As some of you may be aware in recent months the United States has seen a massive spike in violence targeted at Trans and Queer people. This has been happening at the State level through bills being passed to suppress and eliminate Trans youth and at the local level by White Supremacist and “the far right” targeting Pride events. We in Canada are not free of this danger as we have seen throughout Pride month this year; the public spaces where we gather with our community are being attacked by threats of violence. Public venues across the country are reporting countless incidents of receiving threats over the phone and online. While Queer folk have been sounding the alarm for over a year now that Transphobic rhetoric has been on the rise in their communities, our leaders have been notably silent save for some written statements.
One of the main talking points that is being used is this idea that Queer folk are inherently sexualized. That simply being in our presence is “grooming” children to grow up Queer & Trans. This narrative of “protecting the children” has been a call to action for far right radicals for a very long time. This is notably one of QAnon’s central indoctrinating beliefs. By centering their conversation around children’s safety they have effectively created a moral imperative amongst themselves. However, decades of research has shown that kids are not made to be Trans, they simply are, and that providing them with access to resources and affirming care greatly increases their mental health and wellbeing.
Recently the Whitehorse Star published a letter to the editor from Jonas Smith. In his letter, Mr. Smith draws upon the very same talking points mentioned above. It’s a clear dog whistle to garner the support of a radicalized far-right voting base that is moving on from protesting against mandates to a new social issue. When a platform is provided to hate and bigotry it helps normalize that discourse. This is part of the problem we are seeing with the rise in Far-Right radicalization. One of their goals is to raise the Overton window so as to allow for Anti-Trans and -Queer rhetoric to be publicly acceptable.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion but they are not entitled to a platform. Even though they tend to exclaim that they are being censored or canceled, Transphobia continues to be given a lot of space by the media and politicians across the world, while our voices are the ones often being muted or going unheard.
Countless studies on youth have shown that children as young as four years old have developed an understanding of socialized gender norms and identity. As for sexuality; heterosexuality is the social norm in our society and kids are surrounded by representations of this throughout childhood. From Disney movies showing romances between a Cis Male & Female, to more intimate depictions in other media. However we only see an outcry when romance and sexuality is depicted outside of cisheteronomativity. Being visibly Queer & Trans is not inherently sexual just as being visibly Cis & Straight. Presenting a child with representation allows them the possibility of understanding themselves better. Though for some, sex is inseperable from a Queer expression of Gender and Sexuality. When a youth or child expresses interest that falls outside of their cishetero understanding they believe it to be sexual in nature though they can recall their own innocent crushes fondly and free of sexual urgency from a similar age.
We urge you all to be an ally to the Queer & Trans community. Speak out, hold these people to account, and help protect our community from the rising tide of Anti Trans & Queer violence. And to everyone within the 2SLGBTQIA+, QTBIPOC, and Queer community, take care and be safe. We will always advocate for health, safety, and dignity, but not just for us, for all people experiencing systemic injustice and marginalization.
To read the full letter with source links, quotes from local politicians, and additional material please visit: QueerYukon.com/qys-news.html