Anti-transgender fears used as wedge to drive anti-LGBTQ+ policies

The LGBTQ+ community had made great strides in recent times in gaining more equality, the chief achievements being the decriminalization of homosexual activities and the legalization of same-sex marriages. The anti-gay groups who warned that greater recognition and acceptance of equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community would lead to a collapse of civilization have seen their fear-mongering being shown to be hollow.

However, now they have seized upon using the transgender community as a vehicle for advancing their hate-filled reactionary agenda.

In Idaho, police recently found 31 members of a white supremacist group packed into the back of a U-Haul truck, apparently on their way to an LGBTQ+ pride event in the town of Coeur d’Alene.

Further west, a crew of Proud Boys interrupted a drag queen event in California, intimidating parents and children and screaming transphobic and homophobic insults. In Texas, a state plagued by anti-trans politics, a group of rightwingers screamed abuse and threatened attendees at an adults-only drag brunch.

It’s an increase, they warn, that has been spurred by Republican politicians and rightwing media, who have pushed anti-LGBTQ+ talking points and legislation that has seen the rights and safety of an already marginalized group threatened.

The Anti-Defamation League said the claim that members of the LGBTQ+ community are pedophiles has helped fuel extremism in recent weeks, and it has not escaped notice that many of the threats against LGBTQ+ people have come from white nationalist groups.

“The thing that people kind of miss in the name when we talk about white supremacy is that it’s not just about whiteness, like white people being better than everyone else. It’s about a certain kind of white person being better,” said Victoria Kirby York, deputy executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, which advocates for Black LGBTQ+ people in the US.

But despite the noise generated by the right wing, polls suggest they are at odds with the general population.

In March, a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 76% of Americans – including 62% of Republicans – favor laws that would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans from discrimination in jobs, housing and public accommodation.

Republican politicians and Fox News personalities have promoted the fostering of fears that transwomen are seeking to gain access to women in public rest rooms in order to attack them and that gay people are likely to be pedophiles seeking access to children. The former makes no sense since anyone could always attack people anywhere. Do they think that a sign on a rest room door stops male attackers and that they have to go through the process of transitioning (or pretending to) in order to get into women’s rest rooms?

The baseless pedophilia fear-mongering cynically exploits the revulsion that many people have for pedophiles. Even in prisons, pedophiles are one of the most hated groups and face the biggest risk of being beaten up by other inmates. So accusations that anyone or any group is prone to pedophilia are particularly potent.

Usually people’s fears about other people based on their characteristics is because they do not know anyone in that community because if they did, they would realize that they are no different from themselves and go about their lives just like everyone else, not like the predators they are made out to be. Surely they would hesitate to demonize someone they knew personally. So I wonder about the people who are promoting fears of the transgender community. Do they not personally know anyone who is transgender?

I personally know six people who are transgender, and I am a person who lives a very low-key life, does not get out much, and do not have a wide circle of acquaintances. So I imagine that many if not most people have at least one person (and probably more) among their relatives, friends, and acquaintances who are transgender. It is possible that they have not revealed themselves to the bigots because of their attitudes and the very real fear they have of being discriminated against or worse.

As transgender people become more visible and people realize that they are everywhere living ordinary lives, one hopes that the bigots will find even less support for their lies and hate, and that because of their hate campaign, they will experience the kind of revulsion that they are trying to create against others.


  1. Matt G says

    It’s worth noting that these same groups ignore the actual violence perpetrated against children by conservative, predominately white religious organizations such as the Catholic Church, the Mormons, the SBC, etc.

    Happy Father’s Day, Mano!

  2. anat says

    There will always be a core of bigots in any possible dimension of hate -- note how racism and antisemitism still exist, but the general public does become more accepting, and perhaps less likely to be carried away by the bigots.

  3. Allison says

    One of the problems has been that, historically, lesbian and gay organizations have not pushed back against transphobia. That is one of the reasons the 2015 repeal of the Houston anti-discrimination ordinance succeeded: the propaganda in favor of repeal use the bathroom libel to get people to agree with them, and the so-called LGBT organizations that were fighting the repeal did not adress the bathroom libel. I suspect it’s because there was and still is a lot of transphobia in the lesbian and gay communities, but also because they don’t seem to realize that what happens to trans people today will happen to mainstream gay and lesbian people tomorrow. (Cf. the famous Niemöller quotation.)

    To the bigots, it doesn’t matter if you’re gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, or what. We’re all “queers” as far as they’re concerned and all deserve to be exterminated. We must all hang together ….

  4. seachange says

    Mano asked: “Do they think that a sign on a rest room door stops male attackers and that they have to go through the process of transitioning (or pretending to) in order to get into women’s rest rooms?”


  5. charles says

    I don’t know if I know any trans people, I didn’t know any gay people until I ran into a former co-worker at a gay pride event.
    One person on Second Life told me he was trans. (Gender unknown, he was wearing a male avatar, I was using female avatar. That happens, the first person I told my not so secret secret said she was the same.)

    i have been following several trans people on Youtube since the Identity video from philosophy tube was shown here. After subscribing and viewing several of her older videos I’m happy to say I saw a lot of recent supportive comments. And a lot of questions,”Was that an egg?”

  6. friedfish2718 says

    Mr Singham’s thinking on transgenderism is shallow.
    Most serial killers are upstanding, affable, law-abiding citizens 98% of the time, the remaining 2% are killer (pun intended). Most often the parents, friends, neighbors of someone who committed a heinous crime say : “But,but, but he was such a good person!!!”
    Being transgender is not a crime and is a sign of mental disorder. Outside the areas/subjects related to sex/gender, most people (if not all) tolerate the company of transgenders.
    Taking drugs is not evil and not a crime in many places. However, a friend invites me to smoke some dope, I politely decline. The friendship remains as strong as before and does not depend on my smoking dope. The friendship is based on something other than smoking dope.
    A San Francisco 1980’s poster that I deem evil: “We do want to be tolerated, we demand to be loved!”. In the land of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, tolerance is the minimum courtesy, not love. Demanding love makes one a stalker; reminds me of the movie “Fatal Attraction”. Are the GLBT advocates into placing pet rabbits into pots of boiling water?
    I agree with Jordan Peterson that compelled speech is evil. I propose that compelled love is evil. Words coming out of GLBT advocates are much more about HATE than about LOVE, rarely (if ever) about TOLERANCE. Mr Singham’s piece and the various comments here do not use the word TOLERANCE not even once.
    In a multicultural society, tolerance is the glue, not love. With many cultures there are always areas of irreconcilable differences within which love is impossible but which tolerance is possible. Tolerance damps down passions which can explode.

  7. says

    “Trans people are like serial killers.”, says someone with the incredible gall to claim someone ELSE’S thinking is shallow.

    @Mano, please note it’s far preferable to put a space in “trans woman”/”trans man”, etc. Usages vary but right now the prevailing usage of ramming it together into a compound word is by TERFs who do it specifically to differentiate and claim trans people aren’t who they are.

  8. Mano Singham says

    abbeycadabra @#9,

    Thanks for the correction. What about ‘transgender’? Is that one word? I thought it was and that was why I was following the pattern.

  9. Mano Singham says

    I did a little digging and learned that ‘transgender’ is one word but that ‘trans woman’ and ‘trans man’ are abbreviations for ‘transgender woman’ and transgender man’ which is why they are two words.

    I hope that is correct.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *