Try as I might I can’t quite figure out all this transgender blowback that’s going on across this benighted countryt.
That Tennessee law banning most public displays of transgenderism would seem to be the last straw, the most egregious crackdown on people’s personal liberties imaginable. Then I remind myself that when radical, reactionary, neo- and crypt0-fascists get up a head of steam, the sky’s the limit. So Tennessee likely won’t have the last word in criminalizing gender expression.
While most of the nation seems okay with people deciding their genders assigned at birth don’t fit them anymore and, subsequently, acting upon that realization, antediluvian legislatures are falling all over themselves to enact laws designed to stop them. It’s as though a loud minority has taken over.
I suppose that explanation is as good as any.
Statehouse senators and representatives, as well as a passel of higher-ups — including Florida’s Ron DeSantis, Arkansas’s Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene and Colorado’s Lauren Boebert — have positioned themselves as modern-day saviors, proclaiming themselves to be defenders of righteousness and good while cracking down viciously on rights and expressions.
Their chief crackdown right now is men dressing as women. Of course, it isn’t all as simple as that. Men dressing as women implies there are only two gender paths, both imposed on us all at birth and never to be trifled with. Reality and scientific explanation have demonstrated that gender is not binary but a fluid, too often societally warped spectrum. XXs and XYs are but one deciding factor in a person’s self-identification. People are born with a wide range of genital structures. Their minds and hearts, too, encompass an equally vast scale of sex and gender identifiers.
This has been true for all of human history. Men dressing as women, for lack of a better term, has been part of every human culture and society ever studied.
Women dressing as men, too. Yet, somehow, these modern day protectors of children and virtue don’t seem to care much about that aspect of things. Perhaps because women wearing men’s clothing signifies an aspiration to a higher state. To be sure, these anti-cross-gender display laws are written and championed by people who, no doubt, see men as superior beings and why in the hell wouldn’t any thinking woman want ascend to that holy state?
But men dressing as women? By god, that’s sick and evil. It’d be like blacks calling for a return to slavery or Jews loading themselves into the trains headed for Dachau. Crazy!
You see? I’m tying myself into knots trying to figure these people out. With a world entering a climate crisis stage, ongoing wars, the epidemic spread of automatic firearms and random shootings, men still physically abusing their domestic partners, the widening wealth gap, and countless other immediate and long-term threats to humanity, the DeSantis/Huckabee Sanders/Greene/Boebert gang see men on stage wearing spectacular gowns, multi-colored wigs, and dazzling makeup as something, by golly, we have to act on right now!
Of course, the drag-show-ban gang is using The Children as their most potent weapon. I’ve been to many a drag show and I’ve yet to see any crowd therein populated by tots. The Tennessee law specifically refers to The Children. It’s the same canard people used over the past few decades to fight against legal protections for gays and lesbians. What about The Children? they shriek.
It makes me wonder why The Children always pop into their minds when the issue of sex arises. I don’t want to make any unsupported claims here but…, well, use your imagination.
Problem is they’re using their imaginations and, for pity’s sake, thank heavens mine doesn’t go to those places.
Here’s another stab at trying to figure this all out. America — and much of the world — has become this tribal battlefield where each side sees everything the other thinks and says as The Worst Thing Imaginable. To be sure, my side does it too but, sheesh, the Trumpists, the Hard Right, the Fox News-consuming couch monsters have become expert practitioners at it. If the Liberals and the Democrats think drag shows are cool and lesbians can be teachers and gays cops, then these automatically become mortal sins. How many Fox folks even thought about drag shows before the echo chambers they live in brought them up? How many considered RuPaul — remember her? — a threat to children’s safety?
But as my side hollered for more tolerance and embracing of those Others, the other side reflexively dug in their heels. You’re okay with transgender people? In that case, they must be stopped!
As I say, I’m trying here. I’m casting about for answers.
Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon played women in “Some Like It Hot.” Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari did the same in “Bosom Buddies.” Hell, let’s go back hundreds of years to Shakespeare’s original productions in the Globe Theatre where every single solitary female role was played by a man. You’ve heard of Shakespeare, right? The fellow that every high school English teacher in anybody’s memory has assigned their students to read, to study, to embrace. As far as I know, high school students are mostly children.
No wonder there are so many gays and lesbians and drag show performances — The Children have been mesmerized by a playwright who dressed men in women’s clothing! Shakespeare was a groomer!
Am I coming any closer to an understanding here?
I don’t know. I don’t think I’ll ever know. There are some things I don’t want to know. And I sure as hell don’t want to go delving into the minds and imaginations of the likes of Ron DeSantis, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, and the Tennessee legislature.