AuthorZirin, Dave

The April 16 issue of The New York Times included an article that would chill even the most cynical of leftists. Called "How a Campaign Against Transgender Rights Mobilized Conservatives," it is about how Republican operatives, public relations hacks, and careerist message makers came to settle upon the demonization of transgender people as their culture war battle du jour.

Stymied by the waning opposition to gay marriage that exists even among Republicans, they ferreted about, trying to figure out the next community to demonize. Eventually, they decided to target transgender people, regardless of the violence that is already inflicted upon them.

It was a rocky start for the right, with "bathroom bills" in North Carolina roundly defeated and mocked in 2016. This stoking of anti-trans animus proved more difficult than they had thought it would be. Then they finally found their "in," and this is where they confirm what has been transparently clear for the last several years: It would be girls' sports.

The hate machine of the far right--dark money, billionaire Nazi fetishists, think tanks, news networks--found a foothold by focusing on transgender girls in sports and the "unfair advantages" and even "threat" that they posed to cisgender girls. In many states, there are no transgender girls on sports teams, or at least none that rightwing lawmakers can name. But that didn't stop twenty-one states from enacting bans, pressuring hesitant but craven rightwing governors to sign these bans while using their political pulpit to whip up a fury. They were joined in this effort by organizations formed by self-proclaimed "liberal feminists" willing to link arms with the far right for a frenzied common goal, whose very slogan is a negation of the existence of trans women: "Keeping men out of women's sports." They abided by this alliance even when states like Kansas potentially opened the door for "sex tests" to inspect the genitals of girls to ensure they were not trans.

Well, congrats to all the folks who fight to keep trans kids from playing sports. You've unleashed a hatred you cannot control. The anti-trans sports laws, as the operatives crowed, played into issues of "parental control," which has been weaponized legislatively against gender-affirming care for minors and increasingly adults as well. It is the same framework that was used against books by writers like Toni Morrison or Anne Frank appearing in public school libraries because they made...

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