Trump and transphobic regression

26Not happy enough with removing the word “gender” from anti-discrimination laws, the Trump administration threatens to forcefully assign – and retroactively – any person to his “genitals of birth” or his chromosomes. Overnight, the American Trans could be without papers, without legal existence and without identity.

This ideological war, because it is one, will not stop there. American democracy is starting a huge step back towards a biologizing, authoritarian, supremacist and religious vision of society.

“We will not be erased.” It is the cry of the heart and the resistance Hashtag launched by organizations like the National Center for Transgender Equality, in panic since the last declarations coming from the White House. There is something to be scared of. The president who recommends grabbing women by their pussy seems to have an almost fetishistic tendency to put his nose in the genitals of others without being invited.

As soon as he was elected, he wanted to exclude transsexuals from the army. Their numbers proved so high that he had to give up. But his administration has hardened recruitments to try to slow their entry. Now the same administration is thinking of forcibly transferring 1.4 million citizens who have legally changed their sexual identity. A state assignment of incredible violence.

The naive are wrong never to worry. Those who did not see Trump’s victory coming, or his links with Putin, reassured themselves that he would not do much. False. It is always risky to elect an unstable and deficient person at the head of the world’s largest democracy. Because democracies are fragile. Their gains are more easily defeated than they are earned. Proof. We are  witnessing, stunned attacks unimaginable just a few years ago.

In this world where politicians are powerless to deeply reduce inequalities, we would like to believe that formal rights, at least, are progressing. In this field, the United States has long been an example. It’s over. Under the influence of the extreme right supremacist and fundamentalist, this compass no longer indicates the North. And do not pull the world up anymore.

Who will still be able to encourage certain countries in Africa, Chechnya or Russia to revise their homophobic and transphobic laws if America joins the concert of Nations trampling these freedoms? What will remain of sexual liberation in Europe if all the far-right parties backed by Putin agree to ressurect homophobia and transphobia that constantly attack and even kill?

The so-called Western world might well go behind the Iran of the Mullahs in terms of tolerance. Shiite fundamentalists hate as much as Christian fundamentalists the transgression of sexualities and identities. Yet even in Iran, one can change sex and identity card. And the Supreme Guide does not think about going back! Trump do.

Pushed in the back by a fundamentalist vice-president and a religious right that has gangrened the Republican Party since decades, he began by drying up the American funds of the UN in favor of Family Planning. With a limited vocabulary, he now wants to erase the word “foetus”, “vulnerability” and “science-based” from all US administrations. The pages on global warming have already disappeared from the website of the presidency. Many families in deep America havetaken their kid out of public school to teach them at home that dinosaurs never existed. Several states now protect the right of religious enterprises to discriminate against homosexuals. The Supreme Court keeps nibbling away the progress made in the fight against discrimination.

What’s next ? With the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh and an ultra-conservative majority, the US Supreme Court could become the instrument of revenge on feminism. One day, the federal right to abortion will eventually be overthrown. That day everyone will fall from his chair. We will be told that no one has seen it coming. Yet, all the signals were flashing.


Caroline Fourest


Former journalist in Charlie Hebdo, Caroline Fourest is a writter and a film director.

Her last books in english are In Praise of Blasphemy and Brother Tariq.The double speak of Tariq Ramadan

This column has first been published in french by the Magazine Marianne on the 26 oct 2018.