Andrew Sullivan, the gay conservative blogger long known for using his weekly New York magazine column to post sometimes unintentionally (if sometimes also unintentionally hilarious) transphobic opinions, has finally jumped the shark.
OK, make that “jumped the scalpel.” The latest column is about (I am not making this up) how transgender people are coming for your kids.
This is, by the way, a meme also being mobilized across the right to paint transgender police as the new Big Bad Wolf of American politics, banging down the doors of decency — from the supposedly respectable American Conservative site —“Yes They REALLY ARE Coming for Your Kids”—to the wingnut sites like Abounding Grace Radio, “They Are Coming for Your Children,” and The Stream, “Yes, Gay Activists Are After Your Children.”
Whenever the right wants to demonize social change it doesn’t like, it screams to anyone within earshot that they’re after your children. Because kids are vulnerable, defenseless, and only a total degenerate would target them.
So in the 1950s, the Commies Were Coming for Your Kids, seducing them into betraying the all-American lifestyle of democracy, apple pie, and high quality toilet paper. In the '60s, the Feminists Were Coming for Your Kids, turning impressionable boys into little sissy bitches and vulnerable girls into strident, demanding, mannish lesbians. And then in the '70s of course we had Homosexual Panic — Homosexual Rights Was Coming for Your Kids. Queers were just lurking nearby every classroom and candy store, ready to pounce on your children and seduce them into the dark underbelly of the homosexual lifestyle. Not content to stand idly by on the Sidelines of Slander, Sullivan has now carved his own name deeply into this roll call of wingnut shame.
Only now it’s trannies who are coming for your kids.
But the column doesn’t work: His libel is too large, and our community is simply too small and too beleaguered. And the idea that trans activists are out there looking to arm-twist defenseless. impressionable kids to drop Vitamin T (testosterone) or get surgery is beyond risible, it’s contemptible.
Needless to say, this doesn’t stop Sullivan from trotting out the same tired right-wing rhetorical tropes. Here’s one from The Stream: “The homosexual movement cannot grow by reproduction, so it must grow by seduction, especially in our schools … by indoctrinating our children, from toddlers to pre-schoolers, and from elementary school to college. … Unable to generate his own calumnies, Sullivan offered this retread: “Like any religion [trans] wokeness understands the need to convert children. …It’s also some gender non-conforming kids falling prey to adult suggestions, or caused by social contagion. Almost certainly both.”
This quote (perhaps unconsciously) mines the two twin pillars of right-wing assaults on any kind of social change it doesn’t like: the fear of uncleanliness, blood pollution, and bodily contagion, and the idea that dark, sinister forces are out there preying on the most vulnerable among us, looking to seduce and indoctrinate them.
So it’s time to come clean: I am one of those people Sullivan warns you about it.
I have been trying to find someone, anyone, I could seduce into the seamy underbelly of the transgender lifestyle. I thought perhaps I could take them to the Southern Comfort Conference or sneak them into a meeting of the National Center for Transgender Equality. So I have hung around soda counters, pool halls, and even pachinko parlors (look it up). I have wandered Times Square at 2 a.m., looking for groups who appear vulnerable and/or defenseless, and hissing, “Hey … wanna buy some estrogen? Testosterone? Good stuff! Guaranteed hospital grade!”
No luck. Mostly I just got mugged (three times). It is surprisingly difficult to seduce people into underbelly of the transgender lifestyle. For some reason people are reluctant to ingest body-changing hormones and/or undergo six-hour surgeries on their genitals. I’m sure there must be a reason.
Perhaps some of their hesitation is the violence. The latest was Tracy Williams, just 22 years old, stabbed to death in a parking lot. Her body lay in the Houston morgue for almost two weeks, cold, unclaimed, and unidentified.
I guess trans is not as universally popular as Andrew thinks it is. Yet these inconvenient stories just keep coming up in the news, two or three every month, sometimes more — mostly Black, almost all female. And always poor and almost always young.
But I digress, back to being predatory and how seductive the transgender lifestyle is. Maybe my potential victims’ hesitation is that the president has just kicked us out of the U.S. military. Or that we can be arrested for using proper bathrooms in many states. Or that the American government is trying to legislate away the category of trans entirely by forcing us to be chained to our biological sex from birth unto death.
Whatever. But I have to hand it to him, Sullivan does nail all of our recruitment techniques. So to close this piece, here are a few highlights so that you, too, can enlist in Sullivan’s Crusade to Save Our Kids.
“Female sexuality is more fluid and complex than male sexuality, so perhaps girls are more susceptible to ideological suggestion…” Gosh, and here I’ve been teaching my daughter that women are smart, strong, and courageous. Thank goodness women have men like Sullivan to patiently explain to them how fluid, vulnerable, and susceptible they are. Although they still probably don’t get it, because while men like him are more logical and sensible, women tend to be frivolous, impulsive eye-candy.
Sullivan again: “I don’t have children, but I sure worry about gay kids in this context…” I don’t know about you, but I for one am relieved that Sullivan is out there worrying for about us parents. Because I do have kids, including a queer one. But I’m sure I couldn’t tell him anything he doesn’t already know, and probably better than I do. And I’m pretty sure as a gay male, he could also explain issues like pregnancy and abortion to women way better than they can understand themselves.
Finally, my personal favorite pull quote from hell: “Transgender ideology risks becoming homophobic. Instead of seeing effeminate men as one kind of masculinity, as legitimate as any other, transgenderism insists that girli-ness requires being a biological girl. Similarly, a tomboy is not allowed to expand the bandwidth of what being female can mean, but must be put into the category of male.”
All I can say is, “Who knew?” Especially because up to a third of us are gay-identified. After decades of fighting to be included in the LGB-but-not-yet-T movement, who knew that we were actually homophobic, that we were a public menace, that we were in fact a Transsexual Menace?
And all this time I thought the trans movement was committed to expanding gender categories, making it OK for men to cross-dress, to be a sissy boy, to be a stone butch or a drag king or queen. Or simply to be nonbinary and genderqueer. So that all of us can finally live without fear or shame with a minimum of social respect not to mention some goddamn civil rights.
But I was wrong. This piece has been a real eye-opener. We are lucky to have someone like Sullivan who really understands what it is to be a parent, a woman, and a transgender person. Someone who really sees us for what we are and is willing to name it. Someone who can look past the decades of endless, patient organizing, lobbying, speaking, educating, and demonstrating — not to mention the endless ostracism, ridicule, expulsions, harassment, beatings, and murders we endured along the way.
No, Sullivan is right. Trans people are not out here fighting for our very lives every day. We are really just rigid, homophobic, predatory degenerates trolling to destroy children’s lives. Like the feminists. And the commies, And the homos before us.
So thank you, Andrew. Thank you for your Sullivan Crusade to Save Our Kids. From the bottom of my demonic, menacing little transgender heart. Thank you.
Riki Wilchins is an author and advocate.