On Trans Rights, Vote for Biden
and This Week's Writing 12/8/23
Image: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0
(I’m on vacation this week, so posting will be light to nonexistent for the next week or so.)
I try in general not to yell at people about who to vote for or not vote for. I don’t think it’s very effective, and in any case, electoral politics aren’t everything. I can be aligned with people who aren’t comfortable voting Democratic on other issues and tactics, and browbeating those people isn’t helpful.
Still, I have to say, as the father of a trans daughter, watching the Republican debate this week was really frightening. The GOP has come to a bitter, virulent, and I think genocidal consensus on trans people. They do not think trans people should exist, and they are devote to driving them out of public life, by making public services inaccessible, by denying them health care, and ultimately by forcing them to flee Republican states or die.
I haven’t been thrilled with all of Biden’s decisions on trans issues. But there is a world of difference between Democrats and Republicans. In the states, Democrats have been a solid, consistent bullwark against anti-trans policies. In blue states like Illinois and Michigan, legislatures have passed proactive pro trans legislation.
A Republican president would absolutely, and inevitably at this point, push for federal legislation to target trans people, and would attempt to prevent Democratic states from protecting them. A GOP president will also use anti trans rhetoric frequently and deliberately, in an effort to increase anti trans sentiment and target trans people for violence. The GOP has been very clear about this; they hate trans people and do not want them to exist.
I think this is extremely dangerous. I worry for the safety of my daughter and her friends. I worry what this kind of rhetoric is going to mean for other LGBT people.
I know there are a lot of issues where people are unhappy with Biden. I’m unhappy with Biden in a lot of respects; I think his continued push for aid to Israel at this point is unconscionable (though Republicans on stage this week made sure to let us know they wanted more violence in Gaza, not less.)
I also think the choice facing us in 2024 on trans rights and trans life is very stark. I hope, given that, people will find a way to vote for Biden in 2024—and to vote for him even if you’re in a red or blue state where it doesn’t seem to make much difference. Republicans need to know that trans hatred, as an issue, is an electoral disaster, which will lead to sweeping defeat. I don’t think this is a moment to equivocate about that, and I am really worried about what happens if we do.
And after those rather depressing thoughts, here’s what I published this week.
If You Read One Thing By Me This Week, Read
Spitting on Kissinger’s corpse as conceptual art. (EIH)
How the Jews wrote Christmas. (Revealer)
Israel isn’t a refuge for many Jews, and the diaspora can be. (Sojourners)
The GOP debate was a smorgasbord of hate. (Public Notice)
“American Fiction” shows how racism and narrative are tired together in Hollywood. (EIH)
“It Lives Inside” gets possessed by Orientalist tropes. (EIH)
I for one welcome our Oankali overlords. (EIH)
Little conceptual poem that forces you to collaborate. (Five Fleas)
This Poem Is a Process. Whatever Else You Read Today Is This Poem.
Radon Journal interviews me about what I think I’m doing with my poetry anyway. (Radon)