Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci has been quoted quite a lot in recent years amid our various political catastrophes from Trump to Covid-19 to climate collapse and the political center’s seeming inability to resist any of the above. The most famous line from his Prison Notebooks, written between 1929 and 1935 while a political prisoner of the Mussolini regime, is probably: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” This is sometimes more loosely translated as “The old world is dying and the new cannot be born; now is the time of monsters.”
In Southern California’s inland empire, far-right activists associated with The Proud Boys have spent the past year hanging banners from overpasses to broadcast queerphobic messages across the region. “Parents of Trans Kids Promote Mental Illness,” they read. Or: “The Rainbow Belongs to God, Not to LGBTQ.” The banner battle is just one front in an ongoing conflict surrounding the region’s Redlands schools. A network of LGBTQ parents and allies, including several from the group Safe Redlands Schools (SRS), have a text line to receive alerts from community members warning when a new banner drops — to make sure it’s taken down.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a lawsuit challenging Washington state's ban on the harmful practice of so-called "conversion therapy" for minors, a move welcomed by LGBTQ+ rights advocates. The nation's highest court rejected an appeal from Washington, where the 2018 law prohibiting therapists from attempting to change a minor's sexual orientation or gender identity has been upheld by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Although right-wing Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, and Clarence Thomas dissented, their votes fell one shy of the four needed to get the case on the court's shortlist for full review.
There was a lot of screaming and shouting at the Rally to End Child Mutilation, hosted in October 2022 in Nashville, Tenn., by right-wing podcaster Matt Walsh, who has said he would “rather be dead” than have a transgender child. Compared with the noisy attendees, the Proud Boys were relatively quiet. Escorted by police amid a crowd of hundreds outside the Tennessee state house, the black-and-yellow-clad men stood arms akimbo, their tactical cargo pants bloused over their boots, their silent presence an implied threat of enforcement for what the rest of the rally’s speakers said.
Parents of more than 100 trans and gender-expansive children are urging lawmakers to turn their back on the “dangerous and misguided” Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) currently winding its way through Congress. In a fiery open letter shared with Gizmodo, the parents said KOSA, which is intended to shield kids from the harms of social media, would actually make their kids less safe and cut them off from potentially lifesaving resources and communities. “Big Tech is hurting our kids,” they added. “KOSA would hurt them even more.” Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle and President Biden himself have rallied around KOSA in recent months as a potential saving grace in response to a steady stream of reports showing various ways Big Tech platforms can harm young users and contribute to a worrying rise in depression and anxiety.
Students in the Boise School District have filed a federal lawsuit against Idaho school officials to keep them from enforcing a new law meant to prevent transgender students from using school restrooms that correspond with their gender identity. Signed into law by Idaho Gov. Brad Little on March 22, Senate Bill 1100 requires that public schools maintain two separate multi-occupancy restrooms, showers, changing facilities and overnight accommodations for students based on their sex assigned at birth. The law took effect July 1. According to the law, “no person shall enter a multi-occupancy restroom or changing facility that is designated for one sex unless such a person is a member of that sex.”
A federal judge issued a temporary injunction this month that partially blocked enforcement of Florida’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors. In a 44-page opinion, Judge Robert Hinkle offered a lengthy rebuke of the arguments presented by the state of Florida to medically justify banning gender-affirming care—which happen to be many of the same arguments that corporate media have uncritically parroted. In the ruling, Hinkle wrote: In support of their position, the defendants have proffered a laundry list of purported justifications for the statute and rules. The purported justifications are largely pretextual and, in any event, do not call for a different result.
A federal judge on Tuesday struck down an Arkansas law that would have prevented doctors from providing gender-affirming care to transgender youth or referring them to any other health care worker. The state is “permanently enjoined” from enforcing the law, U.S. District Judge James Moody Jr. wrote in his decision. The decision marks the end of the first full trial for such a ban. LGBTQ+ legal experts and advocates believe that the decision in Arkansas, which has blocked the first gender-affirming care ban to become law, will set precedent for other lawsuits in states restricting gender-affirming care.
The violent anti-trans political landscape we’re currently experiencing is devastating. Cruelty weaponized by lawmakers, lack of health care access for trans people, fear mongering op-eds in mainstream newspapers and brutal assaults and homicides targeting trans people — especially Black trans women — are just some of the daily hazards of being trans. With the relentless persecution of the trans community and the bleak reality that trans people face staggering amounts of violence, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and despairing. How do activists committed to liberation maintain focus and dedication when threats are everywhere?
In the first five months of 2023, over 500 pieces of legislation were introduced in the US to restrict the rights of transgender people. This is part of a growing assault, fueled by the corporate media, on transgender existence. Clearing the FOG speaks with journalist and activist Morgan Artyukhina about the history of transgender struggles, the impacts of the current hostile environment on people, how transgender rights are being used to divide and weaken the ruling class and what people can do to show solidarity and stop the assault. Morgan also discusses the importance of education in creating an inclusive society and the corporate retreat from Pride Month.
On April 6, the Biden administration proposed changes to Title IX regulations concerning trans youth participating in sports. The regulation change would prohibit any schools or universities that receive public funding from passing “blanket bans” — bans that prohibit all trans youth from participating in any sport at all — but would make it acceptable for schools to ban transgender students from sporting activities on a sport-by-sport basis. While Democrats are touting this as a win for transgender rights, this is simply another example of the so-called “progressive” party proposing moves to make themselves seem trans-positive, while taking no meaningful action to protect trans children.
To the organizers of yesterday’s march, and to trans youth everywhere: thank you for fighting. No one should have to fight for their very existence, but your example reminds us that there is a joyous, expansive range of human experience that capitalism tries to erase and forget. Your example shows us that there is beauty to be found everywhere and in every moment of the struggle for a better world. We find in your combative example the spirit of the world we will build—free of every oppression. We also thank our trans and queer elders. It’s an incredible thing to have lived in a world so pitted against your very existence for years or decades and still love that world enough to give of yourself for its betterment.
New Orleans, Louisiana - On Friday, March 31, hundreds marched from Washington Square Park to Jackson Square to celebrate Trans Day of Visibility. The marchers also gathered in response to nine anti-LGBTQ bills being considered by the Louisiana legislature. These bills reflect a growing crisis of targeted attacks against LGBTQ youth. The Deadname bill, HB 81, would mandate that public school teachers misgender trans students and use their birth names. Students could appeal for their real names and pronouns to be used with a parental note, but staff would still be allowed to ignore that appeal based on “religious and moral” reasons.
On Saturday October 29, the Florida Board of Medicine voted to begin drafting rules that will ban all gender affirming care for anyone under 18. They did this based on a “medical report” written by a dentist, after refusing to let activists and experts opposed to the ban speak at the hearing while trans youth led a die-in outside. This is the latest advance of the far-right’s deadly and radical anti-trans agenda. The Florida Board of Medicine sets and regulates medical practices and medical professionals in the state of Florida. This rule would essentially ban medical professionals from providing gender affirming care unless they want to risk losing their licenses. This vote follows the DeSantis administration issuing a non-binding order to the Florida Department of Health to stop not just medical transition but also social transition for trans children.
Chanting "trans rights are human rights," "DOE, let us be," and other slogans, students at scores of schools took part in demonstrations calling for the rejection of model Virginia Department of Education policies proposed earlier this month by Youngkin that, if approved, would force schools to categorize pupils according to scientifically dubious notions of "biological sex." The proposed changes would reverse existing trans-affirming guidelines that some students have credited with saving their lives. In what some opponents have called another attempt to erase trans people, the proposal limits the definition of "transgender student" to someone "whose parent has requested in writing, due to their child's persistent and sincere belief that his or her gender differs with his or her sex, that their child be so identified while at school."