How We Stop the Rise in Anti-LGBTQ+ Hate

Understanding Gender, Sex, and Sexuality: Part I

Sam Chavez
Sam Chavez

Table of Contents

๐Ÿค“ Bite-Sized Knurd: Right-wing reactionaries are attempting to scare older generations as younger generations gain more acceptance of queer and trans people.

In Case You Missed It: Can Congress Get Its Act Together to Reform the Court?


Happy Pride! ๐ŸŒˆ

Why does it seem like Pride Month has been a bit of a bummer these last few years? Last year, half the country lost their right to make certain medical decisions for themselves thanks to the right-wing takeover of the Supreme Court.

This year has been a constant barrage on the LGBTQ+ community, especially our trans brothers and sisters. I remember lamenting the high number of murdered trans people, particularly black trans women in 2017. Since then, the trans murder rate has doubled.

Visibility Doesnโ€™t Always Mean Justice

We are going backward. The 2010s swept in a cacophony of expanded rights for LGBTQ+ people and a greater understanding and acceptance from the general public. Most people are now touched by a queer or trans person in their lives either at work, socially, or within their own family.

The dramatic rise in visibility in the last 5 years has brought a better understanding of gender and sexuality and an unearthing of what has always been true. Trans and queer people have always existed and always will. (Sorry, not sorry, bigots!)

As of 2022, 7.1% of adults in the United States self-identify as LGBTQ+, double what it was a decade ago. This is huge in comparison to the 1.6% of U.S. adults who identify as transgender. While growing, this is still a tiny minority in this country.

So why have 533 anti-trans bills been introduced and 64 already passed this year, according to the Trans Legislation Tracker?

Why are conservatives losing it over one trans woman who drank a beer? Why are GOP-gerrymandered states banning trans kids from sports which relate to less than 100 kids in the entire country? Do we really need gross men inspecting our teenage girlsโ€™ genitals because of 0.00001% of the population? I still remember the creepy teachers that checked my skirt length a few too many times that was appropriate (the answer is zero. Zero times is appropriate).

You have to look at where the rise in LGBTQ+ people is coming from, who is scared by that, and why.

Wisdom of Youth, Fear from Elders

The rise in queer, trans, and non-binary identifying people is driven primarily by younger generations. Nearly a quarter of Gen Z now uses non-gendered pronouns.

Does that mean that older generations are not as queer? Not necessarily. It just means that itโ€™s historically not been accepted. Many queer and trans people did not have the safety or understanding to be able to discover and be open about their identities until recently. I, myself, did not come out until I was an adult when I was exposed to more positive and real representations of queer people.

Gallup poll 2021. American's self identify as LGBTQ

The greater acceptance of a spectrum of gender, sexuality, and relationship structures by younger generations is a threat to some. For many reactionaries, the increase in queer youth is an overt rejection of the mythical heterosexual, white picket fence, 2.5 kids suburban family. While the increase in trans people is a rejection of the stereotypical gender roles required to maintain patriarchal systems of power.

This is absolutely terrifying to them. Itโ€™s why you hear GOP politicians say that progressives are destroying the country. Theyโ€™re talking about a very specific, white, male-dominated country. The threat to them is the multiracial democracy with strong social systems and equitable access to voting.

Conservatives want to take the country backward where women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ people have fewer rights so that they can maintain their concentration of wealth and power. And they are manipulating older generations to do it.

The trans moral panic is here and being inflamed by right-wing reactionaries bent on using a minority to scare its base of older voters into turning out to vote and distract from the rising inequality and other issues Republicans are exacerbating.

Iโ€™m going to say something controversial, but I get Boomersโ€™ fear around sexuality and gender.

Baby Boomers grew up in a time when queer and trans people were not only not accepted but completely hidden from society. Gender roles were strictly enforced. Women werenโ€™t able to open a bank account or wear *gasp* slacks! This is a huge difference compared to today. Younger generations are more expansive with their views of the world especially around sexuality and gender. Their rejection of old ways, for Boomers, feels like a rejection of themselves. Itโ€™s not. Itโ€™s just a broadly accepting society that allows people to make their own decisions on who they are and how they love. You can be free to be you whatever that means!

The GOP's attempts to legislate trans people out of existence are driven by a fervor against social change and a desire to remain in the traditional binary that most Boomers grew up with.

Sunlight Is the Best Antidote

The best armor against bigotry is understanding. Living in San Francisco, I am surrounded by my queer and trans community. And I recognize that not all people have close relationships with queer and trans people.

For this Pride month, I wanted to outline some of the basics when it comes to gender, sex, and sexuality to help build a bit more understanding for those that want to be allies, but donโ€™t know where to start.

It starts with education. One of the best steps that an individual can take is to inform themselves and others so that trans and queer people donโ€™t have to hold that burden alone. See you next week!


Dig deeper into queer and trans rights with some of my recent writing:

๐ŸŒฑ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Queering Life๐Ÿ—ผ๐Ÿ—ž: Newsletter๐ŸŒฑ๐Ÿ‘ท๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ Organizing & Movements

Sam Chavez

Sam is a writer, strategist, and curious human. She founded the roots of change agency in 2020. Sam is a queer, white, LatinX activist whoโ€™s passionate about a livable planet & equitable societies.

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