Transphobic Sensationalism Sweeps America


Benjamin Newcomb

A filthy cache of transphobia has revealed itself in discourse surrounding and adjacent to the Equality Act, a bill passed in the House on Feb. 25 to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to strengthen and develop protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

This transphobia has focused largely on transgender children and those who would help them. In Alabama, on Mar. 2, the State Senate passed the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, which prevents minors from getting effective, safe, well-documented treatments of both puberty blockers and traditional gender dysphoria treatments, forces schools to out vulnerable transgender children to parents, and establishes criminal penalties for trained medical professionals who would aid transgender children. Similar measures are being considered across the country, CBS news reports.

The transphobia of the states seems to have also oozed its way into Congress. In the Senate during the confirmation hearing of Dr. Rachel Levine, multiple Republican Senators attacked standard transgender healthcare practices like puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Meanwhile, in the House, the former conspiracy theorist turned first-term representative Marjorie Taylor Greene attacked Representative Marie Newman’s transgender daughter for being transgender. 

At the same time, opponents of equal rights for people who are transgender have repeatedly used sports as a crude bludgeon against ending discrimination (including our state of Tennessee), despite the fact that there is no conclusive data to suggest that transgender people are any better or worse than cisgender people. Despite this, the GOP has made “defending” women’s sports a central campaign point.

Perhaps most disturbingly, major news outlets have failed to adequately represent transgender voices throughout all of this, despite having seemingly ample space to quote the bigoted views preventing transgender equality. Most of the time, those being attacked (who are sometimes minors) are excluded from the discussion. To exclude transgender people from discussions concerning their own rights is both senseless and cruel because they carry with them the most potent tales as to the necessity of protection, as Ari Drennan, a communications staffer for the Center for American Progress, points out.

The Transgender Law Center has compiled several stories of overt discrimination, including refusal of services, necessary medical care (both physical and mental), and housing, denying the existence of Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) people, dis-ownership of GNC children, deliberate misgendering, denial of job opportunities, open insults, slander, and both ordinary and sexual assault.

In addition to these harrowing stories, LGBTQ+ individuals, which contains transgender individuals, are nearly four times as likely to be victims of crimes than individuals outside of that community. This transphobia seems to fester in every major institution in America today.