018 federal court order that barred the state from using an Interstate Crosscheck purge list sent to state officials by Kris Kobach, Secretary of State of Kansas who Vice President Pence has voraciously endorsed despite his questionable ethics.

“Exact Match” Policy author Kris Kobach, accused of suppressing minority votes has been endorsed by Trump

The move to unjustly alienate American citizens from participating in the upcoming elections by Kris Kobach, especially people of color, resulted in the NAACP and the League of Women Voters filing a lawsuit, which they won. Kobach, however, carried on with his voter purge anyway.

In Ohio, U.S. District Judge George C. Smith rejected a suit brought against the state by voter’s rights groups who stated that a politically bias purge has resulted the removal of countless registrations from it’s polls. The groups deemed the purge as a violation of constitutional rights, but the Judge upheld the States policy anyway.

Republicans tried doubly hard to stop the Black vote in Alabama as Trump tried to push through accused pedophile Roy Moore to a Senate win- it didn’t work. Women and people of color turned out in record numbers to elect his opponent Doug Jones instead. They alone carried Jones to victory in the traditionally unwavering red state. Moore was so outraged over the loss in spite of having President Trump’s endorsement that he refused to concede.

Republicans around the country realize that they could potentially suffer grave damage as a consequence for two horrific years of emboldened racism, misogyny and bigotry under the the Trump Administration. In response to this, we have seen a record number of women candidates, racially diverse candidates and LGBT candidates running for seats across all branches of government at both state and federal levels. There is no question that if every minority community across the Nation stood against the divisive and dangerous Republican regime, they could win, thus Republicans in office seem to be resorting to extreme measures to protect their positions.

In New York City, 28 year old Puerto Rican Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sent shockwaves through the political terrain when she won the Democratic primary in New York’s 14th congressional district defeating the incumbent Congressman, Joe Crowley, for a seat he held since 2013.

Last year, Virginia’s Danica Roem became the first transgender woman to win a seat in senate, ousting Robert G. Marshall, the very man who authored the controversial anti-trans bathroom bill.

This election will determine the long-term fate of America’s future generations, and given how vital this midterm is, Republicans seem willing to throw the democratic process under the bus to maintain power at any cost.

That cost, of course, will come at the expense of women, people of color and the LGBT communities.

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Republicans Go Into Crisis Mode After Taylor Swift Endorses Democrats. Really.

In the two years that has been mostly comprised of headlines I never thought I’d read, it seems there’s little left in politics that manages to stir any element of surprise anymore. Donald Trump is President after 19 sexual harassment allegations. We’ve had alt-right Nazi’s referred to as “Some fine people.” There are babies in cages, an effort to ban transgender Americans from serving in the military, an FBI cover-up to place a conservative Supreme Court Judge nominee at the President’s behest. We’ve had adult film stars who’ve had affairs with Trump take center stage, Kim Kardashian taking meetings in the Oval Office, and now her (in)famous husband, Kanye West, will be too.

Since Trump took office in 216, American has flipped upside down. What was once good- things like equality and inclusion, is now bad. Racism and misogyny seem to be the new normal as Republicans aggressively push their divisive agendas.

It wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect that morale among Republican candidates running for seats during November’s mid-term elections is high. The President has traveled across the country, hitting every small town and backwoods village off the beaten path in pursuit of amassing an army of followers. Trump and those who serve in his party have openly bragged about their perceived invincibility, even in the face of nationwide protests.

It’s true that Republican confidence is at a record high. Sadly, the rest of us have witnessed the consequences of that as instances of hate based violence and attacks on minorities have increased exponentially as the conservative alignment evolves more into a Trump cult than a political party.

Who would have thought that pop music phenom Taylor Swift would strike such fear into the hearts of these conservative men and women on Capitol Hill, but she has.

On October 7th, a little less than a month before the midterms, the Grammy winning artist did something she’s never done before. She got political.

She demonstrated a democratic leaning, and condemned Tennessee conservative Republican Candidate Marsha Blackburn who had been the State front runner for Senate. Swift spoke of the necessity for equality, pointing out injustices that have politically targeted women, the LGBT community and people of color.

So, maybe you’re rolling your eyes. Another celebrity airing their political persuasions in public. It’s not uncommon. How many times have inconvenienced Republicans moaned about these famous democrats and their ridiculous desire for fairness and equal justice in an upended society?

Except, in the case of Swift, the impact was very real. For starters, she was speaking to an audience of over 110 Million people. She has more followers than former president Barack Obama who clocks in at 103 million and more than double that of President Donald Trump. Her reach is formidable, to say the least. Given these politicians often just preach to their own choir of voters who already know who they’re voting far, a reach into new territory is everything.

Much of the audience that Swift reaches via her social media is a largely untapped demographic- people between the ages of 18–24, many who have never voted before. In fact, our political system makes it intentionally difficult for college students who study away from home to register to vote. In the last election, the majority of them didn’t. The Republicans relied heavily on this.

After Swift’s Instagram post, logged a record 65,000 new registrations - in less than 24 hours.

Republicans have gone into red alert status, now. Many have come out and denied, despite the facts to the contrary, that Swift’s statement has any influence. They also want their base to believe that, while Swift’s fans may have mobilized for a minute, they’re too young and easily distracted to carry through with the process of actually voting. They’re hoping that the surge of registrations marks only an act of child-like impulse, provoked by a pop star idol, and by November, they will have forgotten all about it.

While it remains without question that Taylor Swift flexed quite the impressive political muscle during these times of hardship, especially for women, it is yet to be seen whether it will have any impact on the November election results.

In any case, Republicans are scrambling to find an impact equal to that which they’ve just taken…

That’s about the only equality that matters to them.

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