In the last few weeks, two stories have stood out to me among the usual avalanche of anti-trans content. The first story is the introduction of a new open category in the swimming World Cup for “all sex and gender identities”. And the second is the story of a trans woman who was turned away from a beauty salon and set up her own inclusive salon, marketed primarily towards trans and non-binary people.
What they have in common is that both are examples of what anti-trans bigots claim would satisfy their “reasonable concerns”: they’re about trans and non-binary people being segregated from cisgender women.
And yet both stories have been met with howls of protest and the usual online abuse.
It doesn’t make sense. Or at least, it doesn’t if you think that anti-trans people have been telling the truth about their so-called reasonable concerns or their desire for so-called fairness.
The thing about bigots, though, is that like the fascists they like to pal around with, they lie. They lie, and they lie, and they lie some more. They lie about statistics, about science, about the medical consensus. And most of all, they lie about what they want.
It’s exactly the same playbook as the anti-abortion activists, who will claim that of course they don’t want to ban all abortion. They just want X, Y or Z. But they *do* want to ban all abortion. They’re just wise enough to know that the vast majority of people don’t want that, so they pretend to be more reasonable than they actually are. Given the reins of power, the mask falls off – as you can see in the US where there are serious attempts being made not just to ban all abortion, but to ban contraception and sex education too.
It’s the same with anti-trans activists. Their goal is the complete elimination of trans people from the world, but again they realise that genocide doesn’t tend to go down well with most people. So they change the language to dehumanise – we’re never people; we’re a cult, an ideology, an agenda – and they pretend the multiple fronts aren’t connected.
But when you look at the wider picture – attempts to ban trans people from sports, attempts to remove trans people’s legal gender recognition, attempts to ban trans people’s healthcare, attempts to remove trans people’s legal protections from discrimination, attempts to remove any references to trans people in schools, attempts to remove any books about trans people from libraries, attempts to censor the internet to prevent people from reading about trans people, attempts to incite violence against trans people by claiming they’re a danger to your women and children… you’d need to be a very particular kind of stupid to still believe that any of this is about “fairness” or “reasonable concerns”.
To steal the old joke: how do you know when an anti-trans activist is lying? Their lips are moving.