Wednesday, May 01, 2024

It Is All Smoke And Mirrors.

The conservative effort to force us back in the closet are all based on lies and half truths. They distort the research and use the lies as weapons against us.
Three types of misinformation are being used against transgender people: oversimplifying scientific knowledge, fabricating and misinterpreting research and promoting false equivalences
Scientific America
April 19, 2024

Anti-trans sentiment has existed for a long time, but it seems like we're at a moment of particularly intense attacks. Why is that?

Florence Ashley: It’s definitely been getting worse. A lot of people who have been out since the '70s and '80s are saying that this is an unprecedented level of public hate. Even if there's been progress around rights for a lot of people, there's a whole lot more hostility. I am located in Canada, where we're starting to have anti-trans bills that would have been mostly unheard of just five years ago. In the U.S., the fact that the courts are so stacked by Trump appointees at the federal level has been particularly daunting. We are seeing alliances between the anti-reproductive justice and anti-trans movements, which is really concerning.

Trans culture is more visible today than it has been in the past. Does that help, or is increased visibility stirring up the anti-trans movement?

Florence Ashley: Visibility is very much a double-edged sword. There are good sides to visibility, of course. It helps people realize that they're trans. You have more access to trans narratives, which gives you more space to understand yourself, and that's very positive. But at the social and political level, it has been quite negative. We're seeing a lot more people who vehemently hate trans people, who are even willing to harm trans people. Whereas people who are favorable to trans people largely just leave us alone. And a lot of reforms that we were able to achieve with relative ease, in a less visible manner, are now being rolled back.
Back in the old days… 1990s in order to get medical care you had to meet a narrow acceptable range: First trans women must be sexually attacked to men (After all we don’t want to be creating lesbians!), and second you had to be able to integrate into society and live stealth (We can’t create trans people who can be “Read.”). The original Harry Benjamin Standards of Care were very strict and that is one reason we got a reputation for lying, “Oh yes, I’m attacked to men!”

I also believe increased visibility is a two edge sword, it encourages us to come out but at the same time it creates fear in the conservatives that we are everywhere. 
Many of the arguments against trans rights center on the idea that transness itself is not legitimate—that there are just two sexes, period. You describe this idea as “sex essentialism.” Can you explain that term, and talk about how it shapes the debate?

Simón(e) Sun: Essentialism is the idea that you can take any phenomenon that is complex and distill it down to a particular set of traits. In the case of sex essentialism, the idea is that you can sufficiently describe sex by a few particular characteristics. In this debate, it used to be chromosomes, now it’s gametes (egg and sperm cells). The target is always moving, because if you want to make something binary, then you need to find the most binary characteristic. Today, sex essentialism boils all of sex down to the gametes that a person produces. Then you draw a line from gametes to all of these other characteristics—to sex roles, even to the personality of an entire individual. But biology is just not that simple. The sex essentialist perspective is completely wrong about the biology of how sex characteristics arise.
Heck! The conservatives still belief that a woman can keep from getting pregnant during a rape.
You have written about three broad misinformation techniques in the trans debates: oversimplifying scientific knowledge, fabricating and misinterpreting research and promoting false equivalences. Are these the same techniques that have been used in science-based arguments about race and other human traits?

Simón(e) Sun: Absolutely. Even in climate change. Perhaps the most salient example is race science. There’s an entire history of asking about the science of racial differences, and how can we describe them in a biological way. That kind of research has been used in the past, and still is to some extent today, to bolster racist arguments. It’s an oversimplification to say that one population exhibits a lower average IQ than another population. That’s just biology, but there’s also social environment, socioeconomic status and other factors that come into play.
When can you trust a Republican to tell the truth?
What about ordinary people who want to help but don't know where to start—what can they do?

Florence Ashley: Shut down misinformation and hate when you see it crop up around you. Oftentimes we don't like confrontation, so we just let misinformation go. We need people to start speaking up whenever it comes up. And be loud. We’re in an ecosystem where the anti-trans voices are trying to portray themselves as speaking for a silent majority. We need people to be loud enough to counter any impression of a silent majority. You can also help trans people materially. Give them a job, help them get housing, help them pay for transition-related medical care. Share your power with trans people, giving them opportunities to write, opportunities to share with audiences and opportunities to have a say in policy-making. And share your skills.
The right-wing is well funded by billionaires and religious fundamentalists, they back “research” like the ROGD (Rapid Onset of Gender Dysphoria) and the latest attack on puberty blockers. I bet all that “new” research into the blockers will find that they are not safe even though they have been used for over 40 years of use.

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” ~Maya Angelou
Trump Again Vows Mass Deportations and Won’t Rule Out Political Violence
In an interview with Time magazine, the former president said he planned to use the military to deport migrants and would not dismiss the possibility of political violence after this year’s election.
The New York Times
By Michael Gold
April 30, 2024

Former President Donald J. Trump told Time magazine in an interview published Tuesday morning that if elected in November, he would deploy the U.S. military to detain and deport migrants and permit states to decide whether to prosecute those who violate abortion bans, while hedging on the possibility of political violence after the 2024 election.

Mr. Trump has rarely given lengthy interviews with mainstream news outlets, particularly since leaving the White House. His conversations with Time — a sit-down at the former president’s residence in Palm Beach, Fla., and a follow-up phone call — offered a revealing glimpse of how he would wield presidential power, challenge democratic norms and reshape the country if he won back the White House in November.


Mr. Trump also brushed aside questions about political violence in November by suggesting that his victory was inevitable. But when pressed about what might happen should he again lose the election, he did not dismiss the possibility outright and did not proactively say anything to deter supporters from again resorting to it.

“I think we’re going to win,” he said. “And if we don’t win, you know, it depends. It always depends on the fairness of an election.”

A Biden campaign spokesman, James Singer, argued that Mr. Trump's stated plans were unconstitutional and anti-democratic. “Trump is willing to throw away the very idea of America to put himself in power,” Mr. Singer said in a statement.
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” ~Maya Angelou
He would not rule out using the Justice Department as a political tool.
After previously pledging to appoint a special prosecutor to “go after” President Biden and his family, Mr. Trump told Time he “wouldn’t want to hurt Biden.”

Yet he also suggested that any action might be conditioned on an upcoming Supreme Court ruling on whether presidents have any immunity from criminal prosecution.

“If they said that a president doesn’t get immunity, then Biden, I am sure, will be prosecuted for all of his crimes,” Mr. Trump said. Mr. Biden has not been charged with any crimes, and an impeachment inquiry by House Republicans has not produced any solid evidence of wrongdoing.
 “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” ~Maya Angelou

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