Oh, Honey, We're Way Past the Tipping Point
Yes, you read that title correctly—anti-trans measures passed/ordered in states like Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and South Dakota, with others in-process in Texas and Montana, are hope and victory for trans persons.
Think about it. Were such measures ever needed in the past when trans and non-binary persons were obliterated from acknowledgement and literally from existence? Legislatures and courts in bible-belt states were so smug in their hegemony that they denied LGBTQIA+ folks' existence.
The times, they are a-transitionin'! Now, to gin up their social-conservative minority base, Republican lawmakers pour out anti-trans legislation where no such thing ever had to be inkled as a possibility. Now, a tiny group (trans and enbie folks make up approximately 1-2% of the population) make the hardheads circle the wagons. This reactionary knee-jerk signals that hate isn't winning—it's losing.
In fact, it's lost. These measures are already being shot down in courts, public opinion, and business arenas.
Were such measures ever needed in the past when trans and non-binary persons were obliterated from acknowledgement and literally from existence?
A conflagrational turn in cultural attitudes has led the way, sparked by our voices, our presence, our refusal to hide. Organized religion's tribal identity no longer underpins the status quo … because the status quo is no longer status-quo. Unable to ruthlessly enforce a white, cisgender, hetero, Judeo-Western monolith, religious tribes find themselves on the periphery, following the misguided notion that what they have to say is being listened to. It matters only to tribe members and those who curry their voting bloc.
To be sure, the passage of such legislation cannot be ignored by trans and nonbinary persons in those jurisdictions. We fight for our lives because such measures whip up a spiteful minority who will act upon hatred.
We recognize it for what it is: hatred, bigotry, the last gasps of a tyranny
But that's just it—we recognize it for what it is: hatred, bigotry, the last gasps of a tyranny that now throws tantrums where once it ground us under-heel in smug silence. In "Biko," Peter Gabriel 40+ years ago noted a tipping point in the fight against apartheid:
You can blow out a candle
But you can't blow out a fire
Once the flames begin to catch
The wind will blow it higher …
And the eyes of the world are watching now, watching now
What he said became real. Not because he made it so. But because it was always so. In the past 20 years, trans and enbie persons have repeatedly, steadfastly, and courageously said we are persons of sacred worth and human dignity. Saying it aloud, again and again, has put the eyes of the world on its self-evident flame that burned long before the words, the standing up, the courage to be who we are.
The current squall of anti-trans legislation is a denial of reality that blows the fire ever higher. Let's all warm our souls around that flame, for it affirms all humanity.