This coming midterm election is undoubtedly one of the most politically charged that i have seen in my lifetime. Whichever side of the aisle you’re on, you must admit that since the presidential election “business as usual” has changed dramatically, and many unprecedented behaviors and policy decisions have occurred. In my life as an American one thing has been made clear to me: the ability to vote is undeniably tethered to American citizenship and is to be taken seriously. Now, what if I told you that isn’t true for transgender people?
First of all, this post is LONG overdue! I’m sorry for the delay in getting it typed up. To be honest, after having such an amazing Gay Pride experience in Mexico City, only to return to the US where families are still facing the separation of their children for seeking asylum… I just needed a minute. Here we go…
I’ve read and heard all the sides of this: conservative Christians rejoice at the fact that a conservative Christian “won his right” to discriminate; legal scholars say that this case does almost nothing to address this issue as the ruling was incredibly narrow and didn’t set any real precedent; and even some queer people have said, “well I wouldn’t want to be forced to do something in service of the Trump campaign… so maybe I agree with this in a way.” All of these points are valid, and this case can be dissected a million different ways to say whatever the pundit wants. One thing is absolute through all of it: queer people exist, so just stop it.
I know I know… fascism is a terrifying word. Due to our schooling, in America we think of fascism in broad strokes: the Holocaust, Cuba, Arab Spring. But it isn’t like one day everyone woke up and said, “Wow… we live in a fascist country. That’s not great.” It was a slow, whittling away of rights, of visibility and of the balance of power. And to see it plain as day in the United States of America, you have no further to look than June. Since the 70’s June has been unofficially the month for LGBTQ+ Pride (especially here in NYC), and during his administration, Barack Obama put a ring on it and made it official. What does this have to do with fascism? Well the Trump Administration has done the worst thing you can do to a marginalized population: ignore it.
Seriously, in 29 states right now, in 2018, if an employee chooses to come out at work (ya know, like even just mentions being married to a same sex partner) they can be fired on the spot and the state does absolutely nothing to protect them. The passage of marriage equality actually has had a bizarre negative effect on LGBTQ+ people living in these states. There has been more than one case of a person getting married over the weekend, coming back to work on Monday, mentioning that they got married over the weekend, and fired the same day. This has been particularly common in religious institutions like Catholic school. So why is this a problem?
Is conversion therapy really therapeutic? First, let’s talk about what conversion “therapy” is. Conversion therapy is a practice born out of the Christian conservative population to assist LGBTQ identified people to “convert” back to being straight and cisgender (non-transgender). It is more often used on young men to convince them that they aren’t homosexual, that those desires are of the devil, and that it’s likely because of a distant relationship with the father in the home or an overbearing mother (Freud much?).