Trans rights: a very important issue for American politics

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The American Democratic Party he is torn apart by the affair Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York state accused of harassment by three women, and other major issues such as dispute between the moderates and the left wing of Sanders on not raising the minimum wage. But rfinds its unity on the issue of the rights of transgender people to which Joe Biden devotes extraordinary attention from the very first hours of his mandate, to the point of threatening sanctions against those countries that do not respect them. The question of women's sports that are open to transwomen, physically much more imposing (significantly at the moment there is no evidence of the opposite, that is, of transmen who want to go and get hurt in male competitions). So after the "bathroom wars" during the Obama administration, the T issue once again becomes a major political issue in the United States, with i conservatives elated in this battlefield, the athletes forced to mobilize to save their sports, American citizens and townspeople forced to pretend that there is nothing strange if a T-woman weighing 80 kg and 1.80 meters tall competes with a woman of much smaller size, the sports news reports are forced to avoid the topic so as not to descend into the grotesque. And Kamala Harris who -bizarrely- remains silent.

Here is an article from Washington Post

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On his first day, President Biden signed an executive order increasing protections for transgender students. On the sixth day, he revoked the rule that prevented transgender people from joining the military. On the sixteenth day, it has threatened sanctions against countries that suppress the rights of transgender people.
And on the 37th day, his nominee for assistant secretary of health went to a confirmation hearing to become the first openly transgender federal official officially approved by the U.S. Senate.
Biden is pursuing a broad effort to redefine transgender rights in America; attempt which, although it tends to go unnoticed, sparked a conservative backlash and fueled Republican efforts to paint Democrats as extremists on social issues. Among other arguments, conservatives increasingly cite the much-discussed argument that espousing transgender rights threatens women's sports.
“You can't win against men,” said state representative Janel Brandtjen Wisconsin, where a bill to ban transgender athletes from women's sports. “This is biology, reality. And honestly it risks ruining women's sports forever. Why should you compete if you know you can't win?“.

Alphonso David, president of Human Rights Campaign, he replied that these claims are unfounded and mask other political purposes.
“It's nothing new that transgender people are participating in sports consistent with their identity in 2021 – this has been happening for decades,” David said. “Ask yourself: why is this only a problem now? It's a problem because anti-equality forces understand that their fallacious rhetoric It does not work anymore. They need a target and an enemy to mobilize their base.”

Conservatives express outrage, for example, that toymaker Hasbro has decided to drop the title “Mr” from its Mr. Potato Head brand, leaving it gender-neutral. Republicans are criticizing Dr. Seuss Enterprises' decision to stop publishing several of the author's books that contain offensive racist images.
But Biden's push to expand transgender rights is emerging as a shared cornerstone in a party that remains divided on a host of other issues.
Nearly half of states have bills ready that, like Wisconsin's, would ban transgender athletes from women's sports. House legislators in Mississippi voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill Wednesday that would ban transgender athletes from playing women's public sports. The bill is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Tate Reeves who last month criticized Biden's transgender policies, saying they would harm athletes like his daughters.
In the Senate, Republicans raised the topic several times during confirmation hearings, with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) questioning Biden's nominee for health secretary, Rachel Levine, on transgender medical treatments, saying puberty blockers can cause irrevocable changes.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) raised concerns about this with Biden's education secretary, citing his grandchildren as an example.
“I have pictures of my eight granddaughters behind me,” Romney said during a video hearing. “They shouldn't have to compete with people who are physiologically in a completely different category.”
Last Sunday the ex-president Donald Trump, in his first major speech since leaving the White House, said Biden's policies would "annihilate" women's sports. “If this doesn't change, women's sports as we know them will die” Trump said. “They will finish.”
Conservatives make no secret of the fact that insisting on women's sports is a more advantageous way for them to frame the debate, rather than discussing the right of transgender people to be treated like everyone else.
Terry Schilling, executive director ofAmerican Principles Project, has long sought to craft a message about transgender politics for Republican candidates. Polls last year, he said, suggest that many voters — including Biden supporters and those who normally support LGBTQ rights — oppose the idea of allowing biologically male athletes to compete in women's sports.
“We found that the issue of women's sports was not only exceptionally powerful, but also had the advantage of not being exclusionary,” Schilling said. “Our organization could persuade politicians to promote it.”
But transgender advocates say that in the 16 states that allow full inclusion of transgender students in high school sports, the dire warnings are not borne out by reality. “Last time I checked, women's athletics is not gone,” said transgender advocate Gillian Branstetter.
Fewer than 2 percent of U.S. high school students identify as transgender, according to data published in 2019 by Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Virginia Del. Danica A. Roem (D-Prince William), one of the first openly transgender elected officials in the country, said Republicans' focus on transgender rights is a change in strategy after they failed to block same-sex marriage. “When they start losing on one side of the cultural conflict, they switch gears,” he said.
The message, he added, threatens an already vulnerable group. “The more they do it the more… what happens?” Roem said. “What happens is they exacerbate an already toxic environment for children.”
Transgender rights emerged as a national issue and exponentially in 2016, when North Carolina enacted a law restricting bathroom use for transgender people. This has created problems for businesses across the country, and the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) boycotted North Carolina until the law was repealed.
White House officials say Biden came into office determined to change the government's approach to transgender rights, maintaining promises made during the campaign. He was a frequent ally and family friend of Sarah McBride, who won the race in Delaware in November and became the country's first transgender senator.
Catherine Lhamon, deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council of the White House, said that most of Biden's initiatives are aimed at restoring rights that previously existed.
“Rights have always existed – rights are not new,” explained Lhamon, who works on racial justice and equality at Domestic Policy Council. “We have had an administration that for four years has turned its back on some of us in a reprehensible and horrible way. This administration will not do that."
Transgender rights enjoy growing support, polls suggest. In a 2020 survey by Kaiser Family Foundation, half of U.S. adults believe society has failed to sufficiently recognize the rights of trans people, while 15 percent say society has already done too much.
But polls indicate a partisan divide, with Democrats more likely to believe that gender can be different from biological sex. Democrats are also much more likely to allow transgender people to use a bathroom that matches their gender identity rather than their sex assigned at birth.
Changes in public opinion could make the issue sensitive for Republicans. One Republican strategist — who chose to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the topic — said Americans' increased acceptance of the LGBTQ community means the debate about transgender people is an "effective message" only within communities socially conservative or religious. 
Republicans plan to target districts with large densities of Hispanics, especially South Florida and Texas, who supported Trump's message of keeping America and American families safe, the strategist said .
Republican officials believe an ad launched in Texas against Democratic House candidate Gina Ortiz Jones, a lesbian, helped sink her campaign in a largely Hispanic, border district. The advert would have highlighted the candidate's support for the idea of transgender soldiers serving in the Armed Forces.
Republicans are also building their agenda to reach suburban women and mothers. Schilling's group is planning to focus on Democratic congresswomen who are former athletes — including Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), a college basketball and volleyball player — arguing that they would be less successful if they took on transgender women.
A coalition of LGBTQ advocates is planning to launch a campaign to counter some of the Republican rhetoric, saying that will put pressure on some conservative senators to pass theEquality Act, a federal law that protects LGBTQ rights.
Their belief is that Republicans' focus on women's sports is nothing more than the latest version of previously used - equally invalid - arguments regarding same-sex marriage and transgender bathroom use. “We're really looking for the most effective methods to engage in addressing this narrative. This narrative is simply not true. It's based on fear."
Studies on transgender athletes are limited so far and based on small and restricted samples. LGBTQ advocates and health experts say talking about the biological advantages of transgender athletes ignores discrimination, trauma and other social barriers that can affect a transgender athlete's ability to compete.
Transgender advocates and pediatricians also say the medical treatments many transgender youth receive, including puberty blockers and hormones, can mitigate any physical disparity.
NCAA guidelines currently require at least a full year of testosterone suppression before a transgender woman is allowed to compete with other women. Those guidelines, published in 2011, noted that transgender women show a “noticeable physical difference, just as there is a noticeable natural difference in size and ability between non-transgender women and men.”
Much of the current debate has focused on the push to pass theEquality Act, which would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill passed the House by a vote of 224 to 206, with three Republicans joining Democrats in support. Now it's the Senate's turn where, if all the Democrats supported it, 10 Republicans would still need to vote in favor for the law to pass.
During the House debate, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) called the legislation “an attack on God's creation” and said that if the bill passed it would mean that “men who dress up and think they are women will have rights over all real girls and women."
Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.), whose office is near Greene's and who has a trans daughter, put a transgender flag outside his office, which prompted Greene to hang a poster outside her office reading: “There are TWO genders: Male and Female. Trust the science!”
The Biden administration recently withdrew from a lawsuit in Connecticut seeking to ban transgender athletes from women's sports. The lawsuit was filed by several female athletes who argue they would have won state titles and had other opportunities but had to compete against two transgender sprinters. The Trump administration had signed off on supporting the cause.

Matt Viser, Marianna Sotomayor and Samantha Schmidt 

(translation by Angela Tacchini). The original article here


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