The title of this week’s newsletter is borrowed from Mike Figueredo of The Humanist Report. In his video from May 6, he takes a look at a clip of Florida State Rep. Jeff Holcomb trying to explain that the United States isn’t as homophobic as “terrorist groups” that throw gay people off of buildings. While that kind of a metaphor is akin to saying, “I shot you in the foot, but at least it wasn’t your kneecap,” what’s worse is that Holcomb said, “They hate homosexuals more than we do.”
Figueredo, while smirking because it is truly hilarious when they tell on themselves, said Holcomb and his party continue to “say the quiet part loud.” We see this with far-right media pundits like Matt Walsh and Michael Knowles (as described by In These Times), and we see the same rhetoric and explicit hatred in the 471 anti-LGBTQ+ state bills that have been introduced in 2023 alone. They’ve been saying the quiet part out loud for quite some time. It’s glaring. But the more we view trans and LGBTQ+ rights as a partisan issue, the more we overlook the disinformation campaign at play and the further we move along the path to genocide. In case you missed my last newsletter, have a look at my breakdown of where we fall in the 10 stages of genocide.
This week, we’re going to take a look at what the GOP is saying and what they actually mean.
With that, let’s get to it.
“You Will Have Blood on Your Hands”
Just recently, the Montana legislature barred House Rep. Zooey Zephyr from speaking for the rest of the legislative session. Their reasoning was that she refused to apologize for telling the Speaker and her peers that they’ll have “blood on their hands” if they pass a bill banning gender affirming care in the state. They also claim that she started a “transurrection” because a protest broke out when the Speaker refused to let her speak. You can see a clip of Zephyr’s statement in this video by The Rational National or hear her speak to the moment in this video by The Majority Report.
In order to demonstrate the very real and tangible consequences of these bills, Zephyr recounted that one of her constituents tried to take their own life while watching proceedings about this exact bill.
A response like this is directly aimed at silencing the very community impacted by this legislation and the representative they elected to be their voice. As stated by Melissa Gira Grant in The New Republic, “As in Tennessee weeks before, when Representatives Justin Jones and Justin Pearson were expelled from the legislature over participation in a peaceful protest, the Montana House of Representatives voted to censure Zephyr merely for standing in silent support of her protesting constituents.”
They might call these representatives out for violating decorum, but what they’re enforcing is the idea that only the voices of the white, cisgender, heterosexual, patriarchal right deserve to be heard. They’re even enforcing these expulsions and silencings in the face of protest and outspoken rejection. According to Colorado Newsline, some of these rallying cries extend beyond Montana's borders. We are making decisions about people’s lives, bodies, identities, and rights to healthcare and expression, yet we’re not allowing them in the room. These actions will—and have—resulted in deaths. As Rep. Zephyr said, “I’m not being hyperbolic.”
🏳️🌈 What they’re saying: “You offended us, didn’t apologize, and started a protest, so you’re in violation of decorum.” What they really mean: “We don’t want to care about the consequences of our actions, and you vocalizing those possibilities threatens our cognitive dissonance.”
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From Children to Adults
The gender-affirming care bans were positioned as a way to “protect children,” and many of them, including the latest in Louisiana, are still being presented this way. (Read about House Bill 463 in the Louisiana Illuminator). A bill in Florida that would allow the government to kidnap trans children from affirming parents passed last week. (Here’s a piece about that from The New Republic). The GOP has portrayed its anti-trans rhetoric as a form of protection for children—in direct contradiction to numerous studies that prove gender-affirming care is life-saving—but we’re starting to see an increase in similar bills targeting adults. (You can read about one such bill in Texas in The Intercept). These kinds of actions evoke Michael Knowles’ comments that we must “eradicate transgenderism,” or Matt Walsh’s ongoing hate speech that positions trans identities as “against the truth.” To them and the rest of the right, if we delegitimize a body of people, then it’s not genocide to remove their right to exist because their existence is in direct conflict with facts.
What these arguments don’t acknowledge is their inherently fascist nature, removing people’s rights as a means of control. We can look to history to compare these moves to countless others, such as the book burning of the first trans clinic in Nazi Germany in 1933 (QueerAF). Or we can consider the U.S. Indian Boarding Schools that removed Native children from their homes and forced them to assimilate to white culture. One did not remove the Native identity from each child, but instead traumatized them, invalidated their existence, brutalized them, and in some cases, caused their deaths. Native communities still feel the ripples of these events today. We acted out of an urgency to control, and we’re doing the same thing decades later.
🏳️🌈 What they’re saying: “We’re protecting children from mutilation and adults from living a lie.” What they really mean: “We’re protecting our way of life because trans bodies and identities ”
🏳️🌈 A reminder: History repeats itself if we let it. Remember that being apolitical is a privilege. Remember that if you have never had your rights on the line, you’re in a place of privilege. Remember that if you can’t fathom having to think about this all the time, that’s a privilege. What will you do with yours?
Some Wins to Lift the Heart
❣️ In Nebraska, over 115 business owners and nonprofit leaders penned a letter denouncing anti-LGBTQ+ bills. You can read about it in the Nebraska Examiner.
❣️ In Prism, you can read about House of Tulip, a nonprofit organization aimed at uplifting trans and gender non-conforming folks in Louisiana.
❣️ According to the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, the state’s House of Representatives “passed an extension of the state’s anti-discrimination law to protect LGBTQ+ people.”
Remember that your joy is your birthright, that your existence is valid, that there’s life beyond all this.
I’ll see you in two weeks.
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