Monday, March 14, 2022

The Right to Make Sense

There's a lot going on these days but you might have noticed that Republicans have become very concerned about transgender people. They are passing laws regulating medical attention for trans people, keeping transgender people out of athletics, stopping any mention of trans topics in school; Texas passed a law saying that parents of a trans child can be convicted of felony child abuse, and other states are trying to pass similar laws. They want neighbors, schoolteachers, doctors to report parents so they can be charged with the crime of having a transgender family member.

It's a political strategy that works for Republicans. In real life, nobody is actually upset by someone's gender identity. Trans people are just people, you might do a double-take and then it doesn't matter. It literally does not hurt anything, does not affect anybody's life in any way except for the one person, who is pursuing happiness just like anybody.

So here's the game -- and conservatives do this over and over, we saw them try it here in our little county a few years ago. Out of nowhere, they start complaining about something that is not a problem -- on the topic of gender identity two favorite starter issues are bathrooms and sports, because they can bring these up as "what-ifs" without anything actually happening. Some preacher or lawyer starts complaining to the press and of course the press is happy to write about "the issue." If a preacher explains that something is sinful or even evil, many people just don't know any better, and believe what they are told. Next thing you know they are passing laws making life miserable for some citizens who have not hurt anything or anybody.

If you are comfortable with your birth gender then it can be difficult, if not impossible, to imagine what it would be like to have people treating you like someone you are not. You cannot blame people who don't get it, if they have not had a trans friend or family member or given it much thought. It "seems" easy, penises on this side, vaginas on that side, and most of the time that's how it works, but not always, and it can be hard to explain. On the other hand it is not hard to accept, either. There have always been trans people and somehow society managed to function. It does not affect anybody, and it should be nobody's business.

As conservatives start obsessing loudly over this, somebody has to come out and say, wait a minute, this isn't even a problem, and that will be liberals. And next thing you know, liberals are using unfamiliar words like "nonbinary" and giving press conferences about rights for trans people, and then the conservatives will claim liberals are "promoting" or pushing something that seems weird to unschooled countryfolk. These days they are saying that liberals are "grooming" young people for some kind of sexual exploitation, as if there was no other explanation for treating people fairly. Of course in the meantime they have passed a bunch of hateful laws, taking away the rights of transgender people, who are not a big part of the voting population and can't win in a majority-rules system.

People out there reading the newspaper don't know any better, they don't know what's going on. Millions of conservatives actually believe that liberals are literally pedophiles. It's not just that one pizza place. Fox News is telling them that Democrats are grooming children for secret liberal child-orgies, and people who don't know any better believe it.

This is absurd but you can't ignore it, you have to fight for the right to make sense in this crazy country. This is not something that will correct itself automatically, people will only get dumber and dumber if we do not stand up to this nonsense.