Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Legislating Human Diversity Out of Existence?

I'd like to think that, even as a teenager, I was a decent person, but I have to admit that, being a straight, white, cissexual male, I was unaware of the privilege that I was accorded just by the mere circumstances of my existence. While in college, having breakfast with some ethnically diverse straight male friends, I remember a line from a campus literary magazine came up: marginalized to the point of negation. As straight males attending a prestigious bastion of prestige, we thought it was a bit histrionic. Well, live and learn, and examine one's privilege, and decades later, it turns out that the current administration of the United States is doing exactly that- the Trump regime is proposing to use policy to 'disappear' the entire transgender population, literally marginalizing them to the point of negation.

Back when I was yukking it up about the line 'marginalization to the point of negation', my awareness of the term 'transsexual' would have been limited to a line in a campy song from a cult musical. At the time, though, I was studying such phenomena as mosaic gynandromorphism and gender shifting in biology class, but transpersons weren't all that visible in the social circles in which I moved. Even now, decades later, it's generally believed that transpersons are just 0.58 percent of the population of the United States, approximately 1.3 million individuals- transpersons are pretty well represented on my blogroll, and I value the wit and grit of my trans-friends.

Since my college days, society has progressed on LGBTQ issues, with bathroom bills having largely been considered the stupid last-gasp legislation of bigots who felt that their time was pretty much up. This has all changed with the ascent of Trump and, in this case I suspect, Mike Pence. Progress is NOT inevitable, but the idea that the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice, as Chris Hayes put it, is wrong- that arc has to be forcibly bent by dedicated activists. Here and now, there is an attempt to 'legislate away' the very existence of a small, marginalized population in these here United States, and such attempts to use fiat to 'remove' people are often precursors to actual attempts to remove them by violence. In these days, when Godwin's Law has up-and-died, the idea of purges doesn't seem so preposterous, and 'marginalized to the point of negation' takes on a cogent, horrifying meaning.

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