The War on Trans is a War on Liberty

Image of Pride march.

Image by Christian Lue.

There are some very powerful people who want you to hate me, and they will tell you some very terrible things to convince you that I am your enemy and most of these things have to do with my admittedly unconventional gender identity. The anti-trans movement will tell you that my gender identity is a mental illness that poses an existential threat to the very fabric of a functioning society. They will tell you that my gender identity is a totalitarian ideology cooked up by crypto-Marxist Ivy League wonks to enslave Christians under some genderless new world order. They will even tell you that my gender identity is a perverted conspiracy to sexualize your children and groom them into compliant victims.

They will tell you pretty much anything except the fact that my gender identity is a heartfelt expression of my own individuality and when their smear campaign against me fails the multibillion-dollar machine behind the anti-trans movement will begin telling you terrible things about other people who are even more marginalized than I am to keep you scared of them becoming empowered too. In fact, they’ve already gotten started.

Every other talking point these people regurgitate seems to be a hymn to protecting children from my kind but what does the anti-trans movement really have to say about their favorite age demographic? Their propaganda paints young people as innocent, feeble-minded, dupes who lack anything in the way of agency. They would have you believe that your own children are too stupid to tell you who they are and that they should have zero expectation of privacy or free expression.

These people don’t just want any notion of the very existence of people like me to be removed from schools and public spaces, they want to transform these commons into a hyper-vigilante police state that carefully governs the conversations and behavior of young people and urges public officials to report on their movements to legal guardians like the Stasi. Basically, according to the supposed libertarians of the anti-trans movement, your civil rights do not exist until your 18th birthday and maybe not even then.

The latest target of the war on trans is the mentally disabled, in particular those who happen to find themselves on the autism spectrum. It’s actually quite the turn if you think about it. Suddenly, these braying hate-mongers care very deeply about degenerate groomers like me, they just believe that we’re all retarded whack-jobs getting played by big pharma. Their proof, if you can call it that, is the fact that a lot of trans people seem to be nuts. Fair enough, they’re not totally wrong about this. Rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation do run pretty high among trans people but they’re high for a reason. Trans people struggle to cope because we live in a society that demonizes anyone who doesn’t fit into a very confining script and refuses to perform the roles assigned to us before we’re even old enough to say, ‘shut the fuck up.’

As for autism, the prevalence of this “condition” in the overall trans community is not particularly well known but it is elevated among people actually seeking care for gender dysphoria for the simple reason that these people are more likely to receive a diagnosis. With that being said, having personally known plenty of people on the spectrum, both inside and out of the trans community, a correlation between the two would not be particularly shocking to me. Your average autistic person isn’t even nuts, they’re just someone wired to be incapable of falling for the bullshit of pointless social norms like the gender binary. This is an admirable trait that autistic people happen to share with children which I believe is the real reason why the very powerful people behind the anti-trans movement want them both to be singled out to be sufficiently governed.

Much like the transgender phenomena itself, there is nothing particularly new about the anti-trans movement. These charlatans may paint themselves as a grassroots coalition of concerned parents fighting big government intrusion into Christian family life, but this is all just smoke. The anti-trans movement is actually just the latest crusade of the Christian Right. All of the big names pushing the most draconian legislation along with the barely literate talking points that drive it home are agents of the same millionaire moneychangers behind such social engineering projects as the PMRC and Satanic Panic. In fact, the two biggest anti-trans lobbies, the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council, are both little more than front groups for Focus on the Family, an organization founded by Jerry Fallwell’s heir apparent, James Dobson.

These people don’t give a fuck about free speech or civil liberties. They aren’t looking to reign in state power, they want to hijack it for their own jihad to turn America into an Evangelical Saudi Arabia. Trans people like me are simply their latest scapegoat. But their willingness to demonize and control other ungovernable populations in the name of religious liberty should tip you off to their true agenda and that agenda has less to do with pronouns and hormones than it does with social control.

Regardless of how you may feel about my gender identity, powerful people have always felt threatened by the culture of individual liberty that it represents. This is why Christian statists have been suppressing the existence of third genders since they hijacked the Bible and turned it into a weapon for the same empire that murdered Jesus. If something as fundamental as biology cannot be governed then nothing can. My gender is just a loose thread that threatens to unravel the entire tapestry of social constructs that powerful people like James Dobson have long relied on to keep poor people divided against each other while he walks off with their wallets.

The mainstream trans movement often pushes back against the notion of gender as a choice because it belittles the fact that most of us didn’t choose this, but I think this is a mistake and it’s one that betrays what defines us as a people. Gender isn’t a choice, but shouldn’t it be? Shouldn’t everything be? This is what the Christian Right is so terrified of, and I say we give it to them with both barrels by embracing voluntaryism as the only philosophy truly compatible with radical Queer culture. But first let me tell you a few things that the powerful don’t want you to know about me.

They don’t want you to know that I am an individual that can’t be stuffed into anyone’s box. They don’t want you to know that I am a lifelong anarchist and a registered Libertarian who actually believes in the small government that they secretly fear. They don’t want you to know that am a devout Christo Pagan who follows the traditions of the early Celtic church that still held third genders like mine as sacred. They don’t want you to know that I am a survivor of real child abuse and that this experience informs my opposition to the very existence of any compulsory school system. They don’t want you to know that I was groomed by the Christian Right for eleven years in the Catholic Church and that I lose sleep over the fact that adults are still afforded the right to break children just because they can. They don’t want you to know that I actually support your right to hate me, to say terrible things about me, and even to teach your children to hate themselves, just so long as you leave the law off of their bodies and afford them the right to think for themselves without being policed by the state.

More than anything though, the anti-trans movement doesn’t want you to know that I am more like you than the statist fanatics who run their con job will ever be, and they don’t want you to know that if they can eviscerate my rights, and the rights of children and disabled people and any other individual, then they can eviscerate your rights too. Hate me if you want. That’s your right. I just thought you should know.

Nicky Reid is an agoraphobic anarcho-genderqueer gonzo blogger from Central Pennsylvania and assistant editor for Attack the System. You can find her online at Exile in Happy Valley.