Can Transpeople Recapture the Trans Movement from Gender Radicals?

Rauch also writes:

Telling tomboyish girls or effeminate boys that they should identify as the opposite sex embraces all the hoary gender stereotypes that made generations of gay and lesbian people (and many straight people) miserable. Worse, it can cater to homophobic pressures not to be gay. (Evidence in this domain is thin, but one study found that almost a fourth of gender detransitioners cited homophobia or difficulty accepting themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual as a reason for transitioning.)

Insisting that it’s always hateful to draw distinctions based on biological sex in sports, prisons, and medical training strikes most of the public as nutty, unfair, and dangerous. The backlash that is forming will harm trans people, gay and lesbian people (who are already caught in the undertow), and everyone who hopes for candor and compromise. Radicalism makes the only path forward—social negotiation tailored to diverse situations—unattainable.

5 Comments for “Can Transpeople Recapture the Trans Movement from Gender Radicals?”

  1. posted by Edward TJ Brown on

    What rights could “moderate” trans folk support?

  2. posted by Jorge on

    “The first step out of the radicalization trap is what’s already happening: decoupling trans civil rights from radical gender ideology by recognizing that they are not at all the same.”

    I guess so.

    “But a second, equally important step remains: the emergence of an integrationist, accommodationist, and reality-based transgender center, led by trans moderates who have had enough. Only they can take back their movement. I can say from experience that once they do, they will win, and so will the country.”

    Well there’s only one known transgender conservative out there and she’s just said a few days ago she’s not being paid just to be a transgender activist.

    What rights could “moderate” trans folk support?

    There is no need for you to put the word moderate in quotes, as if the category did not exist, nor any need to take your question seriously.

  3. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    Rauch writes: “There is nothing intrinsically radical or left-wing about gay equality. And there is nothing intrinsically radical or left-wing about trans equality.

    I agree with that and I’ve been laser-focused on “equal means equal” for the 15+ years I’ve been commenting on IGF. I’ve never cared about cultural attitudes, but I draw the line at legal discrimination.

    While I never aligned with the “radical left” (I have always been center-left), I quickly learned, as conservative homosexuals have learned (or at least had more than sufficient opportunity to learn), that anti-gay conservatives (particularly conservative Christians) never give an inch, and, accordingly, the Republican Party was not likely to change its anti-equality stripes. As a result, although equality may not be “intrinsically radical or left-wing”, it is relentless opposed by the supposedly conservative political party in the US.

    Rauch’s own experience is illustrative.

    In 2004, Rauch wrote Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America, a clear exposition of the reasons why same-sex marriage would preserve and protect “society’s most essential institution”. His arguments were well-reasoned and persuasive. Anti-gay conservatives doubled down on passing anti-marriage amendments in 2004 and 2006. In 2009, Rauch shifted tactics, backing down from the arguments he made in 2004. Instead, Rauch and David Blankenhorn (a key exponent of the anti-gay argument “that children have the right, insofar as society makes it possible, to know and to be cared for by the two parents who brought them into this world”, who was forced to back down on his supposed “evidence” when put under oath in Perry) co-authored a NYT op-ed (A Reconciliation on Gay Marriage, David Blankenhorn and Jonathan Rauch, February 21, 2009) in which the two proposed the following “Grand Compromise”:

    Congress would bestow the status of federal civil unions on same-sex marriages and civil unions granted at the state level, thereby conferring upon them most or all of the federal benefits and rights of marriage. But there would be a condition: Washington would recognize only those unions licensed in states with robust religious-conscience exceptions, which provide that religious organizations need not recognize same-sex unions against their will. The federal government would also enact religious-conscience protections of its own. All of these changes would be enacted in the same bill.

    Notice that the “compromise” did not expand rights for gays and lesbians. The anti-marriage amendments in force in roughly 30 states (which also banned civil unions and/or domestic partnerships in most cases) would not be repealed or compromised. States that banned same-sex marriages or civil unions (however limited) were not obligated to remove the bans, whether or not the state’s constitution permitted same-sex marriage, same-sex civil unions or same-sex domestic partnerships. The “compromise” did not grant marriage-equivalent status for federal civil unions, but only “most or all of the federal benefits and rights of marriage”, apparently to be decided case-by-case, right-by-right by Congress, which, if controlled by the Republican Party, would grant nothing. On the other hand, the “compromise” gave anti-gay conservative Christians “religious-conscience protections”, a goal long-sought by conservative Christians, and would provide constitutional cover for anti-marriage amendments when cases (as was inevitable) got to the Supreme Court.

    In short, the “Grand Compromise” was a case of gays and lesbians giving up a great deal for a whole lot of nothing. But, as we all know, not a single anti-gay conservative or Republican politician supported the “Grand Compromise”. Even something for nothing wasn’t good enough.

    If that experience was not enough to convince Rauch that he is hitting a brick wall when it comes to “trans equality”, nothing ever will.

    But here he is again, urging transgendered men and women to back off, just as he consistently urged those of us who are gay and lesbian to back off a decade ago.

  4. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    What rights could “moderate” trans folk support?

    How about equal treatment under the law, just as we did? No special rights, no special discrimination, equal rights and equal burdens of citizenship, equal access to government programs and equal protection under laws banning discrimination?

    The thing that I keep in mind is that this is not a battle over transgender rights alone, but instead a proxy war in the larger culture wars. It is no accident that senior Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee tied transgender issues to CRT, Loving and Obergefell.

    The anti-trans conservative movement is more or less identical to the anti-gay conservative movement, which is linked closely with attempts to roll back voting rights for African-Americans and also linked closely to attempts to remove educational curricula and books about LGBT issues from the public schools. The fact that conservative ideologs have secured 5 relatively certain votes on the Supreme Court has emboldened what we used to call “social conservatives” in the federal, state and local governments, who can see a rollback to the “white makes right” days of old. It is all of a piece.

  5. posted by Edward TJ Brown on

    I put “moderate” in quotes, because the article didn’t really define what moderate policy reforms he favored.

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