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The Politics of Queerness

Pride Protest
Illustration by Alec Conwell

If you’ve followed any sort of news in the past couple of years, you’re probably aware of the ongoing attack on queer and trans rights in the United States (and the rest of the world, to be fair, but we’re going to focus on the US). As of last year, there have been hundreds of anti-trans bills and anti-queer bills introduced to a variety of state and federal legislatures, and the number continues to grow. 

Many of the bills are targeting trans kids since far too many people run under the assumption that people under the age of eighteen are incapable of making choices about their own bodies and well-being. This includes restrictions on access to hormones and hormone blockers for people under eighteen, restricting people from using the bathrooms that coincide with their gender, and banning trans people from playing on sports teams that coincide with their gender. Plenty of these bills are also trying to demonize the parents and health professionals that support trans kids, such as charging parents with child abuse if they allow their children to receive hormone therapy and restricting doctors from practicing for administering it. 

There are, unfortunately, outspoken “LGB” groups who try to distance themselves from the trans part of the queer community. They seem to think they are morally superior, and that the cishet people in power will see that they’re just so different from us trans folk. The truth is that the community as a whole is being attacked—there have been numerous states trying to ban drag performers, and there have been a multitude of bills introduced trying to prevent any education on the queer community, inclusive sex education, and queer history. 

There are also people who try to claim that queer and trans rights are not an issue of politics, but that could not be further from the truth. Queerness and transness are inherently political; it does not matter if we wish they were not. We will exist regardless of whether or not the government has deemed it right or lawful—we have always been here, and we will continue to. Still, it is important for us to be recognized and respected by government officials, so those of us who wish to seek medical care and procedures are able to do so safely. The people in power should be able to influence the public in some way, so we do not have to continue to see hundreds of hate crimes documented in the news each year. 

Change has to start somewhere. Sign petitions, research the politicians you support, and keep up with what they are or aren’t doing, call them out if they aren’t doing enough (and they probably aren’t). Support your queer and trans friends, stay up to date with how these laws are affecting their lives where you live, and respect and try to understand their identities even if it doesn’t match how you’re used to seeing certain people present. Trans people especially do not owe you attempts at “passing,” and your respect and support for them should not waiver if they don’t match up with your binary ways of thinking.

To my queer and trans friends reading, I have faith that things will get better, and know that you are absolutely not alone in any of this. Seek support from your friends and family, and don’t ever think you’re a burden for existing. Don’t settle for anything less than you know you deserve. 

Written and Illustrated by Alec Conwell

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