From the very beginnings of the war on trans people, we’ve been accused of overreacting whenever we report what anti-trans groups and politicians say they want to do to us – which in many cases is the complete elimination of trans people by any means necessary.
Most UK anti-trans groups and key anti-trans figures have signed a declaration calling for the “elimination of transgenderism”; many talk openly about removing all our human rights, healthcare and legal protections. Some openly wish to see us dead.
This is something that campaigners for all women’s rights have long experienced: when they tried to raise the alarm about the US Republicans’ openly stated goal of rescinding Roe vs Wade, they were told not to be so silly. Roe vs Wade, of course, is gone with abortion and contraception now under sustained attack in multiple states – and Obergefell v Hodges, which enabled equal marriage, and Loving v Virginia, which struck down bans on interracial marriage, are next in the firing line. We know this because the religious right told us, as they usually do.
One of the tactics that’s been openly discussed for a few years now is to classify the very existence of trans people as a sexual act, and to then use that classification to ban trans people from everyday life. And here’s legislators in West Virginia trying to do just that. In two separate bills, Republican lawmakers propose to ban “obscene matter”; in their definition of such, they include “any transvestite and/or transgender exposure, performances or display to any minor.” In other words, the mere presence of a trans person near a child would be a sexual offence.
It’s easy to dismiss this as the latest whacky nonsense from crazed US fundamentalists. But the exact same arguments are being advanced over here by anti-trans groups, many of which work closely with US evangelical groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, one of the key drivers and drafters of US anti-trans legislation. And the arguments are in the 2025 Project manifesto by groups including the Heritage Foundation, which is very close to the current UK government. Many of these documents and strategies make it clear that it’s not just trans people being targeted here but queer people more widely, along with women’s reproductive rights.
The West Virginian bills aren’t expected to become law. But they are a tiny part of a wave of anti-trans bills in the US, bills that UK anti-trans activists and politicians would like to see in the UK too.
We’re not overreacting; if anything, we’re underselling the threat to trans people’s lives, to the wider LGBTQ+ community and to reproductive freedom.