Trans*Mission Weekly Roundup

In this week’s roundup, Trans*Mission looks at the myth of trans frogs and various other transphobic absurdities and the real-world violence such nonsense inspires.


When we began the weekly roundup, there was a thought that some weeks might not supply enough content. This has proven to be a naive misjudgment, as in truth, week after week, anti-trans attacks come from so many directions we must frequently judge what to omit. So often, the episodes are also ludicrous, as anti-trans narratives never have a tethering to reality. But unfortunately, during a period of obscene strong men opportunistically positioning themselves in the ruins of neoliberal failure, even the absurd can be dangerous.

So it is with the character of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a reactionary member of the Kennedy dynasty trying to become a Democrat Party answer to Trump. In an interview with far-right self-help charlatan Jordan Peterson, Kennedy has recycled Alex Jones’s conspiracy about chemicals in the water turning frogs (and therefore humans) gay, but this time with a transphobic twist. John Russell for LGBTQNation and Evan Urquhart for Assigned media have both firmly debunked the claims made by the quixotic presidential hopeful.

In the previous week, we referred to a parliamentary debate on transgender equalities protections, much of which was no less silly (but no less dangerous) than Kennedy’s conspiracies. Jess O’Thomson, writing for Trans Safety Network (TSN), has contributed a thorough analysis of the same event, which highlights the transphobia of the proceedings, but also suggests—persuasively— that comments made by the Minister for Women, Maria Caulfield, mean that the government’s plans to attack transgender legal protections in this arena might not be imminent. As with all of TSN’s articles, it is worth a read.

Outing Children, Tory Barbarism

However, even if the Tories are not planning one regressive attack on a tiny minority, the party whose leader now apparently makes casual transphobic jokes about genitalia to colleagues can still be relied on to do considerable damage via other means. As fascist protests to Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) events escalate, a report by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) indicates that considerable blame falls on the MPs of the current party of government for the mounting transphobia and anti-queer popularism—as reported by Ben Quinn for the Guardian.

On June 24th, fascists at a DQSH event at Honour Oak pub in Lewisham attacked trans members of a counter demo. Any pretense that anti-trans “concerns” are anything more than violent reaction has long been dispelled, and any leeway given to even the “respectable” side of anti-trans politics is more truly a capitulation to fascism. TSN attended, and reported on the distressing confrontations via a Twitter thread. 

The Tory Party’s relentless hostility to queer humanity is not confined to the types of incendiary rhetoric that agitate such mobs. New Tory guidance for schools on trans people has now been leaked, and while caution must be taken in assuming that the leaked version is necessarily the same as the final recommendations (it might merely be an attempt to further scare and demoralise an oppressed group), the content is predictably awful and chilling. It has even been dubbed a new ‘Section 28’, an apt comparison.

As Patrick Kelleher writes for PinkNews, if implemented, it would result in trans children being barred from competitive sports (a notion that lacks even a pretext of a justification). Moreover, the proposed blanket outing of trans children to their parents will almost certainly result in vulnerable young people being subject to (still legal, but nonetheless inherently abusive) so-called conversion therapy, homelessness and general transphobia. 

Such malicious negligence of trans children has already been fully backed by Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, irrespective of the harm it will cause to trans children or whether it would create a precedent for also blanketly outing LGB children, as well as pupils who use abortion or contraceptive services. We have a situation in which a moral panic whose professed basis is partly child safety, is putting children at risk of serious harm. Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir writes for Metro, drawing on her own experiences coming out at school and reflecting on the terrible guidance. 

Transphobia’s Censorship 

We have written previously on the censoriousness characterising the anti-trans cult, thinly veiled behind a pseudo free speech concern. The billionaire and self-declared free-speech absolutist Elon Musk is emblematic of the superficiality of said concern. He is a man whose transphobia has become a key feature of his one-dimensional online persona despite (or worse, even because of) having a trans daughter. In a characteristic Twitter meltdown, he deemed the words “cis” and “cisgender” to be slurs that should be prohibited on the social media website. 

Musk’s remarks reveal transphobia is an ideology driven by the bigoted hatred of nasty little men with too much power (as well as women who see permission to hate other women as being misogyny’s consolation prize). Not only are neither term slurs, but they merely describe people who are not trans (as white functions for many racialised groups, straight for LGB people, non-disabled for disabled people, men for women, neurotypical for neurodiverse, etc.). None of these terms is a slur, and casting them as such limits the ability of the marginalised to describe their marginalisation. 

Noor Noman, writing for MSNBC, and Taylor Hatmaker, for TechCrunch, has researched how Musk’s decision will adversely impact online spaces for trans people and contribute to anti-trans extremism. Writing for Huffington Post, Sara Boboltz has reported on the person who coined the term cisgender, Dana Defosse. In Defosse’s own words:

Banning use of a word that’s part of our daily vocabulary around the world, that appears in the Oxford English Dictionary, it’s a cowardly and futile attempt to censor an idea which is, in my opinion, way bigger and more enduring than anything Musk could hope to offer.

A*CR Activities

A*CR members attended the above-mentioned DQSH event, where anti-queer fascists and their gender-critical hangers-on were responsible for violent attacks. It is vital in the future that socialists turn up in numbers to protect trans and queer people from this death cult. 

Want to participate in the fightback? Join Anti*Capitalist Resistance and become a member of our Trans*Mission group! 

Also, if you know a story you want to appear in next week’s roundup, please email it to us.

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