An LGBT Medical Rating System: A response to Washington’s latest decision

By Lynnea Urania Stuart

 

It’s like another bowl of the seven last plagues, but instead of being poured out by God, it’s poured out by a double-tongued White House.  This week’s executive decision to create a “Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom” within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reads like a carte blanche license to refuse medical services to LGBT peoples and to women who either seek or have ever had an abortion.

It reeks of a world without grace or forgiveness, a green light for religionists to pass medical judgments against demographics with whom they may not happen to like or agree.  It’s not just a problematic decision in terms of the well being for all Americans.  It’s problematic for religion and spiritualities as well, whether Evangelical, Catholic, or any other tradition, Abrahamic or non-Abrahamic.

It forces an issue regarding conscience.  While there is precedent in New York that one who opposes abortion on religious and ethical grounds should not be compelled to provide the service and allow another employee to be assigned without disciplinary action,1 it’s clearly a step backwards for many who must decide whether medical ministry should only be provided to those whom they can consider to be potentially acceptable church converts.  In other words, will one’s medical ministry coincide with the words of Y’shua, “Freely ye have received; freely give?” 2 Or will that coincide with a contemporary consensus that says, “Repent according to the decisions of our denomination and ye shall receive a flu shot, else ye shall die?”

The onus is now upon the religious more than ever.  For us who may or may not be members of anti-transgender religious bodies, perhaps we need a system by which we can rate medical practitioners as to whether they are willing to help transpeople or not and to what degree.

 

THE DECISION FROM THE WHITE HOUSE

On January 16, 2018, Politico warned that a new “division” within the office in charge of civil rights at HHS charged with oversight and enforcement of “religious freedom” protections for health care workers.  How extreme would this enforcement be?  HHS would have the ability to punish health care organizations who won’t allow employees to deny medical treatment based on “moral objections” to anyone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or may have made a medical choice that disagrees with that employee.3

What remains to be seen in terms of how draconian this may turn out to be is whether any employee, however low in rank, could force an entire organization into refusal to treat.

Thursday, January 18,  Roger Severino, Director of the Office for Civil Rights at HHS declared, “Never forget that religious freedom is a primary freedom, that it is a civil right that deserves enforcement and respect,” 4

But, we must ask, does this apply to “religious freedom” pertaining to all religions, or only those who are deemed “acceptable” to the Evangelical-Catholic Alliance and ruled by Dominionists?  Would this require enforcement of a Hindu choosing to deny treatment to those who eat beef?  Would this require enforcement of a Jehovah’s Witness choosing to deny treatment that involves blood transfusions?

Certainly not.  The parachurch organizations that pushed for this rule don’t care for those outside their alliance.  They only care about forcing people into their churches.  This rule is clearly an establishment of a certain genre of religions by government intervention.

It’s easy to see how this approach to “discrimination” as defined by judgmental religionists can lead to the kind of religious warfare early American colonists had desired to leave behind in Europe.  It’s also easy to see how the American Civil Liberties Union would be very interested in test cases.  In fact the ACLU reportedly tweeted:

Religious liberty doesn’t include a right to be exempt from laws protecting our health or barring discrimination.  It doesn’t mean a right to refuse to transport a patient in need because she had an abortion.  It doesn’t mean refusing care to a patient because she is transgender.”5

Severino’s idea of a “primary freedom” being a civil right deserving of “enforcement” is far different from allowing an employee to simply not take part in a treatment the employee considers in conflict with his religious practice or moral sense.

It makes sense that Roger Severino would take such a radical position.  Donald Trump appointed him in 2017 from the Evangelical parachurch organization, The Heritage FoundationIn 2016, he had written a report critical of the transgender protections of the Obama administration.6

Not all medical practitioners are on board.  In fact, there is ample belief that the new rule would impose a destructive effect upon  medical ethics and practice.  Ben Brown, a Doctor of Gynecology and Obstetrics and a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health referred to oaths taken by medical professionals including the Hippocratic Oath.  He reportedly said, “Imposing their values on a patient is not in consort with our professional job as doctors.”7

It’s clear that, apart from those who have had an abortion, transpeople specifically are in the crosshairs.  Organizations like The Heritage Foundation that ostensibly oppose transpeople already understand that transpeople require elevated levels of medical treatment.  Their clear objective is to deny any prospect of transition, and if one has transitioned or is transitioning, deny life-sustaining care.  In plain terms, Dominionists really do want us to die one way or another.  Imposing upon medical practitioners in this way amounts to an attempt at mass murder of all who do not enter so-called “conversion therapy,” which for us would be a fate worse than death.

An Alt-Right publication presented the move as “open season on faggots,” and expressed “hope” that this is a “prelude to much greater things to come.” 8 What are these “greater things” specifically, concentration camps?  Do these “greater things” include a license to kill in the manner of the “Shoot the Gays Initiative,” also known as the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” that then California Attorney General Kamala Harris succeeded in keeping off the ballot?9

 

REVERSION AND REFORM

Our own response would necessarily require change to what we had done all along prior to the Affordable Care Act upon which many transpeople have relied for treatment.  Many of us, especially younger people, have not known a time in which transition was done entirely in secret and how facing rejection in families and at work had been events even more dangerous than they have been in recent years in which transgenderism had gained greater acceptance.

In many cases, that greater acceptance will not have changed.  While we used to label medical and psychiatric practitioners as well as other businesses as “gender friendly” or “not gender friendly,” we need to look at how institutions thought of as “gender friendly” might have crusaders in their ranks attempting to enforce denial of medical treatment.  We also need to consider whether a medical office or hospital may have had litigation brought against them, the outcomes, and whether they continue to resist.

Such a system might look something like this for institutions in the future:

  1. Gender friendly institutions
  2. Institutions who are not gender friendly
  3. Gender friendly institutions constrained by individuals not gender friendly
  4. Gender friendly institutions constrained by government action or litigation
  5. Gender friendly institutions who are gender friendly and are resisting government action or litigation
  6. Gender friendly institutions who have succeeded in their resistance.

A similar approach might apply to individual practitioners:

  1. Gender friendly practitioners who are gender friendly
  2. Practitioners who are not gender friendly
  3. Gender friendly practitioners constrained by others in their office not gender friendly
  4. Gender friendly practitioners facing government action , litigation, or institutional discipline for allowing treatment
  5. Gender friendly practitioners resisting government action, litigation, or institutional discipline for allowing treatment
  6. Gender friendly practitioners who have succeeded in their resistance.

Such a rating system would also have to be kept off the open Web for the protection of individual practitioners and institutions given a decaying climate of religio-political intolerance.  This would have to be kept strictly a word-of-mouth designation under advisement of local transpeople.

Please understand.  These are only measures to consider as a possibility for the future.  We haven’t yet come to the point of litigation or government interference.  We haven’t come to the point in which a practitioner may be prosecuted ex post facto for having ever treated a transperson, though there are some who would desire exactly that.

It also means that the often schismatic trans community will have to stand together in cooperation like it has failed to do for decades.  It means a demand of greater respect for one another than what has been the norm among business entities and transgender organizations that rule over their clientele in a cultlike manner.  Internal infighting could become deadly for others, figuratively speaking at first, literally if certain factions in American society have their way.

It also means that religionists must come to terms with the damage they often do in their practice.  No greater damage has been sustained by religion and no greater damage has been imposed upon religionists than the exploitation of religion to inflict harm upon others.  The very entities that seek to withhold life-sustaining care upon transpeople destroy their own ethic of mercy.  While they may speak to the damage a woman may have sustained in herself due to abortion, the same do very little to nurture children brought to term, replacing an awe of innocence with an imposition of guilt through a doctrine of “original sin,” and teaching those children to become twice the children of hell as themselves.  We may well praise the unborn more than the living.

In like manner, whether they realize it or not, the pogroms sought by religionists against LGBT peoples do much the same damage to themselves.  One cannot claim “unconditional love” while nurturing and teaching hatreds tantamount to murder.  The greater damage isn’t to transpeople, a minority of minorities.  The greater damage is to themselves.

And here is where reform really happens.  We who transitioned, on the most part, have already made our peace with our consciences concerning who we are.  Religionists, however, often remain more conflicted than us.  Our people will survive one way or another just like we have since prehistory, simply because we can do nothing else as a people.  In the meantime we must protect one another and those who help us as well.

______________________

REFERENCES:

Featured Image:  The logo for the Department of Health and Human Services superimposed upon a Protestant church whose aura has been diminished.  (Wikimedia Commons)

 

  1. Tom Callahan. “Backing the Right of Nurses Not to Assist in Abortions” New York Times (January 4, 1988, accessed January 18, 2018) http://www.nytimes.com/1998/01/04/nyregion/backing-the-right-of-nurses-not-to-assist-in-abortions.html.
  2. Matthew 10:8
  3. Dan Diamond and Jennifer Habercorn. “Trump to overhaul HHS office, shield health workers with moral objections” Politico (January 16, 2018, accessed January 18, 2018) https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/16/conscience-abortion-transgender-patients-health-care-289542.
  4. Alison Kodjak. “Trump Admin Will Protect Health Workers Who Refuse Services On Religious Grounds” NPR (January 18, 2018, accessed January 18, 2018) https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/01/18/578811426/trump-will-protect-health-workers-who-reject-patients-on-religious-grounds?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20180118.
  5. Twitter (7:58 AM – Jan 17, 2018, accessed January 18, 2018) https://twitter.com/ACLU/status/953657698700156928.
  6. Zack Ford. “Trump administration’s new ‘religious freedom’ rule will encourage discrimination in health care” Think Progress (updated January 18, 2018, accessed January 18, 2018) https://thinkprogress.org/hhs-religious-freedom-rule-5a7ab6052dab/.
  7. Juliet Eilperinand Ariana Eunjung Cha . “New HHS civil rights division to shield health workers with moral or religious objections” Washington Post (January 17, 2018, accessed January 18, 2018) https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/trump-administration-creating-civil-rights-division-to-shield-health-workers-with-moral-or-religious-objections/2018/01/17/5663d1c0-fbe2-11e7-8f66-2df0b94bb98a_story.html?utm_term=.b075cdde5699.
  8. Nick Duffy. “Nazis are thrilled that Trump has ‘declared open season on faggots’” Pink News (January 17, 2018, accessed January 18, 2018) http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/01/17/nazis-are-thrilled-that-trump-has-declared-open-season-on-faggots/.
  9. Anita Chabria. “California ‘Kill the Gays’ ballot blocked” The Guardian (June 23, 2015, accessed January 18, 2018) https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/24/california-court-blocks-kill-the-gays-bill.

The Coffins: the struggle for human rights amid consolidation of power

By Lynnea Urania Stuart

 

People called it the “sick man of Europe” before World War I when it was still an Ottoman Empire.1  Despite revival as a constitutional republic under Kamal Atatürk, and a trend toward secular Europeanism, Turkey now has become increasingly isolated from the West, its entry into the European Union in serious doubt, with realignment of interests with the Russian Federation and a conspicuous decline of human rights.  Part of that decline might be attributed to fears of Kurdish factions and the so-called “Islamic State.”  But others have been caught up in the political melee that sloshed like a pot boiling over when its President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) consolidated power.2

That includes others deemed undesirable and that’s more than minority ethnicities.  It includes transpeople branded as “sinners”, some of which have been incarcerated in what have been called “coffins” by Turkish activists.  Today, activists fear something more:  consolidation of LGBT prisoners into a dedicated prison near İzmir, modern day Smyrna, a city named after the healing resin myrrh.3  But when it comes to the coffins, the “healing” offered more resembles worse than the “conversion therapies” of the West.

 

IN WAKE OF THE COUP DE’ETAT

July 15, 2016 brought shocking developments and also stories of incredible herosism.  Turkish military leaders attempted to overthrow President Erdoğan.  A security detail even kidnapped Turkey’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Hulusi Akar.  Social media had a major role to play in the failure of that coup d’état because it provided a means for President Erdoğan to communicate with his people and it helped to organize immediate widespread resistance against the coup.  Common people, some armed with kitchen utensils, stood with loyalist troops till the rebellion toppled in a few hours.  The last contingent of the rebellion surrendered on the Bosporus Bridge.4

The Erdoğan government blamed Fethulla Gulen of the religious movement Hizmet.  Gulen has been living in exile in the United States since 1999.  Gulenists, once allies of AKP, had staffed government positions with their own people, arousing suspicion with President Erdoğan.5

Then on July 22, the Erdoğan government declared a state of emergency to remove all elements of “terrorism” in the coup attempt.  The Turkish Justice Ministry demanded extradition of Gulen to Turkey.  But to date, U.S. authorities insist that evidence for arrest and extradition is insufficient, a position that seriously damaged Turkish-American relations.6

Recent organizations regarded as “terrorist” include Daesh (the self-proclaimed “Islamic State”),  the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front.  But civilians have also been targeted by Turkish forces who directly and indirectly blame groups such as these, and carry out suspicions with impunity.7

The level of impunity enjoyed by Turkish officials under such a political climate contributes to something else:  exacerbation of human rights violations against minorities including LGBT peoples.  It also means suppression of journalists.  Human Rights Watch reported that news websites and newspapers including the daily Zaman have been blocked and seized, journalists jailed, television stations removed from the state-owned satellite distribution system, and increased requests to Twitter to censor individual accounts.8

This trend in Turkey, of course, goes against the liberties that constitutional republics are supposed to facilitate as guardians of democracy.  However, President Erdoğan himself has been quoted to say, “Democracy is a vehicle, not a goal.”  The statement implies that his goal consisted of something other than that of a democratic reformer like Atatürk.9

In the crosshairs of many who brutally seek their own power amid this climate of elevated suspicion and oppression lurk transfolk who have long struggled for survival.

 

THE TRANSGENDER HERITAGE OF ASIA MINOR

The heritage of transpeople in Turkey has some of the most ancient roots anywhere.  The ruins of Pessinus, the center of the worship of Cybele and the Gallī (Gallae to our modern equivalents) can still be found there.  Cybele’s home at Mt. Ida overlooks the island of Lesbos in the northwest of Turkey as well as the ruins of the city of Troy who would also have known the ministration of the Gallae.  To the south at Ephesus, the worship of Artemis was attended by transgender Megabyzes.  Nobody really knows how far back into antiquity transgender priests have existed.10

Turkey has also been the home of the Temple and Spring of Hermaphroditus, its location now said to be isolated below sea level at a military installation near Bodrum.11

Of course, the fortunes of transpeople of antiquity reversed in the 4th Century CE with the “conversion” of Constantine and the Edict of Rome signed on August 6, 390 CE by Theodosius, with his son and co-Augustus Arcadius, and Valentinian IIThe Edict of Rome consigned “male effeminates” to death by burning, and this formed part of the Corpus Juris Civilis that set the standard for European law for centuries to come.12

While the Edict of Rome may have suppressed transpeople during the Byzantine period, transpeople did gain a measure of recovery under Ottoman rule.  Turkish culture did for many years honor the performances of köçek troupes, males who performed as women.  Homosexuality did exist among the Ottomans, though practices appear to have been covert.13

 

RECENT PROTESTS

During the time transpeople in North America and Europe have asserted their right to exist, Turkish LGBT peoples have taken notice.  For a time it even appeared that transpeople would gain greater status in an enlightened country with the work of Michelle Demishevich on IMC-TV, Istanbul.  However, Michelle was fired September 19, 2014 with charges of “violation of professional ethics,” specifically addressing her “attitude and conduct” while denying that her termination had anything to do with her gender identity.  Of course “attitude and conduct” would include how she presented herself as a journalist.  It’s a pattern we commonly find among employers, even in the United States, who terminate trans workers because of their “presentation and deportment” according to gender identity while falsely claiming another cause for termination, or stating reasons for termination in a nebulous, non-specific way.14

By no means was her termination the first in what would become a series of hits against LGBT peoples.  Authorities answered Istanbul’s 10th annual LGBT Pride event in 2013 with tear gas and water canons.  The protest, attended by an estimated 20,000 people, stood in the face of expressions that followed the World Values Survey in 2011.  According to that survey, 84% of Turkish people dislike gays or lesbians living as neighbors.  The reaction by authorities in Istanbul demonstrated that liberty had not been achieved, and that intolerance ruled Turkish hearts instead.  How did Turkish attitudes slide concerning transpeople?  Very likely, Turks learned those attitudes over recent generations through its adoption of Europeanism in the early to mid 20th Century 15

Authorities’ actions would go a step further in 2016, a year before the coup.  Istanbuls governor ordered a ban of LGBT Pride events and any parade associated with it, citing security concernsand referencing Daesh and Kurdish militants.  Indeed, militants of Daesh had also determined to shut down gay rights rallies with counter-protests.  When a group of activists gathered to read a statement denouncing the ban, police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, and detained 19 activists.16

But anger has continued to seethe over the brutal rape and murder of trans activist Hande Kader August 12, 2016.  Hande, of course, was not the first transperson to be brutally murdered in Turkey, nor was she the first activist to meet such a fate.  We’ve recounted murders of transpeople in Turkey virtually every year at the International Transgender Day of Remembrance. Hande’s body was found in a forest.  She had been raped and burned to death.  The outrage sparked protest in Istanbul, demanding justice, hoping that her murder would mark a turning point.  But that didn’t happen.17

What did happen was Ankara banning all “gay functions.”  This happened on November 18, 2017, arguing that theater events, exhibitions, panels, colloquia, etc. would “provoke reactions within certain segments of society” and are at risk of being targeted by “terrorists”.18

 

WHERE TRANSPEOPLE WENT

Many LGBT peoples have simply disappeared through arrest and incarceration.  Nisan Su Aras of  Hürriyet Daily News reported a response from the Justice Ministry to Zafer Kıraç who questioned their disposition as the chair of the Civil Society in the Penal System Association (CİSST).  The Justice Ministry indicated that 79 LGBT people are being held in solitary confinement and that a “special type of institution” dedicated to housing LGBT peoples is being erected near İzmir.19

The Justice Ministry also described the detainees as “having LGBT” in a manner that suggests that Turkish authorities consider “LGBT” to be mental illness.20

“Pink prisons,” as they are often called, are those facilities which have separate housing for LGBT peoples.  Currently the only ones that exist are in Ankara, Istanbul, and Corum, though solitary confinement has also been practiced elsewhere.  You’d think that this might be a good thing in that LGBT peoples are housed separately from other malicious inmates.  In the case of Turkey, however, this has served to work in the other direction, further isolating inmates in concentrated conditions of abuse.  Reports have emerged of beatings, rape, sexually charged insults and other forms of sexual molestation by guards.21

On January 6, 2015, 18 LGBT associations issued a joint statement against the İzmir prison, asserting that it would further isolate, stigmatize, and facilitate discrimination against LGBT individuals, involving also their families and social circles.  It also complained that many would have to travel great distances to visit detainees.22

 

THE EUROPEAN COURT RULING

An important ruling from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) based in Strasbourg, Germany in 2012 has offered the best hope for activists in Turkey to ameliorate the suffering of detainees.  The case pertains to a prisoner at the İzmir-Buca Prison, not to be confused with the proposed “pink prison” in İzmir.

The text of the ruling, translated by Google, indicates the following:

  1. On 5 February 2009 the prison administration decided to place the applicant in a single cell. The minutes in this issue include the following statement:

“(…) the prisoner who has been arrested for homosexual illness has been placed in a single cell instead of a war where he is staying.”

  1. The Applicant has stated that the population of his/her residence is 7 m2, half of the living area. The applicant also stated that there is a single bed and toilet, but there is no sink. There are mice in the cell, the lighting is poor and the room is dirty.  The applicant stated that there were 10 more of the same types of detainees used for detention charges or for accusation of pedophilia or rape.  On 5 February 2009, the applicant, after being placed in a single person cell, was disconnected from all other detainees and subjected to all kinds of social activities.  He is prevented from going outdoors and allowed to leave his cell only to meet with his lawyer or to attend regular meetings that are held regularly every months. [sic]

  2. The Government not only refused to acknowledge these facts but also informed that there were furniture in the cell and that the means necessary for daily living such as lighting, toilets, beds, cupboards and chairs were available. The Government stated that the applicant was alone in his cell until the arrival of another homosexual prisoner in prison.

  3. On 21 April 2009 the applicant filed a request for the removal of the decisions taken by the İzmir Prosecutor’s Office. The applicant stated that the application form is homosexual, not transvestite or transsexual. According to the applicant, the sexual orientation led to being kept in a single cell without having any contact with other detainees and without participating in any social activity.  In addition, he stated that the above conditions have caused psychiatric problems in himself for about 3 months.  The applicant stated that in the Turkish penal execution system, only prisoners convicted of aggravated life imprisonment were held on similar terms.  The applicant therefore requested that he be treated equally with the other detainees.23

The decision of the court centered upon this issue:

“Article 14 of the Convention reads as follows:

‘The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be without discrimination of sex, race, color, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, membership of a national minority, wealth, birth or any other circumstance.”

  1. The Government opposes this claim and suggests that the purpose of the applicant’s self-appointed single-celled cellar is to protect itself, not discrimination.”24

The court sided with the Applicant:

  1. “In the circumstances of this case, the Court notes that the applicant complained that the inconsistency of the exclusion order from the prison community was in violation of Article 3 of the Convention (paragraph 51 above) [specifically speaking of the isolation as a ‘deep attack on his spiritual and physical suffering and also in the honor of humanity-Author]. The Court recalls that the above applicant assessed that if the standard coherence was concerned, the worries of bodily integrity being exposed to the attack were not entirely unfounded (paragraph 48).  However, as noted above, these concerns are not enough to justify the measure of total isolation from prison life, even if some security measures are required to protect the applicant.

  2. On the other hand, the Court disagrees with the argument that the Government’s secrecy measures were taken at the request of the applicant. The applicant or the deputy requested the prison administration to transfer the applicant to a ward where the homosexual prisoners were held or to another appropriate ward (paragraph 8 above).  The applicant’s deputy stated that his client had been imprisoned and harassed by other detainees to support this request.  As for the applicant, he reported that he had “problems”.  In short, requests were made to transfer authorities to a ward appropriate to the applicant’s situation.”25

The ruling included awarding partial damages to the Applicant.26

You’d think this ruling should have sent shock waves through the Turkish penal system concerning solitary confinement.  However, no appreciable change appears to have taken place.  But this ruling appears to have given further impetus in the Turkish mind to erect a dedicated prison for LGBT individuals “to assure their safety.”  Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag indicated in 2014 the “necessity” of the prison and that construction was continuing.27

 

CONTINUING CONDITIONS

Of course, based upon the aforementioned joint statement by 18 LGBT organizations, scarcely anyone in the Turkish LGBT Community believes the dedicated facility would mean improvement in living conditions, precisely because Turkish officials have demonstrated open hostility, stigmatizing LGBT peoples as “diseased” in the first place.

 LGBTI News Turkey has long boldly publicized incidents of hate against transpeople in Turkey including abuse by Turkish authorities.  This month, the site has told the world about 2 transwomen who had been incarcerated in Tekirdağ No 2.  One named “Diren” in the article was described as “subject to systematic torture inside an F-type prison cell coffin for 3 years longer.  F-type prisons are those facilities geared to solitary confinement.  The article also mentions a detainee called “Buse” who was sentenced to 37 years and convicted without a defense attorney.  She only revealed her gender identity during incarceration.28

“Diren” was accused of spreading “terrorist propaganda” without tangible evidence and convicted.  She is vegan, so has fed on boiled potatoes and tomatoes.  Her requests for female attire have been denied.  Doctors at the infirmary are described as “indifferent”.  Officers refer to her in the masculine.29

The case of “Buse” is being followed up by IHD (Human Rights Association) Co-Chair and attorney Eren Keskin, who has taken charge of the judicial process to clarify her demands for justice.  A statement concerning her case and “Diren’s” is expected next week.  Meantime, both prisoners are writing their histories and experience in their incarcerations.30

One thing that seems so compelling about the cases of these 2 transwomen is the liberal use of “terrorism” to justify incarceration, regardless of how quietly one may happen to live.  Exactly what is “terrorism”, especially in Turkey’s institutional paranoia after the failed coup d’état?

It’s an important question, not just for Turkey, but also for the United States whose “Alt-Right”, in close association with its Evangelical Dominionists, has infiltrated law enforcement throughout the country.31

It’s important because U.S. prisons also often place trans inmates in solitary confinement, doing so “for their protection” from abuse including rape.  Usually, solitary confinement simply consists of single cell residency, not necessarily places of extreme isolation and darkness, often referred to as “the hole.” But in our prisons, abuses have also been noted and publicized.32

What would solitary confinement mean in an American prison system dominated by Dominionists who may insist on “praying away the gay” while facilitating prison rape and beatings?  Would “conversion therapy” become the norm in penal institutions?  No doubt there are Dominionists who would prefer exactly that.  It would also contribute to international complicity with respect to LGBT detainees in prison systems like that in Turkey and other countries whose conditions are even more deplorable.

For Turkey, this mitigation is the fulcrum of what may come, especially where the Erdoğan agenda appears to have backtracked on the reforms set in motion by Kamal Atatürk in his program of Europeanization.  But it takes more than a new orthography to realize the vision of Atatürk.  His reforms should have set forth something momentous for Turkey and the world.  One cannot adopt Europeanism without becoming part of those trends in advance of human rights that has marked the European evolution. 

But some Turks actually do get what it means to rise above the miasma of bigotries and hatreds.  Continuing protests evidence the fact.  The work of attorneys in human rights organizations evidences it too.  There is hope for Turkish society, even in an age of paranoia where human rights are reversed in a period of de-democratization. The “norm” of brutality can eventually be understood as a pervasive evil.

It’s a historical “norm” that has characterized the status of human rights more often than not in systems entrusted to a lecherous species that too often has not been mitigated by deep philosophical thought, but the dogma of religiosity instead.  The status of LGBT prisoners in Turkey could easily be true for ours at any time.  Ultimately, only our vigilance and publication of facts to the world in appeal to conscience can mitigate it.

__________________________

REFERENCES:

Featured Image: A monument to Kemal Ataturk as educator of Turkey’s next generations stands against an image of LGBT protest. (Wikimedia Commons)

  1. Cengiz Çandar. “No Longer ‘Sick Man,’ Turkey Is Lonely, Tired” Al Monitor (July 19, 2013, accessed January 10, 2018) https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/07/turkey-still-sick-man.html.
  2. Patrick Kingsley. “Turkey’s Erdogan Tries to Play Nice, After a Year of Bashing Europe” New York Times (December 28, 2017, accessed January 10, 2018) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/28/world/europe/erdogan-turkey.html.
  3. Moulton, Harold K., ed. The Analytical Greek Lexicon , Revised (Zondervan Corporation, Grand Rapids MI, 1981) ISBN: 0-310-20280-9, p. 371, entry: σμύρνα.
  4. (n.a.) “Turkey’s Failed Coup Attempt: All You Need to Know” Al Jazeera (accessed January 10, 2018) http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/12/turkey-failed-coup-attempt-161217032345594.html.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. (n.a) “Turkey 2016/2017” Amnesty International (accessed January 10, 2018) https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/europe-and-central-asia/turkey/report-turkey/.
  8. (n.a.) “Events of 2017: Turkey” Human Rights Watch (accessed January 10, 2018) https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/turkey.
  9. Steven A. Cook. “How Erdogan Made Turkey Authoritarian Again” The Atlantic (July 21, 2016, accessed January 10, 2018) https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/07/how-erdogan-made-turkey-authoritarian-again/492374/.
  10. Lynnea Urania Stuart. “Ida’s Barren Summit” Transpire(April 14, 2017, accessed January 11, 2018) https://lynneauraniastuart.wordpress.com/2017/04/14/idas-barren-summit/.
  11. (na.a) “Hermaproditus” Revolvy (accessed January 11, 2018) https://www.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=Hermaphroditos&item_type=topic. The specificity of it being on a military base is a matter of belief as an oral tradition.
  12. Lynnea Urania Stuart. “Alas the Charioteer” Transpire (November 25, 2016, accessed January 11, 2018) https://lynneauraniastuart.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/alas-the-charioteer/.
  13. Hanna, Judith Lynne. Dance, Sex, and Gender: signs of identity, dominance, defiance, and desire (University of Chicago Press, 1988), ISBN: 978-0226315515, p. 57.
  14. John DeLamar. “Turkey: Trans journalist fired from television station” Pink News (September 19, 2014, accessed January 22, 2018) http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2014/09/19/turkey-trans-journalist-fired-from-television-station/.
  15. John Beck. “Turkey’s Violent Homophobia” The Daily Beast (July 1, 2013, accessed January 11, 2018) https://www.thedailybeast.com/turkeys-violent-homophobia.
  16. Associated Press. “Turkey uses tear gas to break up gay pride gathering” Los Angeles Times (June 26, 2016, accessed January 11, 2018) http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-turkey-gay-pride-20160626-snap-story.html.
  17. Sarah A. Harvard. “Trans rights activist Hande Kader was raped and burned to death in Turkey” Mic (August 19, 2016, accessed January 11, 2018) https://mic.com/articles/152097/trans-rights-activist-hande-kader-was-raped-and-burned-to-death-in-turkey#.H6wvrjKD6.
  18. (n.a.) “Turkish capital Ankara bans all gay rights functions” BBC (November 19, 2017, accessed January 11, 2018) http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42043910.
  19. Nisan Su Aras. “Majority of imprisoned LGBT’s kept in ‘solitary confinement’” Hürriyet Daily News (July 27, 2013, accessed January 11, 2018) http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/majority-of-imprisoned-lgbts-kept-in-solitary-confinement-51500.
  20. Ibid.
  21. Sibel Hurtas. “Turkey’s ‘pink prison’” Al Monitor (January 21, 2015, accessed January 11, 2018) http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/01/turkey-gay-lesbian-lgbt-special-prison.html#ixzz53dtZdVDN.
  22. Ibid.
  23. İkincidaire XV Turkey (B aşvur no. 24626/09) Karar, Strasbourg (ruling October 9, 2012, accessed January 11, 2018), sections 9-12. http://www.aihmiz.org.tr/?q=tr/node/251.
  24. Ibid, Sec. 52,53.
  25. Ibid, Sec. 58, 59.
  26. Ibid, Sec. 73-75.
  27. (n.a.) “Minister Bozdag: We Homemade Private Prison” Haberler.com (April 12, 2014, accessed January 11, 2018) https://www.haberler.com/bakan-bozdag-lgbt-bireyler-icin-mustakil-cezaevi-5901661-haberi/
  28. (n.a.) “Arat: 2 Trans Women or ‘Sinners’ in a Turkish Prison” LBTQI News Turkey (January 5, 2018, accessed January 10, 2018) https://lgbtinewsturkey.com/2018/01/05/arat-two-trans-women-or-sinners-in-a-turkish-prison/.
  29. Ibid.
  30. Ibid.
  31. Alice Speri. “The FBI Has Quietly Investigated White supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement” The Intercept (January 31, 2017, accessed January 11, 2018) https://theintercept.com/2017/01/31/the-fbi-has-quietly-investigated-white-supremacist-infiltration-of-law-enforcement/.
  32. (n.a.) “Issues: Police, Jails & Prisons” (National Center for Transgender Equality Website accessed January 11, 2018) https://transequality.org/issues/police-jails-prisons.

THE LGBT BELLWETHER: The world watches trans and LGBT rights in Russia and Amerika

By Lynnea Urania Stuart

I have a confession to make.  I love Russians.  Really I do.  I even lived with Russians for a month in the former Soviet Union when a group of mine were speaking in public theaters and Russian schools and my time with Russian friends remains some of my fondest memories.  I’ve met people who were more than good.  I met genuinely generous people, even if they mostly lived in grim poverty.

Of course, I entertain no illusion that all Russians are good and many who invited us to speak had ulterior motives or only had interest in the novelty of seeing an American.  After all, an American in a city where the majority consists of ethnic Russians are as much a novelty for Russians as a Russian citizen might be a novelty in places like Cleveland or Salt Lake City.  But, just as certainly, not all Americans are good either.  Some of us have ulterior motives and if we care to meet a Russian it may be for the novelty of meeting a Russian.

Russian-American relations have long been a roller coaster, not only for our respective societies, but for the world. Nations see a continuing clash of 2 societies bristling with enough nuclear weapons to blast all humanity into oblivion many times over.  Russians and Americans don’t always see eye-to-eye.  Then again, must we always?  Not really.  But human rights issues, often made a political issue on both sides, are in fact moral issues.  Both Russians and Americans have proven to be derelict in this regard too many times.  When it comes to the rights of transpeople, we’re seeing something relatively new:  entry of trans issues in the press and corresponding propaganda concerning them.

 

RUSSIAN BIGOTRIES AND RESPONSES

On New Years Eve, the Russian online propaganda magazine Sputnik International flashed the following headline:  “Tranny Troops: US Military to Accept Transgender Recruits Beginning 2018.” In a recent search, it was evident that Sputnik International changed the headline to read “Trans Troops,” possibly as a result of an international outcry led by the British LGBT news service PinkNews.  But the article wasn’t just disturbing for using an anti-transgender slur, it was disturbing because the article presented the presence of openly transgender people in military service should be laughable, as if the entire U.S. military has become infected with an incurable strain of  bimboism.  Nor was the headline the only slur.  Nick Duffy of PinkNews reported one person in that article referring to U.S. troops as “fags”.  Another said mockingly, “Tranny academy is coming to a cinema near you.”1

Of course, transgender troops have always existed in militaries, whether American or Russian.  We simply haven’t done so openly in the past and the real difference is our demanding human respect with full knowledge that many of us exist who can.  Likewise, Russian military society has smiled upon forcible same-sex rape, especially in subjugation of new conscripts, a legacy from Czarist practices.  Have American forces been immune from this?  We need not be so arrogant as to think so.  Of course, this kind of rape isn’t about homosexual affections.  The passive party is treated as inferior to the active one and the idea of calling another a “fag” isn’t about decrying a perceived violation of a divine command.  It’s about subjugating others.  It’s the same kind of subjugation that has been a theme of abuses associated with patriarchy and ethnic/racial dominance.2

You’d think that decades of Soviet oppression might have resolved such issues in a worker’s paradise of Communism.  You’d think men and women would have been equal.  They haven’t.  You’d think that Russians and other ethnic groups would look upon one another with the same level of respect.  They haven’t.  You’d think that Russians would accept other races who join forces with them.  In your dreams.

When I spoke to a class of Russian students in Daugavpils, Latvia, an instructor asked, “How do you Americans deal with racism?  I know I wouldn’t want to live next door to a Latvian!”  The question was admittedly shocking.  Most Americans speak of races in terms of perceived skin color.  It’s nonsense, of course.  Whites sometimes have darker skin than some Blacks and vice versa.  Asians may look more Native American than Native Americans and vice versa.  But Latvians are Teutons.  Russians are Slavs.  In the Russian mind, the 2 are different races even if the typical American couldn’t tell the difference.  Race is a social construct.

An African friend confirmed in my mind this attitude of Russian Dominionism who will remain unnamed in consideration of his political status.  He had been an instructor in the University of Moscow.  He noted the case of a Black exchange student who had remarked about the beauty of a Russian woman.  Are Russian women beautiful?  Incredibly so, and I’m sure Russian men would agree.

But word of this student’s compliments didn’t set well with local Russians, a group of which took him to the roof of a high building.  He was given a choice.  Either he could jump or he could be sent back to his home country with an official statement that he was homosexual.  That student chose to live with shame.  But when my African friend learned of it, he was reminded of a stark truth.  In his home country, being labeled “homosexual”, true or not, would be the most horrid thing that could happen.  Such could never obtain work.  Such would be rejected by family and prosecuted for any crime imaginable.  His life would be a living hell.  80% of people in my friend’s home country would prefer to jump.3

Such impositions of moral dilemmas aren’t new in Russia or elsewhere in Europe.  They’ve long been used from time to time to control whole demographics.  In Czarist Russia, they often took the form of pogroms.  We usually hear of such pogroms perpetrated upon Jews in the “Pale of Settlement.”  But they’ve occurred against other people as well including those LGBT.4

 

THE THIRD ROME

The Czars operated on one fundamental principle:  to control as much of the world’s population as possible.  It’s an echo of the Roman Empire and “Czar” is merely a Russian version of “Caesar”, ruling what Russians have long believed to be the “3rd Rome” after the empires of Rome and Constantinople.  This idea of the need to dominate to survive is ingrained in Russian society, with a prime directive of church and state united, symbolized by the double-headed eagle.5

Under the leadership of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev Russians began to seriously confront their history of oppression.  As a reformer he sought a purer, more open society characterized by perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness).5 But that meant full democratization and he became a victim of his own movement when the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics broke up into the Commonwealth of Independent States.  Russians suffered horribly amid economic collapse and a weak President Boris Yeltsin.  The population of the Russian Federation entered a serious decline.  Russia was literally dying.6

In the United States many, especially those of Evangelical persuasion, many arrogantly insist that those changes came about because the United States “won the Cold War.”  This isn’t true.  The Cold War was never won by anyone.  Soviets made changes they knew they had to make.  They did so as a matter of their own interests, and ultimately they came back stronger because of it.8

But rising again meant many shifting to the Right.  Free elections ceased to be genuinely free amid electioneering.  Roving gangs equivalent to Neo-Nazis in the United States began to terrorize minorities, especially LGBT peoples.9

 

REVIVAL MADE IN AMERIKA

The collapse of the Soviet Union translated into a bonanza for Western religionists.  An evangelist could target a Russian city and often hundreds lined up to enter the waters of baptism.10 It also meant revival for something else: the traditional Russian Orthodox Church who for centuries had been the guardian of the Russian soul.

During the Soviet era, religion was deeply restricted.  Churches had to be officially registered in order for their existence to be recognized and none were permitted to proselytize.  Of course, some religious bodies proselytized anyway, holding meetings in homes.  By time American evangelists engaged Russian evangelical drives, plenty of Russians already existed who could debate issues of exegesis with the finesse of any Baptist or Pentecostal minister in Texas.

But this heady period of evangelism would not last.  The Russian Orthodox Church enjoyed its own revival, and then, thanks to the Yaroslav Law, became the dominant force in Russian religious society again with President Vladimir Putin as its most prominent member.  Minorities like Jehovah’s Witnesses once more became outlaws.11

Another law emerged in 2012 in Saint Petersburg prohibiting “gay propaganda,” resulting in Pride events being forced off the street and transpeople being forced back into the closet.  Later that law would be expanded to the entirety of the Russian Federation.12

None of this happened, however, without the work of religionists.  If one must oppress his neighbor, there has to be “moral justification” to do so, whether real or imagined.  By 2010, the principle voice for morality in most of the Russian Federation lay in the hands of the ruling Russian Orthodox Church.

 

A REALITY CHECK

Americans have no cause to waggle heads in condescending disbelief.  What’s happening in the Russian Federation has essentially had its counterpart in the United States, though with different steps than what Russians have taken:

  • Russians have their secretive but deadly Right wing gangs. So do Americans.13
  • Russians have their religious bodies condemning transpeople. So do Americans.14
  • Russians have sought to legislate against transpeople. So have Americans.15
  • Russians have made life difficult, even impossible to live for transpeople. So have Americans.16
  • Russians have exhibited ethnic and racial hatreds and these hatreds have often defined their history. Ditto for Americans.17
  • Russians wage covert wars upon other peoples in the world including cyber attacks. So do Americans.18
  • Russians have long orchestrated dezinformatsya (disinformation, what has been called “fake news”). So have Americans and this has accelerated in the age of Trump.19
  • Russians have had their internment camps. America has its detention centers.20
  • Russians have long practiced torture. So have Americans, and neither Americans nor Russians want to admit it, though Donald Trump has declared his support of torture in the presidential debates of 2016.21

In light of these things, can Americans claim any greater morality than Russians?  Hardly.  America may have taken in transgender asylum seekers from the Russian Federation, but once here, they continue to live in the shadows.22  What has been claimed as moral authority on the basis of divine command has on both sides been determined by theocratic declarations by clergy.  Everything else consists of what’s mutually regarded as useful and expedient and what results from that scarcely resembles the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

So do Americans make anti-transgender slurs?  Sure, lots of us do.  Much of America holds the same attitude toward transpeople as many Russians do.  Do all Russians hold this?  Nope.  This writer has known many open-minded Russian people and continues to correspond with Russian friends who know I happen to be trans.

Likewise, the surge of Evangelical Dominionism in American politics parallels the resurgence of Russian Dominionism.  Both have boosted the current occupant of the White House.

Given the right conditions, we could just as easily see widespread oppression of minorities in the United States as we have seen in the Russian Federation.  Transpeople can as easily be rounded up into detention centers as Russians round us up in their prison system and believe you me, Russian prisons sport a palpable aura of creepiness when approached from the outside.  But whether American or Russian, once incarcerated, there’s no guarantee of being able to communicate with a prisoner, or at least a prisoner by his/her/eir rightful name.  The disposition of such prisoners may depend upon presidential decree, commonly called an “executive order.”

Even so, this state of affairs sows the seeds of its own undoing.  It’s true whether Dominionism is the Orthodox Russian style or the American Evangelical style.  Once their enemies are thought to have been “vanquished”, they will inevitably turn upon one another.  When that happens between Russians and Americans, the world has much to fear.

Clearly, both Russians and Americans have yet to completely come to grips with Dominionist attitudes and the world will not be fully at peace till they do.  When America and Russia regard one another and their populations with suspicion, the world trembles.  When they commit to peace, the world lives securely.

In which case, the status of LGBT rights on both sides of the Arctic Ocean is a bellwether for the world, precisely because we’re so particularly vulnerable to pogroms.  When the press speaks of the impending struggle of the trans demographic, finally recognizing that we are a demographic, hope remains.  When those stories become suppressed, profound danger is afoot for other demographics of the world.

It’s kind of like working around sulphur dioxide.  As long as you smell rotten eggs, you won’t die.  If you can smell it no longer, watch out.

But the fact that Russians have published anything at all about transpeople, and adjust their stories for their world readership lends to that hope, even when done disparagingly against Americans and transpeople.  For every time a disparaging story is published, thinking people question.  They should question.  Those questionings make the difference between a population that from time to time rises up to demand liberty and one whose members passively accept what they are told.

__________________________

REFERENCES:

Featured Image:  St. Basil’s Cathedral at night, the most beautiful expression of Russian piety and genius (Wikimedia Commons), the headline from Sputnik spoken of in the article, and the colors of the flag of the Russian Federation.

  1. Nick Duffy. “Russian propaganda outlet Sputnik mocks US ‘Tranny troops’” PinkNews (January 2, 2018, accessed January 3, 2018) http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/01/02/russian-propaganda-outlet-sputnik-mocks-us-tranny-troops/ .  The article from Sputnik International as it stands now can be accessed at:      https://sputniknews.com/military/201712311060452294-us-to-include-transgender-troops/.
  2. Stephanie Papas “Why Russia Is So Anti-Gay” Live Science (February 11, 2014, accessed January 4, 2018) https://www.livescience.com/43273-why-russia-is-anti-gay.html.
  3. The African friend mentioned in this article has been granted assylum in the U.S.
  4. Andrew E. Kramer. “’They Starve You.  They Shock You’: Inside the Anti-Gay Pogrom in Chechnya” New York Times (April 21, 2017, accessed January 4, 2018) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/21/world/europe/chechnya-russia-attacks-gays.html.  An earlier online petition addressing Putin himself appears on Change.org (accessed January 4, 2018) https://www.change.org/p/nbc-news-cover-putin-s-anti-gay-laws-and-pogrom-against-gays-in-russia.
  5. Anatoly Krasikov. “State, Church, and Religious Freedom” Stetson.edu (accessed January 4, 2017) http://www2.stetson.edu/~psteeves/relnews/krasikoveng0910.html.
  6. Sasha Gitomierski. “Glasnost and Perestroika” The Cold War Museum (accessed January 4, 2017) http://www.coldwar.org/articles/80s/glasnostandperestroika.asp.
  7. Drake Baer. “A ‘perfect demographic storm’ is crippling Russia” Business Insider (September 2, 2015, accessed January 4, 2018) http://www.businessinsider.com/a-perfect-demographic-storm-is-crippling-russia-2015-9.
  8. Josh Clark. “Who won the Cold War?” How Stuff Works (accessed January 4, 2017) https://history.howstuffworks.com/history-vs-myth/who-won-cold-war1.htm.
  9. Mansur Mirovalev. “White supremacist gathering underscores Russia’s nationalist trend” Los Angeles Times (August 22, 2015, accessed January 4, 2018) http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-russia-neonazi-20150822-story.html.
  10. Witnessed by the author who had participated as a missionary speaker.
  11. (n.a.) Russia court outlaws ‘extremist’ Jehovah’s Witnesses” BBC (April 20, 2017, accessed January 4, 2017) http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39661339.
  12. Sewell Chan. “Russia’s ‘Gay Propaganda’ Laws Are Illegal, European Court Rules” New York times (June 30, 2017, accessed January 4, 2018) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/20/world/europe/russia-gay-propaganda.html.
  13. Mirovalev article. http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-russia-neonazi-20150822-story.html.
  14. Mark Hodges. “Russian Patriarch: LGBT agenda poses ‘significant threat for the existence of the human race’” Life Site News (November 23, 2016, accessed January 4, 2018) https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/russian-orthodox-leader-gay-marriage-transgenderism-pose-a-significant-thre.
  15. Stephen Ennis. “Russia’s mixed messages on LGBT” BBC (April 29, 2016, accessed January 3, 2018) http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36132060.
  16. Ibid.
  17. Explored in the current article. But in America, one only need look at disparities regarding race and ethnicity including that of police practice to see it.  The riots in Ferguson MO in 2016 demonstrate this rift.
  18. Nicole Perlroth, Mark Scott, and Sheera Frenkel. “Cyberattack Hits Ukraine, Then spreads Internationally” New York Times (June 27, 2017, accessed January 3, 2018) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/27/technology/ransomware-hackers.html.
  19. Neil MacFarquhar. “A Powerful Russian Weapon: The Spread of False Stories” New York Times (August 28, 2016, accessed January 3, 2018) https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/29/world/europe/russia-sweden-disinformation.html.
  20. Raul A. Reyes. “America’s shameful ‘prison camps’” CNN (updated July 23, 2015, accessed January 3, 2018) http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/23/opinions/reyes-immigration-detention/index.html.
  21. Anastasia Zotova. “How to hide evidence of torture inside Russia’s prison system” Open Democracy (October 17, 2017, accessed January 3, 2018) https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/anastasia-zotova/stop-torture-in-russian-prisons; (n.a.) “Torture in U.S. prisons” American Friends Service Committee (report 2011, accessed January 3, 2018) https://www.afsc.org/document/torture-us-prisons.
  22. Adam Taylor. “How a transgender Chechen escaped Russia and found asylum in the United States” Washington Post (September 1, 2017, accessed September 3, 2017) https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/a-transgender-chechen-woman-and-her-plea-for-asylum-in-america/2017/09/01/0edc5bd6-8916-11e7-96a7-d178cf3524eb_story.html?utm_term=.46e4224e7ca0 .

Paranoia and Red Herrings: a Look at Anti-Transgender Conspiracy Theory

By Lynnea Urania Stuart

 

It’s the stuff of great radio.  In fact it’s so great it has done more damage than Orson Well’s Mercury Theater that inflicted national panic in its version of H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds.  It has done more damage because it has contributed to societal divisiveness through sensationalism and confirmation bias.  It’s the belief that change that occurs in our lives as the result of discovery must result from a grand conspiracy centering upon a central cabal.  It has led to mass suspicion of fellow citizens.  It has also fueled presumed justification for discrimination, ostracism, and attempted extermination of transpeople.

 

POPULARIZING A CONSPIRACY OF ILLUMINATI

Some say conspiracy humanly begins in “The Illuminati,” allegedly a conspiratorial cabal determined to dominate the world.  Adam Weishaupt organized the original Illuminati in Bavaria May 1, 1776.  But the Bavarian government learned of Weishaupt’s nefarious doings and destroyed the organization.  Freemasons, a society from which Weishaupt recruited, also suffered suspicion.

Of course, that wouldn’t be the full end of Illuminati because others have held to some basic tenets that Weishaupt did. “Illuminati” is actually the proper expression when speaking of them collectively, being the Latin nominative and genitive plural form.  The nominative singular is “Illuminatus” if an individual is male or “Illuminata” if female, a name that designates a member as “illuminated”. 1

Back in the 1970’s, an individual named John Todd claimed not only to be a former member of “The Illuminati” but  a member of its alleged central government, a “Council of Thirteen” that has allegedly included a representative of Rothchild, Rockefeller, and Kennedy families according to various sources.  Todd claimed conversion to Christianity and had taken upon himself the “ministry” of warning believers everywhere about the dangers of this organization. He considered it so “wicked” it surpasses witchcraft and dictatorship while being the ultimate administrator of both.2

In fact Todd was featured in Chick Publications’ Evangelical comics for many years.  But even as they circulated, John Todd was discredited, and evangelists themselves denounced him for his baseless sensationalism.3

A core of Evangelicals, however, weren’t about to accept that John Todd was the liar he was made out to be.  The popular sensational current about “The Illuminati” continued in various publications from Lyndon LaRouche4 to YouTube videographers “exposing” various pop artists as either Illuminati members or puppets of “The Illuminati.”5  Not a few, including Lady Gaga, accepted the hype and made the buzz part of her own advertisement through a dream of hers and Little Monsters ate it up6Rhianna has been depicted as an “Illuminati Princess.”7

Of course there’s a difference between “The Illuminati” as popularly depicted, genuine Illuminati who started out in various societies, and certain occultists who have taken the title of Illuminati on their own.  They aren’t necessarily as secretive as may be expected either.   Back in 2009 when the online forum Temple Illuminatus was still young they even produced a widget that said, “I’m an Illuminati at Temple Illuminatus” without any consideration of the fact that the widget was grammatically incorrect, and hopefully they’ve changed their widget since then.8

Today various Illuminati groups proliferate in one form or another, to which virtually anyone can gain membership through an online application.9 But when pressing an Evangelical concerning which Illuminati he’s talking about, the typical response consists of heated and flustered embarrassment. “I’m talking about ’The Illuminati.’  Everyone knows what ‘The Illuminati’ is.  How dare you be so wicked to think I don’t know what I’m talking about?”

 

CONSPIRACY FROM COAST TO COAST

Enter Art Bell and his syndicated radio show Coast to Coast AM.10  The program caters to anyone with a good story regardless how untenable and ridiculous it may be.  What matters is that it holds an audience.  Coast to Coast advanced plenty of unproven ideas including Zecaria Sitchin’s determination that the planet Nibiru is returning to destroy civilization based upon Mesopotamian tablets he claimed to decipher.11  It promoted proponents that claimed the world would end in 2012 on the basis of the Mayan calendar.12  It helped propel NASA to send a follow-up space mission to Mars to settle mass suspicions that the “Face on Mars” represented a past or present Martian civilization, a mission that found nothing but a mountain with shadows that could be read as a face if the sun hit at a different angle. 13 It no more proved to be fashioned by humanoids than the feature of the Old Man in the Mountain on Mount Washington in New Hampshire.  It even promoted John Titor, who allegedly time traveled from the future to obtain microprocessors for his post-nuclear time period.  He even showed pictures of his time travel vehicle that reminds us of the film Back to the Future, leaving many of us to wonder why he would waste his personal time talking to mass media about his exploits with such a critical mission at stake.14

The show has included some bonifide scientists too, because they could generate plenty of sexy facts of their own concerning the universe.  Enough provable facts went on the program over the years to sustain a cultlike belief and, true to the nature of cults, many refuse to consider that some of what’s presented as “fact” eventually proves to be hoax instead.  In radio, however, none of this matters.  What matters is holding an audience and keeping listeners and sponsors happy and hopping.

Art Bell retired to the Philippines in 2007 and George Noory took over.  The latter expanded Coast to Coast AM to include television broadcasts.  He succeeded not only in advancing Coast to Coast AM to stellar heights, but also advanced various conspiracy theorists in the popular culture, including those that fuel some popular versions of Evangelical Christianity.

The Conspiratorial version of history proposes the following, at least in the context of the United States, and variations of this exist for other countries, especially in Europe:

  1. God established everything good in the world including classic 20th Century American Evangelical culture before the crises of the 1960’s.
  2. Everything that differs from that “wholesome” American Evangelical cultural tradition including traditional families is categorically evil.
  3. Evil cannot embody truth, therefore, whatever is counter to American Evangelical cultural tradition must be against truth itself.
  4. Dark, evil, and hidden forces are at work at the very center of this evil.
  5. Dark, evil, and hidden forces are at work through secret societies.
  6. Secret societies control the reins of government through some form of shadow government.
  7. We must counter all secret societies and restore traditional American Evangelical culture.
  8. Attempts to restore traditional Evangelical American culture cannot be guaranteed success, therefore, opposing them demands special urgency.

This view has widely appealed to Evangelicals ever since the Vietnam War split American society.  The Evangelical Dominionist we know today, responsible for the rash of anti-transgender legislation, typically holds to the Conspiratorial version of history and incorporates this view as eisogesis of the Apocalypse of John.  The goodness of the American Evangelical cultural tradition isn’t just believed in.  It’s presumed to be patently correct in every respect, one upon which heaven itself can look upon with full approbation.  No other idea is entertained.  Conspiracy theorists discount scientifically established facts if they don’t stroke their confirmation bias.  However, the Conspiratorial version of history is typically colored according to each denomination that claims nobody comes to the Father but by means of Christ and nobody comes to Christ but by means of the denomination.

 

CONSPIRACY, RELIGION, AND TRANSPHOBIA

Various people over the years have considered transpeople to be suspect as puppets of this grand conspiracy.  After all, we appear in the United States in the last half of the 20th Century about the same time as other crises do.  Certain religionists and some non-religious political fanatics have opposed us including psychiatrist Paul McHugh, MD of Johns Hopkins, a self-described “Orthodox Roman Catholic” who served on the Review Board for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  He also claimed that the Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal was not about pedophilia but about “homosexual predation on American Catholic youth.”15  He also worked to end the transition program at Johns Hopkins in the 1970’s, an action that the hospital has recently reversed.16

His work may have influenced the Vatican itself or vice versa.  Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger led the watchdog entity The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith as Cardinal Prefect  beginning with his appointment by Pope John Paul II in 1981 and as Dean in 2002.  Under his leadership in 2003 they directed the superiors of religious orders worldwide that transsexuals be barred as priests, nuns, friars, nuns, and brothers in religious orders or expelled if found afterwards to be transsexual.  A document reported by the liberal Catholic news agency Adista and confirmed by a Vatican official states in these directives:

 

“In the case that there is a serious and irreversible pathology of transsexuality, (the candidate) cannot be validly admitted into the institute or the society, while in cases of doubt, it is forbidden to allow admission since the candidate is missing a clear and full eligibility.”17

 

While not a few Evangelicals consider Catholicism to be part of a worldwide conspiracy (and vice versa), many Evangelicals still accept Ratzinger’s decision and rhetoric.  Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI.

But his successor Pope Francis expanded Benedict’s condemnation to presenting a corporate and political conspiracy in 2016 on World Youth Day:

 

“… We have countries that for years have done a good job of integrating migrants. They have integrated them well. In others, unfortunately, certain ghettos have formed. A whole reform has to take place, on a worldwide level, with regard to this commitment and acceptance. But that is something relative: what is absolute is a welcoming heart. That is absolute! With prayer and intercession, by doing what I can. What is relative is the way I am able to do it. Not everyone can do it the same way. The problem is worldwide! The exploitation of creation, and the exploitation of persons. We are experiencing a moment of the annihilation of man as the image of God.

“I would like to conclude with this aspect, since behind all this there are ideologies. In Europe, America, Latin America, Africa, and in some countries of Asia, there are genuine forms of ideological colonization taking place. And one of these – I will call it clearly by its name – is [the ideology of] “gender”. Today children – children! – are taught in school that everyone can choose his or her sex. Why are they teaching this? Because the books are provided by the persons and institutions that give you money. These forms of ideological colonization are also supported by influential countries. And this terrible!

In a conversation with Pope Benedict, who is in good health and very perceptive, he said to me: “Holiness, this is the age of sin against God the Creator”. He is very perceptive. God created man and woman; God created the world in a certain way… and we are doing the exact opposite. God gave us things in a “raw” state, so that we could shape a culture; and then with this culture, we are shaping things that bring us back to the “raw” state! Pope Benedict’s observation should make us think. “This is the age of sin against God the Creator”. That will help us.

“But you will say to me: “What does this have to do with migrants?” It has to do with the overall situation, no?18

 

TRANSPHOBIA POPULARIZED

Some Protestants and others likewise decry what Pope Francis calls “gender ideology.”  For example, this past week, on December 23, conspiracy theorist David Icke spoke against transpeople in much the same way as the Pope on Coast to Coast AM on a night in which Jimmy Church substituted for George Noory.  His message about transpeople on Coast to Coast AM made the following conspicuous claims:

  1. David Icke is “on board” with the idea of “not discriminating” against transpeople.
  2. “Transgender” isn’t about discrimination but about a campaign to confuse children.
  3. This campaign of confusion is part of the conspiracy that infests other areas of life as well.
  4. The web of conspiracy goes far beyond what can be visible.
  5. Illuminati and other secret societies are only intermediaries of the conspiracy which begins in the spiritual realm.19

It’s essentially the same approach as the mixed message of Pope Francis who on one hand wants to reach out to transpeople and yet condemns them under the pretext of condemning “gender ideology”.  It’s a smokescreen, of course.  Neither Pope Francis nor the website for David Icke stop at ideology.  Both would prefer that transpeople disappear, though we’ve occupied the planet at least since the Pleistocene Epoch.  But nobody who takes that kind of position can be genuinely “on board” for non-discrimination, and a closer look at that website will demonstrate how it attacks the existential aspects of transpeople.

Andrew Cheetham, who writes for that website, claimed that if medical professionals dare to question the “unscientific party line” supporting transition, then they will be ostracized from employment.20

No doubt this reaction resulted from the British National Health Service (NHS) expanding transgender care for youth, something we didn’t see before the work of Jazz Jennings broadly raised awareness about trans youth.  Cheetham cites the anti-transgender campaign group Transgender Trend who decries children being referred to “gender clinics” and claims that these cases have surged to an astonishing 50 per week to the horror of what’s thought to be every parent throughout the United Kingdom.21

50 per week, if true, should arouse examination of how the NHS is actually operating on this matter.  We aren’t told whether 50 per week is an average or a maximum.  We don’t oppose critical review so long as it begins with and utilizes medical and psychological standards instead of religious dogma.  It’s vital and continuing.  It’s part of the process of science and transgender medicine is only a recently recognized practice.  We also consider that the sharp rise in cases may have happened because generations of oppression have prevented youth from coming forward in the first place.

But even this isn’t the extent of criticisms from the David Icke website.  The same writer quoted Peter Hitchins to say that accusations of “cruelty” against those opposing transition therapies is only a “pretext” for a deeper conspiratorial purpose:  destruction of the entire traditional moral and social system, the very idea of male and female after “destruction” of traditional heterosexual marriage.  He stated that this sexual revolution is like all revolutions since the French Revolution of the late 1770’s: built upon the fallacy that humans and human nature are changeable, making it out as destruction of truth itself.22

This, of course, presumes an organized conspiracy to that end is happening in the first place.  However, traditional heterosexual marriage wasn’t destroyed.  Neither some cabal nor anyone else ever told heterosexual couples they couldn’t marry anymore or that their marriages shouldn’t be respected.  Heterosexual couples continue to marry as they always have.  The only thing destroyed to any extent is the presumption that only heterosexual couples could possibly marry because churches have the exclusive right to dictate who may do so whether or not a couple has church membership.

But the claim about revolution and changeability is far more disruptive with respect to human cooperation. The idea that “humans and human nature are changeable,” is a “false idea” (fallacy) attacks the practices of Christianity in its purest form.  Without human changeability, repentance isn’t possible.  People can’t decide to make better lives if they can’t change.

It’s the same trait of changeability that makes transition happen.  It’s no evil thing to recognize something inside that failed to change regardless of how many times you tried to pray it away, something that persisted that caused everyone else around you to think you’re strange, out of kilter, and some unacceptable creature they hate because of your “strangeness”.  It makes sense to make changes that can get yourself into better sync with the world and to demand the world respect you for doing so.  It’s true for the one who converts to Christianity (or any religion) and it’s true for anyone who transitions.

Think about it.  To say this is a “fallacy” demands something else:  that once we mark somebody as “unacceptable” because they seem strange, that person can never be anything but the incorrigible reprobate we presume that person to be.  It literally feeds into the belief that “nobody is going to heaven except me and thee” however a conspiracy theorist happens to define that “me and thee.”

This belief and treatment of fellow humans as “unchangeable” and “irreconcilable” is what stoked the purges of the French Revolution where rivers of blood flowed from guillotines.  That belief helped Hitler fuel tumultuous purges like Germany’s Night of the Long Knives23 and Krystallnacht.24  It’s what sent undesirables to Nazi death camps and Stalin’s gulags.  Both the Nazi and Communist parties have made ample use of conspiracy theories to enflame their populations and LGBT peoples have long been the victims, not the perpetrators of these revolutions.  So have people of various ethnicities like Jews and Gypsies as well as people with disabilities.

 

A SOCIETAL PATHOLOGY OF PARANOIA

The dogmatic presumption that everything seemingly new must represent some evil conspiracy does more than resist growth and development.  It’s a societal pathology of paranoia based upon xenophobia.  Transpeople are only a sideshow in this overall xenophobia.  Conspiracy theorists push for societal regimentation, a return to a stasis as if it were an oasis in an ocean of evil flowing from hell to hell while the people of their choosing take the reins of power with an iron fist necessary to set a society back to that stasis.

Strangely enough, the Christian nations ended up becoming the most regimented and pugnacious people on the planet and most strayed from the early ideal the believers in Y’shua espoused.  Regimentation demands clear boundaries and efficient pigeonholing.  When those boundaries lose those clear definitions, crisis may loom.  The boundaries between traditions and realities discovered in modernity may overlap and even seem alarmingly skewed.  But these intrusions don’t equal conspiracy.  Real conspiracy, however, could arise on the insistence of presumption that, if one’s neighbor accepts change, the same represents evil and therefore must be a conspirator.

It’s a vicious displacement generating red herrings.  The red herring that declares a long disempowered transgender demographic to be part of a mass conspiracy against morality enables another set of social brokers to rise in influence and wealth: the ones who perpetuate that red herring.  That’s the nature of the business and sooner or later those who religiously subscribe to these theories could be led to commit anything at all, even wholesale pogroms not unlike what took place on Krystallnacht.

But Occam’s Razor has good application here: the test that determines the simplest explanation most likely to be the correct one.  Transpeople seek respect because we’ve been oppressed for centuries, often falsely in the name of God.  Our histories have been suppressed in attempted erasure to rob us of our heritage.  Our chances at livelihoods have been viciously curtailed.  Whether young or old, these facts remain.  They’re true and simple.  But conspiracy theories remain not only convoluted but unproven and unprovable, relying as “evidence” of conspiracy the fact that societies change with time as a natural course of events.  There’s a name for that natural course that makes conspiracy theorists squirm and want to scream.  It’s called, “evolution”.

__________________________________

REFERENCES:

Featured Image:  A pixilated detail of the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States, long and erroneously touted as the emblem  of “The Illuminati.”  The symbol of Illuminati, however, has traditionally been an owl. (from the author’s image archive).  It overlaps a detail of The Scream, painted by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch in 1893 (from the author’s image archive).

  1. Joseph Castro. “What Is the Illuminati?” Live Science (September 30, 2013, accessed December 26, 2017) https://www.livescience.com/40048-what-is-the-illuminati.html.
  2. John Todd. “The Illuminati and Witchcraft” Scribd (from a tape recorded lecture in Elkton MD, 1978, accessed December 26, 2017) https://www.scribd.com/document/33023806/The-Illuminati-and-Witchcraft-by-John-Todd
  3. (n.a.) John Todd Overview” Monsterwax (n.d., accessed December 26, 2017) http://www.monsterwax.com/todd.html
  4. Steven Hager. “Inside the Wilderness of Mirrors” (Blog, May 29, 2017, accessed December 26, 2017) https://stevenhager420.wordpress.com/tag/lyndon-larouche/.
  5. com. “Top 10 Celebrities That are Supposedly in the Illuiminati” YouTube (July 7, 2017, accessed December 26, 2017) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5TcPEzWgg0
  6. (n.a.) “Lady Gaga Shares Illuminati Dream” Rap-Up (June 24, 2010, accessed December 26, 2017) http://www.rap-up.com/2010/06/24/lady-gaga-shares-illuminati-dream/
  7. (n.a.) “7 Celebrities Supposedly in the Illuminati” BeliefNet (n.d., accessed December 26, 2017) http://www.beliefnet.com/entertainment/galleries/7-celebrities-supposedly-in-the-illuminati.aspx?p=7
  8. Lux Phoenix Amare Blake. “Part of Why I am Illuminati” Temple Illuminatus (October 26, 2016, accessed ) https://www.templeilluminatus.com/profiles/blogs/part-of-why-i-am-illuminati . Though the widget does not appear in this article, the use of “Illuminati” is questionable, since its form can only be justified in the genitive.
  9. Best demonstrated with a search: https://www.google.com/search?q=Online+Application+for+Illuminati&source=lnms&tbm=vid&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj4t8r22a3YAhXqj1QKHZslDPcQ_AUICygC&biw=1920&bih=974
  10. (n.a.) “Art Bell” Coast to Coast (Website accessed December 26, 2017) https://www.coasttocoastam.com/pages/art-bell
  11. “Zecaria Sitchin” https://www.coasttocoastam.com/guest/sitchin-zecharia/6026
  12. “Ian Xel Lungold 2012 Maya Prophecy End Times Predictions, Secrets the Mayan Calendar Unveiled” YouTube (Coast to Coast video uploaded June 22, 2013, accessed December 27, 2017) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQoxspalmg8&list=PLYluK2rqkrfXivUOLZqS2fVfwrXoi29FQ&index=8 .
  13. “’The Face on Mars’ Turns Forty” (July 25, 2016, Website accessed December 26, 2017) https://www.coasttocoastam.com/article/the-face-on-mars-turns-forty
  14. Nick Morris. “John Titor – Art Bell Coast to Coast AM 3/12/2002 Time Travel” (August 31, 2017, Website accessed December 26, 2017) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNUGkIlHGog
  15. Brynn Tannehill. “Debunking the New Atlantis Article On Sexuality And Gender” Huffington Post (March 24, 2017, accessed December 27, 2017) https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/debunking-the-new-atlantis-article_us_58d5242ee4b0f633072b36a4.
  16. Amy Ellis Nutt. “Long shadow cast by psychiatrist on transgender issues finally recedes at Johns Hopkins” Washington Post (April 5, 2017, accessed December 27, 2017) https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/long-shadow-cast-by-psychiatrist-on-transgender-issues-finally-recedes-at-johns-hopkins/2017/04/05/e851e56e-0d85-11e7-ab07-07d9f521f6b5_story.html?utm_term=.29ab0ee47caa.
  17. Lynnea Urania Stuart. “Francis’ Mixed Message” Transpire (August 11, 2016, accessed December 27, 2017) https://lynneauraniastuart.wordpress.com/2016/08/11/francis-mixed-message/. The denunciation itself can also be found from Winfield, Nicole. “Vatican Denounces Transsexuals” Free Republic, Associated Press (January 31, 2003, accessed August 9, 2016).  http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/833752/post
  18. “Dialogo del Santo Padre con i Vescovi della Polonia (Krakow, 27 Iuglio 2016), 02.08.2016” (Papal Bulletin, Vatican Press [English translation within the bulletin] August 2, 2016, accessed August 9, 2016) http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2016/08/02/0568/01265.html#en .
  19. David Icke https://www.coasttocoastam.com/guest/icke-david/6147 Show on 12/23/2017
  20. Andrew Cheetham. “Pediatrician: How Transgender Ideology is Producing Large-Scale Child Abuse” (Website, dated July 20, 2017, accessed December 27, 2017) https://www.davidicke.com/article/420223/pediatrician-transgender-ideology-producing-large-scale-child-abuse
  21. Andrew Cheetham. “NHS pressured our kids to change sex: Transgender backlash as desperate parents accuse overzealous therapists of ‘blindly accepting’ children’s claims to have been born in wrong body” (Website, dated October 29, 2017, accessed December 27, 2017) https://www.davidicke.com/article/434409/nhs-pressured-kids-change-sex-transgender-backlash-desperate-parents-accuse-overzealous-therapists-blindly-accepting-childrens-claims-born-wrong-body
  22. Andrew Cheetham. “Peter Hitchens: The transgender zealots are destroying truth itself” (Website, dated November 19, 2017, accessed December 27, 2017) https://www.davidicke.com/article/439152/peter-hitchens-transgender-zealots-destroying-truth.
  23. N. Trueman. “The Night of the Long Knives” History Learning Site (March 9, 2015, accessed December 17, 2017) http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/nazi-germany/the-night-of-the-long-knives/.
  24. (n.a.) “Kristallnacht” Holocaust Encyclopedia (accessed December 27, 2017) https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005201

2017: The Year in Review for the Trans Community

By Lynnea Urania Stuart

 

This year has been a profoundly scary roller coaster for the trans community.  We’ve seen incredible successes, suffered incredible defeats, protested like heck, secured great allies as well as great enemies, and sparked outrage like few can do with greater finesse than transpeople.  Enemies have risen and fallen.  A media-advanced “spokesperson” also fell.  Threats have been pushed back but will return in 2018.

Digging into the archives for the year’s stories, here are some highlights in retrospect.  Not one month has passed without stories of significance.

 

January, 2017:  National Geographic publishes an entire issue dedicated to changing views on gender.  It gave attention to transpeople, intersex individuals, and other variations equally with issues of typical females and males.  NatGeo also broadcasts a special on the same subject matter.  The appearance of transpeople on the front cover brought an outcry against National Geographic from religious elements on the Far Right.  The family of a transgender child whose image appeared on the cover would receive threats from anti-transgender extremists.1

 January 1, 2017:  The world’s first reported murder of a transperson takes place in Sioux Falls SD with the death of 2-Spirit Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, age 28 and an active trans community member on Facebook.  The death would be followed 3 days later with the shooting of Mesha Caldwell, age 41, Canton OH.  The 2 deaths forewarn an exceptionally deadly 2017 for transpeople.2

January 18, 2017: The inauguration of Donald Trump. At the same hour as he takes the oath of office as President, the new administration removes the White House website page pertaining to LGBT rights.  One activist says upon seeing the page removal, “So it begins.”3

February 22, 2017: Trump rescinds the Obama Era guidelines allowing transgender to use rest rooms consistent with their gender identity, rejecting the application of Title IX protections for transpeople.  Education Secretary Betsy DeVos expresses her misgivings about the action but obeys the executive order.4

March 2017: Busses appear in Europe and the United States with anti-transgender slogans like: “Boys have penises, Girls have vaginas. Nobody can change sex. It’s biology, not bigotry.”  One of the busses is temporarily impounded by Spanish authorities.  Another is vandalized by protesters in New York City, situations which proponents use to smear the character of opponents and unsympathetic law enforcement agencies.5

 March 2017: Intersex groups gather in Australia and issue the Darlington Statement in which intersex people declare themselves a separate and distinct demographic from transgender peoples:

Allies

“47. Intersex is distinct from other issues. We call on allies to actively acknowledge our distinctiveness and the diversity within our community, to support our human rights claims and respect the intersex human rights movement, without tokenism, or instrumentalising [sic], or co-opting intersex issues as a means for other ends. “Nothing about us without us.”

“48. We encourage all organizations [sic] and bodies that support the intersex movement to recognize [sic] this Darlington statement.

“49. We call for intersex people, and the intersex human rights movement, to be allies to the LGBTQ, disability, Indigenous, anti-racist, and women’s movements.

“50. We call on intersex people to recognize [sic] our own diversity, and call for intra-community dialogue and mutual support.”6

 March 1, 2017: South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, who vetoed anti-transgender legislation in South Dakota in 2015 signs a bill permitting rejection of LGBT peoples in adoption or foster services on the basis of “religious freedom.” Activists are reminded how fragile the legal tide concerning transpeople can be.  Anti-transgender legislation would continue to erupt in many states throughout 2017 with the greatest battles erupting in the state of Texas with various bills battled back and forth into the middle of August.7

 

March 6, 2016:  The U.S. Supreme Court sends Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., Gavin Grimm back to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, largely because of Trump’s position on transgender students the previous month.  Gavin Grimm commits to continue his activism.8

March 23, 2017: The brutal murder of Brazilian transwoman Dandara dos Santos, age 42; her pleas for her assailants to stop beating her was recorded and posted in an online video.  When she could no longer move she was loaded into a wheelbarrow and wheeled away where she was shot dead.  The horrific incident so outraged the international trans community including activists in the United States, extra pressure fell upon law enforcement to bring her assailants to justice.9

April 2017: The Secrets of My Life, an autobiography about Caitlyn Jenner with Pulitzer Prize winning author Buzz Bissinger is released.  Though the book hits store shelves on a massive scale, the trans community largely ignores it, many already feeling exploited and alienated by Caitlyn’s political and social status despite her attempts to advance trans causes.  The book also deepens a rift between Caitlyn and other family members.10

April 11, 2017:  The General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists issues its Statement on Transgenderism which parallels a corresponding statement by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2015 and formally establishing anti-transgender church policy.11

 April 21, 2017: Chechnya President Ramzan Kadyrov announces that “gays” will be eliminated from Chechnya by Ramadan.  Homosexuals and transgender people were herded into concentration camps and tortured into revealing names of other LGBT people.  Few would escape death.12

May 3, 2017: Donald Trump issues an executive order delegating decisions on religious liberty issues to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  The language in Section 4 reads:

Religious Liberty Guidance. In order to guide all agencies in complying with relevant Federal law, the Attorney General shall, as appropriate, issue guidance interpreting religious liberty protections in Federal law.”13

May 17, 2017. Former Army Intelligence Analyst Chelsea Manning is released from prison at Ft. Leavenworth.  After her release Chelsea sports a pixie cut and becomes a media darling even as many continue to renounce her as a traitor for releasing U.S. intelligence information to Wikileaks.  Others hail her as a prisoner of conscience.14

 May 17, 2017: British survey site YouGov releases results from a sample taken February 8 and 9, 2017.  YouGov identifies 21% of American respondents to believe that transgenderism is either a choice or a mental illness.15

June 7, 2017: HR 2796 “The Civil Rights Uniformity Act” is introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives with Vicki Harzler [R] MO as main proponent.  It is referred to the House Judiciary Committee the same day.  It includes 2 rules expressly intended to ostracize transpeople:

“(a) Rule of Construction.—In determining the meaning of any Federal civil rights law, and of any related ruling, regulation, guidance, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the words “sex” and “gender” and their equivalents shall not be interpreted to mean “gender identity” or its equivalent, and the words “man” and “woman” and their equivalents shall refer exclusively to a person’s genetic sex.

“(b) Rule of Interpretation.—No Federal civil rights law shall be interpreted to treat gender identity or transgender status as a protected class, unless such law expressly designates “gender identity” or “transgender status” as a protected class.16

 July 12, 2017: HR 2796 is referred to the Subcommittee in the Constitution and Civil Justice.17

July 5, 2017: Congressmember Vicky Harzler introduces an amendment to the Defense Budget titled,  Prohibition of Department of Defense Medical Treatment Related to Gender Transition, calling transgender military service a threat to national security comparable to North Korea, ISIS, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.”18

July 6, 2017: Trans activist and leader, Brynn Tannehill, writes an ominous op-ed in LGBTQ Nation on behalf of the Bilerico Report concerning the liberties won over the past 35 years in response to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and related federal actions, articulating a widespread belief in the trans community:

“The conservative plan to end the LGBTQ rights movement as we know it snapped into clear focus. It’s not a short term plan, but one that will take place inexorably over the next five to ten years. The scary part is that it is not just feasible, but also highly likely to succeed, and there’s very little the movement can do to prevent its own demise.”19

July 15, 2017: The amendment Prohibition of Department of Defense Medical Treatment Related to Gender Transition introduced by Congressmember Harzler is defeated 209-214 after Defense Secretary James Mattis lobbies against it.20

July 19, 2017: The Defense Department delays implementing acceptance of trans service members for 6 months “pending further study” on the eve of scheduled implementation established in July 2015 by then Defense Secretary Ash Carter.21

July 26, 2017: Donald Trump, after being urged by Steve Bannon to end trans military service, tweets that transgender people will not be permitted in the military, sending shock waves through the Defense Department:

(5:55 am) “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow……”

(6:04 am) “….Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…..”

(6:08 am) “….victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”22

July 28, 2017: Senator Jeff Flake [R] AZ releases Conscience of a Conservative, decrying how badly the GOP it has strayed from the values that had given strength to Conservatism while denouncing the current trend as destructive.  His book signals a rift in the GOP.  He would later announce that he would not run for re-election.  His retreat signals a further decline of bipartisanism, a necessary component that drove passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.23

August 1, 2017: Sylvia Leveque releases the book TRANSACTIVE: A Biography of Gwendolyn Ann Smith.24

August 5, 2017: Caitlyn Jenner is caught by paparazzi driving in public with a Trump supporter’s “Make America Great Again” hat.  She later apologizes to the trans community calling it a “stupid mistake.”  But her standing with the trans community continues to decline as well as relations with the Kardashian family.  TMZ, quotes Kim Kardashian to say she “betrayed the transgender community,” “flaunting her pro-Trump views in a ‘heartless’ way”, promoting transgender rights “selectively and only when useful to her,” and that the Kardashians “want nothing to do” with Caitlyn Jenner.25

 August 14, 2017: Transgender pioneer activist and longtime spiritual leader Holly Boswell dies.26

August 15, 2017: Violence erupts in Charlottesville VA between Anti-Fascists and Alt-Right organizations including the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazis.  The Transgender and LGBT flags are seen in the protests on the side of the Anti-Fascists.  The Alt-Right describes itself as “not non-violent” and directly oppose LGBT people.27

August 27, 2017: Ashlee Marie Preston confronts Caitlyn Jenner at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center at a concert conducted by Trans Chorus LA.  To the horror of Trans Chorus LA and the center, she calls Caitlyn a “fraud and a fake”.  Caitlyn Jenner leaves the event and very little about her appears in the news thereafter.28

September 1, 2017.  A trans Chechen gains asylum in the United States despite changes in federal policy.  She had survived an assassination attempt in the Russian Federation and tells of the horrors resulting from Ramzan Kadyrov’s decision to eliminate “gays”.29

October 3, 2017: The United States delegation to the United Nations votes against Resolution GE.17-16638(E), condemning the death penalty being applied to LGBT peoples and other demographics.  The vote results in widespread condemnation by LGBT activists.30

October 6, 2017: Attorney General Jeff Sessions issues a memo outlining policy on religious liberty.  The language includes:

Employers covered by Title VII may not fail or refuse to hire, discharge, or discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of that individual’s religion.  Such employers also may not classify their employees or applicants in a way that would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities because of the individual’s religion.  This protection applies regardless of whether the individual is a member of a religious majority or minority.  But the protection does not apply in the same way to religious employers, who have certain constitutional and statutory protections for religious hiring decisions.”

The policy sets sweeping changes in terms of discrimination, giving virtually carte blanche acceptance of any hiring (or other) decision pertaining to LGBT peoples as directed by religious leaders.31

October 15, 2017: Attorney General Jeff Sessions orders prosecution of Jorge Sanders-Galvez, the alleged murderer of gender non-conforming individual Kedarie (Kandicee) Johnson in Missouri pursuant to the terms of the Matthew Shephard Act, also called the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.32

October 26, 2017: Intersex activists hold the First Federal Parliamentary Forum in Canberra on Intersex Awareness Day.33

October 30, 2017: Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia finds the Trump ban on transgender military service likely to be unconstitutional and rules against it.34

November 7, 2017: Several transgender candidates win election including Danica Rohm to Virginia’s House of Delegates, Stephe Koontz to the Doraville GA City Council, Tyler Titus as a write-in candidate to the Erie PA School Board, Andrea Jenkins to the Minneapolis City Council (Ward 8), Philippe Cunningham to the Minneapolis City Council (Ward 4), Lisa Middleton to the Palm Springs CA City Council, and Gerri Cannon to the Somersworth NH School Board.  Andrea Jenkins was the first transwoman “of color” elected to office and Philippe Cunningham the first transman “of color.”  Danica Rohm’s election was especially significant because she ran against Robert G. Marshall who had written anti-transgender legislation in Virginia and who attempted to make Danica’s trans status as an impeachable liability during the campaign.35

November 12, 2017: California approves 10 textbooks for elementary grades telling of contributions by LGBT peoples including transpeople.36

November 14, 2017: The Pentagon approves gender confirmation surgery for an active duty service member despite the pending ban on transgender servicemembers.37

November 14, 2017: Australia votes in favor of same sex marriage with 61% of the vote.38

 November 20, 2017: At the International Transgender Day of Remembrance 325 transpeople murdered worldwide in hate crimes are remembered.  The United States particularly remember at least 25 transpeople murdered with slight variations in the count reported.39

November 21, 2017: An Oklahoma jury awards $1.165 million to the transgender plaintiff in the discrimination case Dr. Rachel Tudor v. Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the Regional University System of Oklahoma. The decision addresses Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, bucking a trend established by the Justice Department.40

November 28, 2017: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issues a public apology to LGBT peoples for decades of government pogroms including an apology to transpeople including indigenous 2-Spirit peoples and intersex individuals.  His speech at the Canadian Parliament include:

“Discrimination against LGBTQ2 communities is not a moment in time, but an ongoing, centuries-old campaign.

“We want to be a partner and ally to LGBTQ2 Canadians in the years going forward. There are still real struggles facing these communities, including for those who are intersex, queer people of colour, and others who suffer from intersectional discrimination.

“Transgender Canadians are subjected to discrimination, violence, and aggression at alarming rates. In fact, trans people didn’t even have explicit protection under federal human rights legislation until this year…

“And, Mr. Speaker, I am proud to say that earlier today in this House we tabled the Expungement of Historically “Unjust Convictions Act. This will mean that Canadians previously convicted of consensual sexual activity with same-sex partners will have their criminal records permanently destroyed.

“Further, I am pleased to announce that over the course of the weekend, we reached an agreement in principle with those involved in the class action lawsuit for actions related to ‘the purge.’”41

December 8, 2017: The White House requests a delay from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for recruitment of transgender people in the military.42

December 11, 2017: The U.S. District Court denies the White House request for a delay pertaining to transgender military recruitment.  Recruitment is to begin January 1, 2018.43

 December 11, 2017: The U.S. Supreme court refuses to hear an appeal by Jameka Evans, a security guard in Savannah GA.  She was fired because of her sexual orientation.  The refusal to hear serves to further balkanize the national legal position for LGBT rights in a manner not seen since the sectionalism concerning slavery prior to the Civil War, and raises doubts among trans activists as well concerning the integrity of the Supreme Court.44

December 18, 2017: The White House issues guidelines to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that certain words may not appear in documents addressing budget issues.  The words include “transgender:, “diversity”, “fetus”, “vulnerable”, “entitlement”, “science-based”, and “evidence-based.”  Activists see the action as an attempt at erasure of the trans community and suppression of science.45

December 22, 2017: Donald Trump signs his Tax Reform bill into law, repealing the individual mandate to the Affordable Care Act, virtually destroying a health care safety net upon which many transpeople have relied upon for transition.  At the same time the law provides tax benefits to those making over $75,000 per year and permanently reduces the corporate tax rate to 21%.  The bill further caps property tax deductions, impacting larger states like California and New York with large trans communities.46

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REFERENCES

Featured Image:  A montage of Renaissance woodcuts and image of a stele pertaining to law (Wikimedia Commons) along with one of the books of 2017, TRANS/Active, and a desk calendar.

  1. National Geographic (January 2017) Volume 231, Number 1, National Geographic Society. The cover image in the subscription version appears on page 31 in the newsstand version.
  2. (n.a.) “325 reported murders of trans and gender-diverse people between 1 October 2016 and 30 September 2017” Trans Respect versus Transphobia, Worldwide, a Research Project by Transgender Europe (TGEU) (accessed November 17, 2017) http://transrespect.org/en/research/trans-murder-monitoring/
  3. Colby Itkowitz. “LGBT rights page disappears from White House web site” Washington Post (January 20, 2017, accessed December 20, 2017) https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/2017/live-updates/politics/live-coverage-of-trumps-inauguration/lgbt-rights-page-disappears-from-white-house-web-site/?utm_term=.45bdb8b5cdcc
  4. Jeremy W. Peters, Jo Becker, and Julie Hirschfeld Davis. “Trump Rescinds Rules on Bathrooms for Transgender Students” New York Times (February 22, 2017, accessed December 20, 2017) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/22/us/politics/devos-sessions-transgender-students-rights.html .
  5. Lynnea Urania Stuart. “A Color of Hate” Transpire (March 31, 2017, accessed December 22, 2017) https://lynneauraniastuart.wordpress.com/2017/03/31/a-color-of-hate/
  6. Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand intersex community organizations and independent advocates, including the Androgen Insensitivity Support Syndrome Support Group Australia (AISSGA),1 Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand (ITANZ),2 Organisation Intersex International Australia (OIIAU),3 Eve Black, Kylie Bond (AISSGA), Tony Briffa (OIIAU/AISSGA), Morgan Carpenter (OIIAU/Intersex Day Project4), Candice Cody (OIIAU), Alex David (OIIAU), Betsy Driver (Bodies Like Ours), Carolyn Hannaford (AISSGA), Eileen Harlow, Bonnie Hart (AISSGA), Phoebe Hart (AISSGA), Delia Leckey (ITANZ), Steph Lum (OIIAU), Mani Bruce Mitchell (ITANZ), Elise Nyhuis (AISSGA), Bronwyn O’Callaghan, Sandra Perrin (AISSGA), Cody Smith (Tranz Australia), Trace Williams (AISSGA), Imogen Yang (Bladder Exstrophy Epispadias Cloacal Exstrophy Hypospadias Australian Community – BEECHAC5), Georgie Yovanovic. “The Darlington Statement” (issued March 2017, accessed November 2, 2017) https://oii.org.au/darlington-statement/
  7. Jason Silverstein. “South Dakota law allows child service agencies to reject LGBT clients” New York Daily News (March 12, 2017, accessed March 13, 2017) http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/south-dakota-law-lgbt-child-services-denial-article-1.2995885
  8. Emma Green. “The Trump Administration May Have Doomed Gavin Grimm’s Case” The Atlantic (March 6, 2017, accessed December 21, 2017) https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/03/the-trump-administration-may-have-doomed-gavin-grimm/518676/ .
  9. Marina Lopes. “A horrific murder has awakened Brazil’s transgender community” Washington Post (March 23, 2017, accessed December 20, 2017) https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/03/23/a-horrific-murder-has-awakened-brazils-transgender-community/?utm_term=.2134e4925b30 .
  10. Jenner, Caitlyn with Bissinger, Buzz. The Secrets of My Life (April 2017) Grand Central Publishing, Hachete Book Group, New York City.  ISBN: 978-1-4555-9675-1.
  11. (n.a.) 111-17G Statement on Transgenderism (Rev. April 11, 2017 by the General Conference Executive Committee) https://executivecommittee.adventist.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/111G-Statement-on-Transgenderism.pdf . Also found on Adventist News Network (April 11, 2017, accessed May 11, 2017) https://news.adventist.org/en/all-news/news/go/2017-04-11/seventh-day-adventist-world-church-vote-statement-on-transgender/
  12. Kristina Marusic. “Chechnya’s President Vows To Eliminate Gays By The Start Of Ramadan” New NowNext  (April 21, 2017, accessed September 3, 2017) http://www.newnownext.com/chechnya-gay-purge-kadyrov/04/2017/
  13. Washington Examiner Staff. “Trump’s executive order on religious liberty: FULL TEXT” Washington Examiner (May 4, 2017, accessed May 5, 2017) http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trumps-executive-order-on-religious-liberty-full-text/article/2622142
  14. Emanuella Grinbergand Eliott C. McLaughlin. “Out of prison, Chelsea Manning looks forward to exploring life as a woman” CNN (March 17, 2017, accessed December 20, 2017) http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/17/politics/chelsea-manning-release/index.html .
  15. (n.a.) “21% of Americans believe that being transgender is a mental illness” YouGov (May 17, 2017, accessed May 19, 2017): https://today.yougov.com/news/2017/05/17/21-americans-believe-identifying-transgender-menta/
  16. Text: H.R.2796 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)” https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2796/text
  17. “All Actions H.R.2796 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)” https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2796/all-actions
  18. Zack Ford.  “Conservatives celebrate delay of transgender military enlistment” ThinkProgress (July 5, 2017, accessed July 23, 2017) https://thinkprogress.org/transgender-military-delay-2c4513a2629f
  19. Brynn Tannehill. “Is this the end of the LGBTQ movement as we know it?” LGBTQ Nation (July 6, 2017, accessed July 7, 2017) https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/07/end-lgbtq-movement-know/
  20. Michelangelo Signorile. “Vulnerable Republicans Showed Why Fighting For Trans Rights Is A Political Winner” Yahoo! (quoting Huffington Post July 15, 2017, accessed July 20, 2017) https://www.yahoo.com/news/vulnerable-republicans-just-showed-why-135419590.html
  21. Tom Porter. “What Is Behind U.S. Military Decision to Delay the Induction of Transgender Recruits?” Newsweek (July 1, 2017, accessed July 23, 2017) http://www.newsweek.com/what-behind-us-military-decision-delay-induction-transgender-recruits-630906
  22. Emily McFarlan-Miller. “Trump’s Evangelical Advisors Discussed Transgender Ban at White House Meeting” Religion News Service (July 28, 2017, accessed August 5, 2017) http://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/trump-s-evangelical-advisors-discussed-transgender-ban-at-white-house-meeting.html
  23. David Brooks.  “Jeff Flake Plants a Flag” New York Times (July 28, 2017, accessed July 31, 2017) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/28/opinion/columnists/jeff-flake-plants-a-flag.html
  1. Leveque, Sophia Cecelia. TRANS/ACTIVE: A Biography of Gwendolyn Ann Smith (Winston-Salem NC, Library Partners Press, ZSR Library, Wake Forest University August 1, 2017) ISBN: 978-1-61846-044-8.
  2. Martha Ross. “Caitlyn Jenner Shows Support for Trump after Transgender Ban” San Jose Mercury News   (quoting TMZ, updated August 5, 2017, accessed August 30, 2017) http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/08/04/caitlyn-jenner-apparently-remains-team-trump-despite-transgender-ban/
  3. Mila Madison. “Transgender Symbol Creator and Activist Holly Boswell Passes Away” Transgender Universe (August 14, 2017, accessed August 21, 2017) http://transgenderuniverse.com/2017/08/14/transgender-symbol-creator-and-activist-holly-boswell-passes-away/
  4. James West. “Vice News Just Released Chilling, Must-Watch Footage From Behind Charlottesville’s Battle Lines” Mother Jones (August 15, 2017, accessed August 17, 2017) http://www.motherjones.com/media/2017/08/vice-news-just-released-chilling-must-watch-footage-from-behind-charlottesvilles-battle-lines/
  5. Daniel Reynolds. “Activist Calls Caitlyn Jenner a ‘Fraud and a Fake’ at Trans Fundraiser” The Advocate (August 27, 2017, accessed August 31, 2017) https://www.advocate.com/transgender/2017/8/27/activist-calls-caitlyn-jenner-fraud-and-fake-trans-fundraiser-video
  6. Adam Taylor. “How a transgender Chechen escaped Russia and found asylum in the United States” Washington Post (September 1, 2017, accessed September 3, 2017) https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/a-transgender-chechen-woman-and-her-plea-for-asylum-in-america/2017/09/01/0edc5bd6-8916-11e7-96a7-d178cf3524eb_story.html?utm_term=.46e4224e7ca0 .
  7. Alex Emmons. “The U.S. Voted Against a U.N. Resolution Condemning Death Penalty for LGBTQ People” The Intercept (October 3, 2017, accessed October 4, 2017) https://theintercept.com/2017/10/03/the-u-s-voted-against-a-u-n-resolution-condemning-death-penalty-for-lgbtq-people/.
  8. Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty (Memo, Office of the Attorney General October 6, 2017, accessed October 13, 2017), p. 4. https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1001891/download
  9. Brandon Carter. “Sessions sending top DOJ lawyer to prosecute transgender murder case: report” The Hill (October 15, 2017, accessed October 23, 2017) http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/355557-sessions-sending-top-doj-lawyer-to-prosecute-transgender-murder-case.
  10. Tony Briffa. “Intersex Awareness Day: Commemorating the intersex version of Stonewall” Gay Star News (October 26, 2017, accessed October 26, 2017) https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/intersex-awareness-day-commemorating-the-intersex-version-of-stonewall/#gs.WOqpLcQ.
  11. Dave Philipps. “Judge Blocks Trump’s Ban on Transgender Troops in Military” New York Times (October 30, 2017, accessed December 20, 2017) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/30/us/military-transgender-ban.html .
  12. Lynnea Urania Stuart “What’s Next? Looking Ahead for 7 Trans Officials” Trans Muse Planet (November 12, 2017, accessed December 22, 2017) https://thetmplanet.com/whats-next-looking-ahead-for-7-new-trans-officials/
  13. Helene Cooper. “Pentagon Approves Gender-Reassignment Surgery for Service Member” New York Times (November 14, 2017, accessed December 20, 2017) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/14/us/politics/pentagon-transgender-surgery.html
  14. Joseph Patrick McCormick. “California approves LGBT-inclusive history books for primary schools” Pink News (November 12, 2017, accessed November 13, 2017) http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/11/12/california-approves-lgbt-inclusive-history-books-for-primary-schools/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=PNT&utm_content=JPM
  15. Ben Westcottand Lucie Morris-Marr. “Australia votes ‘yes’ to same-sex marriage” CNN (November 14, 2017, accessed December 20, 2017) http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/14/asia/australia-same-sex-marriage-yes/index.html
  16. pdf. For a list of domestic cases, see Samantha Allen. “On Transgender Day of Remembrance, these Are 25 Trans People Killed, So Far, in 2017” The Daily Beast ( November 20, 2017, accessed December 22, 2017) https://www.thedailybeast.com/on-transgender-day-of-remembrance-these-are-25-trans-people-killed-so-far-in-2017-10
  17. “Jury Awards Transgender Professor 1.1 Million Discrimination Case” NBC News (November 21, 2017, accessed November 22, 2017) https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/jury-awards-transgender-professor-1-1-million-discrimination-case-n822646
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  20. Justin Trudeau (Address to Parliament November 28, 2017).
  21. Will Kohler. “SCOTUS Rejects Lambda Legal’s Appeal In Anti-LGBT Employment Discrimination Case” (Lambda Legal Press Release December 11, 2017, accessed December 20, 2017) http://www.back2stonewall.com/2017/12/scotus-rejects-lambda-legals-appeal-anti-lgbt-employment-discrimination-case.html
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  23. Naomi Jagoda. “Trump signs tax bill into law” The Hill (December 22, 2017, accessed December 23, 2017) http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/366148-trump-signs-tax-bill-into-law