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Is trans genocide happening?


MiraF

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I believe conservatives in the US are committing genocide on trans people with a wave of anti-trans legislature, but every time I've made that claim, I've gotten into lengthy debates on the definition of genocide and whether this counts. I tried to see if this is a topic that is discussed elsewhere on the site, but apart from one or two remarks, I couldn't find anything.

Here is my perspective:

 

The definition of genocide according to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide is:

"

... any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

"

This basically means that genocide is an attempt to destroy a group by directly attacking the group's ability to grow or maintain its current population.

This definition is not perfect, but it is far better than some other definitions I have seen people use.

Speaking of; some people have defined define genocide as the killing of a type of people. I disagree, even when the word genocide was being formulated, it referred to destruction of a way of life and imposition of the perpetrator's way of life on the victims. This claim is occasionally accompanied by an appeal to history: instances of mass killings with the implicit claim that this is the only way genocide happens, but while every time there is a mass killing of a specific group, it is genocide, but not every genocide includes mass killings.

Saying "Genocide = the killing of a type of people" is like saying "tall people = people", all tall people are people, but not all people are tall people.

 

Now to make the case that genocide is happening:

Republicans and conservative pundits are calling for the erasure of trans people from the public by excluding us from day-to-day life. Their goal is for us to say "I can't use public bathrooms? I'll stay at home or go out as my assigned gender at birth. I won't be allowed to participate at sports? I'll stay in the closet. Transitioning requires jumping through hoops? I won't transition." The end goal is no more trans people in public, no role models for young people who are questioning their gender, and eventually no trans people at all.

Here is a quote by the Lemkin Institute on the subject:

"

While members of the gender critical movement may argue that they do not seek to kill the physical bodies of transgender people, they do openly seek to eradicate transgender identity from the world, following a genocidal logic similar to the US, Canadian, and Australian boarding schools that sought to “kill the Indian, [and] save the man.”

"

 

https://www.lemkininstitute.com/statements-new-page/statement-on-the-genocidal-nature-of-the-gender-critical-movement’s-ideology-and-practice

 

Finally, there is the fact that the republicans lost the midterms on a platform of trans hate, leading some people to say they don't fear genocide, as the general population isn't anti-trans. While the general population does not support the anti-trans wave, that only means republicans will have less support in battleground areas. This isn't stopping stuff like DeSantis' book ban in red states, and the more the people in these states live under the rule of genocidal people like Ron, the more the demonization of trans people changes their opinions on the subject. If we ignore the trans genocide, believing we have nothing to fear, even in the best-case scenario this will take years to go away by itself, and in that time, we will experience systemic discrimination and legislative attempts to discourage us from being ourselves in public. Already, transgender teachers in Florida that transition while teaching a class K-3 are not allowed to explain that they are no longer the same gender as they were before.

 

What do you think?

 

PS I'm putting this in the general forum because I can't find a forum that fits, as this isn't purely a matter of politics but of public perception and what the living as a transgender person means in the US.

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  • Admin

I think the word Genocide is a bit over the top with what they are really trying to do.  The potential for KILLING us off is pretty slim what with the actual gains we have made in the political environment in the past three elections.  We make them uncomfortable because they are ignorant of the facts that we have been around since the dawn of history when gender per se was not even a known concept, and that our conditions of life are perfectly within the range of healthy and normal for humans.  To them, the possibility of a single death by their hands is out of what they can realistically grasp. The noisy politicians are being asked about something they are clueless about and they look for fast comfortable answers that their questioners can buy into, rather than saying they need to learn more and get information from experts and thereby violating the trust of the simple minded person asking them.  I frequently speak to local politicians and it is amazing how much smarter they seem on our presence after even a short general conversation with them.  Lets get our backends in motion and educate the local folks as best we can. and that is in our reach.

 

The sky never really fell on the chicken, we have to keep that in mind.

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  • Forum Moderator

I agree, @MiraF.  Killing members of a specific group is genocide, but genocide includes a lot more than than just killing.  The intentional extermination of indigenous culture in Canada has been labelled as genocide even though most of the people were not killed (directly).  I think the Lemkin Institute is correct in labelling what is being done to us as genocidal in nature. 

 

The offenders don't care if we live or die, but they do want us gone from visible participation in public life.  They will allow us to live, but only if we do not live as ourselves.  That is a different kind of extermination than outright slaughter, but it is extermination nonetheless.

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  • Admin

I think that, of all the forums, activism is the best fit for this discussion.  The reason being that the way to combat what the political right wing is trying to do is for many, if not most of us, becoming activists ourselves and fight back.  We are here to stay, and the more we fight the efforts to discourage us, scare us, imprison us, and make life for us more difficult and dangerous, the more determined we must become.

 

Carolyn Marie

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1 hour ago, VickySGV said:

I think the word Genocide is a bit over the top with what they are really trying to do.  The potential for KILLING us off is pretty slim what with the actual gains we have made in the political environment in the past three elections. 

In the second section, I explain that outright killing isn't necessary for a movement to be genocidal, with one example being the intentional extermination of indigenous culture in Canada, as Kathy mentioned in her post.

You mentioned gains we have made in the political environment, but while nationally this is losing them battleground elections, in "safe" elections where the debate is solely which of two republicans win, the transphobes are gaining power. Even if nationally, their genocide campaign is not going to affect us, in Florida specifically and in red states in general the genocide is going forward as fast as they think they will get away with. Let me remind you that in the definition, the words "in whole or in part" are used. Even if they only manage to genocide us in Florida, they are still genociding us.

Overall, they are doing this because they want us gone, and that is genocide, even if they don't mean "dead in a gas chamber" when they say gone.

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1 hour ago, VickySGV said:

Lets get our backends in motion and educate the local folks as best we can. and that is in our reach.

Vicky, this comment resonated with me a lot.  I've never really considered myself an activist, but then a good friend told me one day that she thought the way I engaged with others and carried myself in public was meaningful activism.

 

I couldn't argue with her.  I realize that I was changing minds and opinions one person at a time.  It's this tactic that has tremendous power when each of us does our part.  We don't have to beat a drum or march in a protest to have an impact.

 

Mira, I honestly don't believe genocide is taking place.  Yes, there are ignorant souls who attack us because they are terrified because we are different from them, but my experiences have me convinced, these loud mouths are a minority.  

 

It sounds really bad when politicians take up what they perceive as popular causes, but in time, I'm confident we will prevail.  Stay positive; it's not as bad as it sometimes seems.

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3 minutes ago, Sally Stone said:

Yes, there are ignorant souls who attack us because they are terrified because we are different from them, but my experiences have me convinced, these loud mouths are a minority.

They aren't a minority in Florida. 

Books that teach that it is ok to be trans are illegal to have in Florida schools.

6 minutes ago, MiraF said:

while nationally this is losing them battleground elections, in "safe" elections where the debate is solely which of two republicans win, the transphobes are gaining power. Even if nationally, their genocide campaign is not going to affect us, in Florida specifically and in red states in general the genocide is going forward as fast as they think they will get away with. Let me remind you that in the definition, the words "in whole or in part" are used. Even if they only manage to genocide us in Florida, they are still genociding us.

I don't want to sound repetitive, but a nationally losing party can still do a lot of harm at the state and city level. A minority of voters voted for Trump in 2016 and in West Virginia 68.5% of voters voted for him. In some states the transphobes are the majority, and they are doing their best to set a precedent of trans hate and genocide so that if one of them becomes president, he can just expand an already existing policy to the national level.

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I would argue that genocide is not occurring. 

 

For one thing, I don't understand how LGBTQ+ people see that as their primary identity.  I especially don't understand how people think that LGBTQ+ people are some sort of unified block, or all think or vote the same.  There's a lot of diversity there. 

 

I'm a lot of things before I'm intersex/trans.  Those parts of my life are a lot more valuable to my than my gender and sexuality.  At least for me, how is somebody going to know I'm intersex/trans or have some uniqueness in my gender and sexuality unless they get to know me first?  Concealment makes targeting difficult. 

 

I don't see an organized movement against trans folks except by loudmouth politicians in the news.  In the general public, we're not hated or isolated.  I live in a "red state," and overall I'd say the climate is pretty good for me and others like me.  In fact, I'd worry far more about being persecuted in a "blue state" for other aspects of my identity.  I could never contemplate a move to CA or NY (or even traveling there briefly) for those reasons. 

 

If you're worried about genocide, do everything you can to remove power from the state.  The state is the biggest source of genocide, and IIRC in the 20th century, around 170 Million people were killed globally by government.  Frequently by their own government.  A weak state is a state less likely to hurt you, and a strong populace is more able to resist the state. 

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4 hours ago, awkward-yet-sweet said:

For one thing, I don't understand how LGBTQ+ people see that as their primary identity.  I especially don't understand how people think that LGBTQ+ people are some sort of unified block, or all think or vote the same.  There's a lot of diversity there.

This is irrelevant. There is a lot of diversity amongst Christians, as every Cristian is quick to point out whenever someone accuses Christianity of being homophobic, but the not allowing Christians to talk about Christ in public would immediately cause every Christian in the country to start screaming that the Chrisian religion is being eradicated. A Jew who saw himself as primarily a German citizen would have still been killed in the holocaust. Primary identity does not matter, only whether or not you are part of the group.

 

4 hours ago, awkward-yet-sweet said:

Concealment makes targeting difficult. 

It also makes life difficult, and makes you feel alone, as any community interaction will break concealment. A community is important because being trans comes with difficulties unique to trans people, you can't ask a cis person about stuff like binders, and having to deal with problems only you have that you can't discuss with anyone else is dangerous.

 

4 hours ago, awkward-yet-sweet said:

I don't see an organized movement against trans folks except by loudmouth politicians in the news.  In the general public, we're not hated or isolated.  I live in a "red state," and overall I'd say the climate is pretty good for me and others like me.

Do you live in Florida? Ron DeSantis is the current favorite amongst republicans for president. He is isolating Floridian trans people to the point that many are just leaving.

 

4 hours ago, awkward-yet-sweet said:

If you're worried about genocide, do everything you can to remove power from the state.  The state is the biggest source of genocide, and IIRC in the 20th century, around 170 Million people were killed globally by government.  Frequently by their own government.  A weak state is a state less likely to hurt you, and a strong populace is more able to resist the state. 

By weak state, do you mean stopping States from enacting laws that are harmful? Taking away power from the State? In that case, I agree! Let's make a broad law, one that applies to all the States, stopping all legislature from excluding on basis of gender, sexuality, and gender identity on all levels of government. Something on a national level. What would you call that? Maybe... Federal law. That sounds catchy, right?

 

For anyone who didn't catch on, the italics were a joke.

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7 hours ago, Sally Stone said:

Vicky, this comment resonated with me a lot.  I've never really considered myself an activist, but then a good friend told me one day that she thought the way I engaged with others and carried myself in public was meaningful activism.

Same 🥰

Mira, I honestly don't believe genocide is taking place.  Yes, there are ignorant souls who attack us because they are terrified because we are different from them, but my experiences have me convinced, these loud mouths are a minority.

To which I would reply that genocide wasn't occurring in Germany in 1933 when Hitler first became Chancellor....  

 

Stay positive; it's not as bad as it sometimes seems.

Always 💖💝🥰

 

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The persecution of Black Americans is not analogous to the persecution of trans people, but there are intersecting features such as disproportionate levels of violence against and systemic oppression. That is, in particular, violence against both groups is not exclusively individually motivated (de facto), but is abetted by systemic oppression (de jure).  So, to gain some context for thinking about this question, I read two articles, one that argues that the 1951 charge of genocide against Black Americans is compelling:

 

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/12/26/black-activists-charge-genocide-united-states-systemic-racism-526045

 

and another which argues it is not:

 

https://opiniojuris.org/2021/12/30/is-structural-genocide-legally-genocide-a-response-to-hinton/

 

This second article discusses another article on settler colonialism (linked in both articles) whose author states that settler colonialism is eliminatory, but not necessarily genocidal. The 2nd article's author further suggests that therefore systematic "crushing of spirit" may be better defined as cultural genocide, which was deliberately excluded from the genocide convention, however.

 

From what I understand, proof of intent is pivotal in charging genocide. That was the main argument against validifying the charge of genocide against Black Americans. 

 

Anti-trans politicians and policy makers tend to (deliberately) mask their intent by claiming campaigns to save the children. 

 

After reading the 2nd article, I began to read about crime against humanity versus genocide. 

 

UN definition of crimes against humanity (CAH):

https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/crimes-against-humanity.shtml

 

Note the UN definition of CAH refers to gender. Remarkably, the UN definition of gender acknowledges gender as a social construct. 

 

Also note, regarding intent, that "[an] important distinction is that in the case of crimes against humanity, it is not necessary to prove that there is an overall specific intent. It suffices for there to be a simple intent to commit any of the acts listed, with the exception of the act of persecution, which requires additional discriminatory intent. The perpetrator must also act with knowledge of the attack against the civilian population and that his/her action is part of that attack."

Do I believe the trans population is under attack? Yes, without a doubt. Do I believe it's genocide? I view this as an academic question, albeit an important one. I don't know the answer. I do think that it's possible that someone/some people in power will succumb to hubris and unequivocally declare intent to eliminate the trans population. I don't hope for that, but tbh, at least if such intent is made clear, then there is a clearer path to bringing a charge of genocide or CAH. However, I think that using the trans population as a scapegoat to galvanize ones voting constituency is ultimately of greater interest to those individuals than actually destroying us. Nonetheless, we suffer the collateral damage. 

 

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 2/8/2023 at 1:28 PM, Vidanjali said:

I do think that it's possible that someone/some people in power will succumb to hubris and unequivocally declare intent to eliminate the trans population.

I believe this is what we just saw at the CPAC conference.

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15 hours ago, Ivy said:

I believe this is what we just saw at the CPAC conference.

 

Yes, indeed. Things have been significantly escalated. 

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The CPAC speech is not some new ideology they suddenly decided upon, it is a symptom of the rot in the core of the modern Republican party.

If you translate anything they said about us in the last year from dog whistles to English you can see that this is what they were building towards from the beginning. I have said it before, and I will say it again; the party of Trump is the party of populist hatred (think small square mustache under the nose), and the party of DeSantis is the party of institutional fascism.

The only reason neither side has turned the US into a dictatorship is that Trump lacks the brains to organize a successful coup, and his supporters are even dumber than he is. Desantis and the institutional side of the GOP (Fox, Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy) do have the brains to methodologically take over by confirming hundreds of partisan federal judges in an attempt to shift the legal perspective across the country to the right and by legislating an end to freedom of speech (see any Florida law right now) while crying about how the left are the ones attacking the free speech of ordinary bigots. These people, however, are charisma black holes that can't incite a passing interest, and they could never get people to march on their behalf. They are holding on to Trump in the hopes his populism will make them popular by association, praying that some crazy moron dumb enough to say what they all feel doesn't primary them out of existence.

These people are (in many cases literally) unhealthy politics, and "transgenderism" is one of the only things unhealthy politics hate that is still considered an acceptable target by the media.

 

P.S.,

The worst part is that the Dems are doing absolutely nothing about it! They're just sitting there saying "if you go low (and try to kill me), we'll go high (and by high, I mean heaven because we'll be dead)". They should be arresting these people and barring them from ever running again with the fourteenth amendment, and instead they're giving them a slap on the wrist. Joe Biden is a spineless moron who is more interested in cooperation in a pathetic attempt at bipartisanship than with protecting anyone from these fascists. The fact that he is the best-case scenario right now is depressing.

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1 minute ago, MiraF said:

These people are (in many cases literally) unhealthy politics, and "transgenderism" is one of the only things unhealthy politics hate that is still considered an acceptable target by the media.

I can't believe the automatic censor chose "unhealthy politics" as a replacement for "the party of the man with a small square mustache below his nose", it looks so ridiculously funny.

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  • Forum Moderator
1 hour ago, MiraF said:

I can't believe the automatic censor chose "unhealthy politics" as a replacement for "the party of the man with a small square mustache below his nose", it looks so ridiculously funny.

 

Well, automatic censors don't know that Mike Godwin himself said that Gowdin's Law doesn't apply when the subject of discussion is real unhealthy politics.

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