Last year, trans people wryly joked that it was just a matter of time before some anti-trans dolt praised the Taliban because “at least they know what a woman is”. That dolt turned out to be Julia Hartley-Brewer, who tweeted on 29 August: “At least the Taliban know what a woman is” in response to a tweet noting that the Taliban “beheads and murders women and gay people”. Hartley-Brewer’s tweet appears to have been liked by JK Rowling, whose people told the press earlier this year that she’d helped people trying to escape the same regime.
Praising the profoundly, viciously misogynist, homophobic and transphobic Taliban is very much on brand for so-called gender criticals, and many of them display a level of ignorance and idiocy that’s truly impressive. Such as today’s post by “Joanna”, who told a trans woman that “you, as a man, would not be subjected to what women in Afghanistan are. Why? Because you are a MAN.”
As the woman in question, Katy Montgomerie, pointed out, there are only two possible fates for trans women under the Taliban. If they pass – ie they’re perceived to be cisgender women – then they will be oppressed just like any other woman. And if they don’t, they will be treated like other LGBTQ+ people, many of whom are attacked or sexually assaulted because of their orientation or gender identity: abused, attacked, sometimes even tortured or executed.
Human Rights Watch has an excellent and horrifying article about life for queer people under the Taliban.
Despite making repeated pledges to respect human rights, the Taliban have engaged in widespread rights abuses since retaking control of the country, including revenge killings, systematic discrimination against women and girls, severe restrictions on freedom of expression and the media, and land grabbing. The danger now facing LGBT people in Afghanistan—in an environment devoid of legal protections, under authorities that have explicitly pledged not to tolerate LGBT people—is grave.
As Foreign Policy reports:
Since the Taliban takeover last August, members of the Afghan LGBTQ community have faced electrocution, torture, killings, and fear.
Here’s DW talking about Danish, a trans person.
Danish has been living in semidarkness for weeks. Since the Taliban’s takeover in mid-August, he has been hiding in the windowless back room of a friend’s now-closed shop in Kabul. He no longer dares go outside. Under the Islamist Taliban, he and many like him face the death penalty… Everyday discrimination against LGBTQ individuals is ubiquitous, as is violence against them.
But at least the Taliban know what a woman is, right?