After years of progress on gay rights, how did the US become anti LGBTQ +?

In 2019, the Atlantic passed an opinion piece entitled “The struggle for gay rights is over”. Orthodox academic James Kirchick wrote that the piece was clearly provocative, but at least it was considered “for those born in adversity, sometimes the hardest thing to do is admit that they won”. many at the time of publication.

He came to the end of the political victories for the LGBTQ + cause. At the time, it seemed that the U.S. supreme court would issue a significant ruling just before Pride Weekend every few years. Following the expiry of the Homophobic Protection of Marriage Act in 2013, the federal ban on marital equality ended in 2015. Same-sex marriage rights, gay people serving in the military and the need for protections for LGBTQ + people were widely accepted. later. . As far back as 2020, the court ruled, with two appointed by Trump at the time, that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protected gay, lesbian and transgender workers. In the face of all the terrible crises of our time, the rights of LGBTQ + people were firmly enshrined, and attitudes were changing in accordance with the legislation. In 1985, 89% of parents said they would feel sorry if they found out their child was gay or lesbian. By 2015, it was down to 39%.

But over the past few months, those talents have been under threat and the United States has seen a significant acceleration in anti-LGBTQ + rhetoric and legislation, prompted by misinformation primarily about what it means to be trans and hysteria because of so-called grooming. There is a rash of laws on the teaching of human sexuality in a school curriculum, a ban on cross – training athletes and parents depriving the right to help their gender – diverse children receive appropriate care in many red states this year.

As same-sex marriage is now part of America, conservatives have chosen to take advantage of American anonymity with trans people and backbone on parental anger over perceived over-access to school closures since the Covid era. , which he argued with an insidious sense of “wokeness. ”, With the hope of finding a viable common path for anti-LGBTQ + hysteria.

The most famous of these anti-LGBTQ + laws is the piece of Florida legislation that prohibits the teaching of sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten to tertiary schools, the “do not say gay” law as it is called.

“A state of law like this has not passed for more than 20 years,” said Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and a trans man. “Like many others, I thought there was no way they would do it, because it is so strict and obviously unconstitutional.”

Laying the foundation for a possible 2024 presidential campaign, Florida-like governor Ron DeSantis has positioned the state as the ultimate stronghold of American freedom. The governor and his supporters are labeled as “groomer” anyone who believes that children can learn that there are LGBTQ + people, arguing simply by talking about gay relationships with a child, that you are sexualizing that child. For example, DeSantis’s press secretary Christina Pushaw tweeted: “If you are opposed to the Anti – Grooming Bill, you are probably a groomer or at least do not deny grooming 4-8 year olds.”

According to them, being gay is, inherently sexual, a threat of innocence in a way that is not straightforward Americans.

Even such LGBTQ + advocates are surprising. “At first, it was like 2015 again, with the bathroom bills, and I thought, ‘There will be a little pressure from national organizations and it will stop,’ but it was not,” says Ada Rhodes-Short, a robotics and cross – rights. “It started to rise and rise.”

For her, the catalyst was when Texas Republicans such as Greg Abbott and Ken Paxton, the governor and attorney general, banned not only gender-assured medical care for trans youth but remarriages they abused their parents as child abusers, and Paxton signed a 13 – page legal opinion. parents or doctors who have helped children in transition are abusers who should investigate law enforcement. This was followed by Arizona governor Doug Ducey who would not say that, after minors banned gender reassignment treatment, even for the record that transgender people were real.

Commentators such as Tucker Carlson support politicians in the media, who claim that “no one heard about this diagonal thing four years ago”, or Charlie Kirk, who fears the 1980s by saying “gay people want polluting children ”.

On the new renewal, the right wing is ready to turn the cornerstones of the midterm and 2024 elections into the cornerstones of transphobia and homophobia, and promises to deliver “do not say gay” legislation in states including Michigan and New York. York.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative lobby group, has called on Indiana and Utah governors for legislation banning transformed women from vetoing sports, calling the bills as “protections” timely, mainstream ”. US Republican representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has promised to introduce a federal bill “do not say gay” if Republicans win the House last November, only to agree days later by tweeting that people should be pro-cross. -pedophilia. The dynamics are the perpetual swing up.

What started in Florida could spread almost everywhere.

Emphasized that “culture change is happening and we need to be focused on survival”, Rhodes-Short and a dozen others co-founded Tear It Up. Based on Act Up, the organization that introduced death and other offensive tactics to highlight the lack of funding for HIV / AIDS, it is both challenging and focused on mutual aid.

“With a massive attack, we can see what is to come in November and spring and we must prepare for the next fight. People are running on crazy nonsense, as transgender people should face a firing squad, “says Rhodes-Short, referring to Robert Foster, a former Mississippi lawyer and janitor candidate who said no one” is recommending put men pretending to be women in the locker. rooms and bathrooms with young women should receive the death penalty through a firing squad ”.

Republican-led state legislatures have even begun to reintroduce North Carolina-style “bathroom bills” requiring people to use the sex-appropriate facilities assigned to them at birth.

“That started to escalate this issue,” says Alejandra Caraballo, an attorney and instructor at Harvard University’s Cyberlaw Clinic. “It simply came to our notice then. That’s the new tactic du jour. You saw Tucker Carlson say that Disney supports chemical castration and child sexual grooming – things that you would have heard two years ago and thought were outside the wall. Now it’s going to an audience of 4 million. ”

The business-friendly wing of the GOP that would quietly collaborate with the Democrats to scuttle homophobic bills is now more scuttle, with legislators in a dozen or more states that have followed even further to the right than DeSantis note.

Minter, the legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, believes Florida is the test case for renewed pressure for an aggressive, Christian nationalist program.

“That’s why it’s important that Disney has been so heavily promoted,” Minter says, referring to the opposition that was initially unfair but increasingly voiced against Florida’s new law. “The GOP is in an internal battle between the moderately middle-right legislators who have historically led the party and Trump’s very serious right wing that is a threat not only to the Republican party but to our democracy,” he says. “It simply came to our notice then. The main targets are LGBTQ + men and women and handsome people. ”

The “don’t say gay” bill, according to Minter, is very similar to what was passed in Russia, connecting American conservatives with their authoritarian counterparts who have succeeded in restoring democratic norms across eastern Europe.

“There is an authoritative revival around the world and our country is not immune from that,” says Minter.

“I’ve seen this film before in the last 30 years: The right wing has decided to target the LGBTQ community, whether it’s about marriage or adoption or diagonal kids playing sports or bathrooms,” says the Senator of State California, Scott Wiener, who is gay. . “One state does something, and then they all start praising it.”

Wiener introduced legislation to explicitly make California a haven for families who may no longer feel able to raise a queer or trans child in states like Texas.

“I thought it was extremely important to push back at the policy level, and send a clear signal that California and other states are deeply concerned about these kids,” he says.

He believes that “do not say gay” is “patently unconstitutional” but also argues that relying on the judicial system to further protect human rights may not be a viable option.

“Once the court legally allowed Texas abortion law to remain in force, that sent a powerful signal that we cannot rely on the courts,” Wiener said. “We have to rely on the political process.”

But even that process has its limits. Bella Blue, a burlesque dancer in New Orleans, is an amazing pan – sexual woman, a teenager whose stepfather is a trans man. Her child is “very aware” of the full spectrum of human sexuality, she says, but “he himself did not land in some sort” on a strong identity.

“I assure you that when they are writing these bills, they are not asking how the children are feeling,” she says. “The only thing you can do is remember that they will turn out who he is.”

The urge to legislate a variety of human experiences so that it adheres to the Minter Christian-nationalist project seems to be becoming more intense. While Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation did not change the ideological balance of the supreme court, her opposition to the Republican Senators was primarily a lack of sympathy for images of child abuse, being tied to the tropes. led by QAnon on satanic child trafficking. it seems to be closer to Republican orthodoxy.

Indeed, the messages of conservatives entering 2024 as a hypercharged version of the eternal paranoia feel that life in America is forever on the brink of extinction at the hands of liberals, immigrants, and LGBTQ + people. One American Network recently right-handed “groomer-chief” Joe Biden, claiming that Democrats are now a party of a dream, “gender-cutting” and the end of human reproduction itself.

This renewed movement, launched by an overheated “parental rights” rhetoric that first came to light during student protection debates, has the potential to reverse much of America’s progress on LGBTQ + rights. Last 15 years.