Friday, February 03, 2023


Last May, I wrote:
I think it will be illegal to be trans, at any age, in many states by the end of the decade.
Now it seems possible that Republicans will cut to the chase and pass a ban at the national level. Dave Weigel writes:
You’d be forgiven if you missed Donald Trump’s new plan to stop “left-wing gender insanity.” ...

But to both LGBT advocates and social conservatives, Trump’s policy rollout was a watershed moment, one that signaled a hard right turn from debates focused on transitioning youth to a broader attack on the very concept of transgender identity itself.

Trump had already supported efforts by red states to ban gender-affirming care for minors, discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, and transgender student athletes. Now, Trump was promising a gag order on federal promotion of gender transition “at any age” and a law “establishing that the only genders recognized by the United States government are male and female, and they are assigned at birth.”

“The biggest thing here is the pivot away from transgender youth to all transgender people,” said Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, executive director at the National Center for Transgender Equality. “This year is the first time we’ve seen actions, in states, going after adults. That is brand new for Trump.”
Here's Trump's speech on the subject. It's horrifying. It's primarily focused on an absolute ban on gender-affiriming care for young people, but adults aren't spared.

Erin Reed writes:
Here are the healthcare policies [Trump] outlined:
* Gender affirming care being seen as child abuse.
* The revocation of all gender affirming care protections in the federal government.
* Ending all programs promoting sex and gender transition “at any age.”
* Ending all taxpayer dollars being used on gender affirming care.
* Banning gender affirming care for trans youth nationwide.
* Declaring hospitals and healthcare providers that treat trans youth no longer be Medicaid and Medicare eligible.
* Liability lawsuits for doctors providing gender affirming care for trans youth.
* Investigations of hospitals and manufacturers of gender affirming care medication.
He also listed a series of education policies:
* Investigating affirming teachers for “civil rights violations” and giving them “severe consequences.”
* Eliminating federal funding for affirming schools.
* Credentialing teachers only if they promote “positive education about the nuclear family.”
* Defining “male and female” as biological sex assigned at birth nationally, erasing trans people from the law.
* A nationwide ban on trans people in sports.
* Forced outing for trans youth.
This is pu re cynicism. On the issue of LGBTQ rights, Weigel writes, Trump
was best known in 2016 for publicly moderating the party’s faith-infused stance on LGBT issues, including opposing North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” and inviting Caitlyn Jenner to use whichever facilities she preferred when on Trump properties. After the Pulse nightclub shooting, he promised to “fight for” the LGBT community better than Hillary Clinton by keeping out Muslim immigrants who harbored anti-gay beliefs.

Trump doesn’t talk like that anymore. As Semafor’s Shelby Talcott has reported, he’s focused more on this topic because he’s seen how much it revs up conservative voters.
Remember this, from October 2016?

But maybe this is how the 2024 campaign will go: Trump will find a base-gladdening way to punch down at vulnerable people, ideally positioning himself to DeSantis's right, and then DeSantis will come back with an equally loathsome attack on an easily targeted groiup Republican voters hate. Rinse and repeat until one of them has the nomination.

The trash talk Trump directs at his fellow presidential aspirants isn't very frightening these days, but maybe I've been wrong to interpret that as a sign that he's lost his touch. George Wallace, after running for governor of Alabama as a moderate in 1958 and losing to a candidate supported by the Klan, vowed that "no other son-of-a-bitch will ever out-n****r me again," then began running -- and winning -- as an overt racist. Trump seems determined not to allow DeSantis to out-culture-war him. If that's the case, this will be a race to the bottom, and the cruelty will be the point.

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