KC Clements lays out one of the attempted rebrandings of anti-trans political strategy, one that has even hoodwinked many liberals–the notion that “””trans activists””” (all the scare quotes) are enemies of free speech.
It’s bullshit too, even if more people fall for it.
Citizen GO is a conservative Christian mirror of sites like Change.org. The organization, which seeks to politically activate primarily young folks and college students on the right, appears to have co-opted their tactics from progressive social justice movements. For example, Citizen GO emphasizes its adherence to “rationality” and “biology” as opposed to “ideological dogmas,” defining itself as a small grassroots collective, and developing its base through social media, petitions, and hashtags. In short, despite being rooted in the promotion of a privileged positionality — namely cisgender heterosexuality — Citizen GO likes to fancy itself the underdog, the oppressed.
This support of free speech is how Citizen GO justifies its intolerant views. Actions of protesters who came out against the bus and were, for the most part, acting well within their First Amendment rights to peaceful assembly and protest, are described by Citizen GO as violent, intolerant bullies. Painting themselves as the victim, Citizen GO writes, “All we ask for is respect for our views and the opportunity to voice them in accordance with the First Amendment.”
The campaign plays on the public’s tendency to fear the other, and it has done so by overstating the power and the scope of said other. Citizen GO understands the insistence on rights for trans people as “gender ideology dogma,” a tactic which fails to consider the cultural context in which the White House is actively stripping away our protections (including, yesterday, making a move to do away with a trans-inclusive health-care rule). When trans people are seen not as victims of violence and discrimination, but as violent radical ideologues and bullies who pose a threat to the right to free speech, people who harbor transphobic beliefs feel even more empowered to cling to them.
Read more here.