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Republicans Pick On Powerless Groups, Trans Children Latest Target

April 13, 2021

I know how it felt when the Republican Party, both in Wisconsin and from the power of the Oval Office, worked feverishly to place anti-gay marriage referendums on state ballots. As a gay man, I had a personal stake in the attempts to undermine my rights. From that experience and taking note of their attitudes and policy moves on several issues it is clear nothing makes the GOP seem more powerful than when they can place bigotry into law.

But as a student of history and one involved with government and current issues the tactics from the GOP rip at a central understanding. That being this nation always is at its best when we strive to include more people under the large social umbrella. Not limit and restrict such liberties.

It would seem obvious that transgender rights, which is the latest attempt by conservatives to fight the culture wars, will be the toughest fight in the gender wars. But what is gut-wrenching is that they now use children as their partisan club. The battle though is being engaged by the majority in the nation in the same way we gained civil rights for gay Americans. Simply put, success will be attained over time due to more people realizing that others in their lives–perhaps the ones they know best and love–are actually transgender.

Putting a face to the issue is the best way to break down walls.

For now, the reason this issue resonates with me is due to the impact this has on children who are well-aware of the person they are and the need to have acceptance and understanding from the adults in the nation. The political class must recognize their responsibility for preventing the effects of causing trans children to have depression and even commit suicide. Add to the list the bullying and torment of their peers as they play off of the political rhetoric, and it underscores why we need to care.

I come from a background where anti-gay bullying was terrible in my school years, and which was a cause for the suicide of my best friend. I know the toll such boorish behavior causes and the long-lasting impact it creates. So when I say we must help trans children, even if it is not totally understood, I know the reason why we must be caring adults.

I read a powerful article in The Atlantic that cuts to the core of what the Republican Party is doing as it uses trans children as the latest weapon for their partisan ends.

The time for blaming the nation’s problems on gay people was over; now was the time to come together as a country and blame our problems on Muslims. For the past 30 years, the GOP has pursued a consistent strategy: Find a misunderstood or marginalized group, convince voters that the members of that group pose an existential threat to society, and then ride to victory on the promise of using state power to crush them.

Again and again, Republicans have targeted groups they believe too small or too powerless to spark a costly political backlash. By attacking them, the GOP seeks to place Democrats in a political bind. If they decline to bow to demagoguery, Democrats risk looking either too culturally avant-garde for the comfort of more conservative voters—whose support they need to remain viable—or too preoccupied with defending the rights of a beleaguered minority to pay attention to bread-and-butter issues that matter to the majority. This strategy has worked in the past—President Bill Clinton, who signed the federal statute outlawing same-sex marriage in 1996, was no Republican. Many people across the political spectrum accept the premise that defending a marginalized group’s civil rights is “identity politics,” while choosing to strip away those rights is not.

We simply must overcome the bigotry.

We accomplish that by first denying oxygen to the political party that attempts to use trans children for their conservative ends.

And so it goes.

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