Opinion: What did the CPAC speaker mean when he said that “transgenderism must be eradicated”

When far-right commentator Michael Knowles announced from the stage of the Conservative Political Action Conference last weekend that “transgenderism must be completely eradicated from public life,” Rolling Stone ran the headline “CPAC Speaker Calls for Transgender Eradication” under the slogan GENOCIDAL MANIA. But hours later, after Knowles Threatened several news outlets with libel suitsThe editors of Rolling Stone changed that headline to “CPAC Speaker Calls for Ending Transgenderism” and put “GENOCIDAL” in scary quotation marks—appropriate because the editors fear lawsuits.

Knowles pretends to claim that transgenderism and transgender people are two different things. he was careful in his use of “ism”. He said: “There can be no middle way in regards to transgenderism. All or nothing”.

Let’s not think too much about it. Had he said, “Judaism must be eradicated,” or proclaimed an all-or-nothing solution to the problem of homosexuality, no one would have been mistaken in the murderous intent of such a message. This story would have hit the front pages of every major newspaper in the US and other countries. (Which I hope will someday happen when it comes to transgenocide threats from a major political party.)

For the record, transgender people have existed throughout history in every culture, which has been extensively documented. By turning trans existence into an ism, conservatives are trying to present the struggle for equality as a culture war.

The campaign against black history is yet another attempt to turn the existence of one group into an ism. Critical race theory is taught as an elective to high school students in some law schools, not to children in public schools. In fact, when Florida’s Ron DeSantis and other Republican governors banned CRT, they banned the teaching of basic historical facts, such as the details of slavery, the events leading up to the Civil War, what happened during Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the Civil War. Rights movement. (You know, those things are on the posters during Black History Month.)

The state of Florida has also banned discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity until third grade, as well as “inappropriate” teaching after that, so that queer and trans children don’t feel safe enough to open up. When DeSantis says that Florida is a “woke up to die” place, he stalks people. Again, the propaganda strategy is to turn some people into a problematic idea – “awakening” – and then eradicate this ism.

It is also a legal strategy. As the GOP’s gas-filled base attacks drag queens, transgender people and LGBTQ nightclubs, its leaders are pushing anti-transgender bills into state legislatures at breakneck speed – more than 410 in the first three months of 2023. according to the Human Rights Campaign — targeting transgender people, especially transgender children.

It should be remembered that during the first six years of Hitler’s dictatorship, more than 400 anti-Jewish decrees and resolutions were issued, according to Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. Many of these were national laws, “but state, regional and municipal officials, acting on their own initiative, also issued many prohibition decrees in their communities.” Was the legislation “anti-Jewish” or “anti-Jewish”? Does it matter given what happened next?

Here’s the good news: Rolling Stone’s headline now reads: “CPAC Speaker Calls for Ending ‘Transgenderism’ – and Somehow Claims He’s Not Calling for Ending Transgenders.” The updated story features Erin Reed, a trans writer and legal scholar, and of course, chilling quotes where they belong, around “ism.”

Here is one of us must quote: fascism. We should have been using it for years to describe what’s going on, but few people in the national media choose it, instead opting for dumb substitutes like “anti-democratic” or “extremism” or “ultra-MAGA”. I wonder how most Americans can clearly see how things are when news sources use sugary euphemisms instead of the correct word: fascism.

Perhaps the national media are cautious about this ism, so as not to be branded as extremists or lose their audience. Or maybe they keep it until the right moment, so as not to become a boy who screamed like a wolf. If yes, then now is the time. When a political party calls for the eradication of a group of people, that is fascism.

Diane Getch is the author of This Body I’ve Wore, the 2022 Washington Post Best Nonfiction Collection memoir.

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