I’m not the only one to notice the growing links between anti-trans groups, religious extremists and reactionary conservatives. Writing in Jezebel, Esther Wang explores “The Unholy Alliance of Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists and the Right Wing.”
In a sign of how their thinking mirrors one another, it can be remarkably difficult to distinguish between the talking points of the Christian right and the language of trans-exclusionary radical feminists.
As the piece points out, it’s more than just language. Organisations such as the Hands Across The Aisle foundation exist specifically to bring anti-trans activists and evangelicals together. Their members, previously listed on their website but now deleted, include Transgender Trend, one of the most visible and vocal anti-trans groups in the UK, as well as prominent UK feminists.
As I’ve noted before, most of the media panics over trans people follow a script set out by US evangelicals in 2017 that urged activists to:
Explain that gender identity rights only come at the expense of others: women, sexual assault survivors, female athletes forced to compete against men and boys, ethnic minorities who culturally value modesty, economically challenged children who face many barriers to educational success and don’t need another level of chaos in their lives, children with anxiety disorders and the list goes on and on and on.
This activism leads to attacks not just on trans people, but attacks on legislation designed to help women and minorities.
Walsh describes the anti-trans activists’ opposition to the US Equality Act, where angry women have been useful idiots for the republicans who want to discriminate against all LGBT people and who have learned to couch their bigotry in faux-feminist concerns.
In their opposition, they have aligned with conservative, largely Christian rightwing activists and elected officials, who have their separate, reactionary reasons for wanting to maintain the notion that there is a strict dividing line between man and woman and who have, similarly, reframed the debate about trans rights as one about “safety for women and girls.”
None of this is new, but it’s getting more dangerous.
As Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said to Walsh:
“I don’t understand how you can hate so much that you go out of your way to sell your soul to politicians and extremist organizations who have fought women’s rights and women’s welfare every step of the way. It’s really astounding and sad and pathetic.”