Politicians seem obsessed with trans people, and it’s getting scary. Rachel Levine – Assistant Secretary of Health for HHS and a transgender woman, testifies before Congress in her confirmation hearing in 2021. Image source: LA Blade and CSPAN
However, harmless philosophical debates can be – and have been – misused for hateful reasons. This most often occurs when the rights of human beings become the debate topic. A common and fairly recent example of this of course dates back to “the Jewish question” of World War II. In an attempt to gain power, fascists identified a small portion of the population to blame for the nation’s issues and posed their rights as a philosophical debate. Because the fascist party was “just asking questions,” many non-fascists were happy to debate and entertain the issue. After all – from a legal perspective, one is free to openly ask questions due to free speech, and a question is certainly not a call to violence.
“The impact on this small minority people group has been devastating, and it is only getting worse…”
What many fail to realize is that these philosophical debates over human rights embolden those who are driven by hate. A fairly recent phrase to explain this phenomenon is called “stochastic terrorism.” This phrase, first coined by Juliette Kayyem, is defined as “the public demonization of a person or group resulting in the incitement of a violent act, which is statistically probable but whose specifics cannot be predicted.” To put it another way, the words we say can cause both direct and indirect harm. Kayyem served as the former Assistant Secretary of Intergovernmental Affairs in the Department of Homeland Security.
“…we will continue to be a divisive issue in ’22 and ’24 that get sacrificed so fascists can gain power.”
This is obviously and clearly not true. After all, I am a transgender woman, and I have a wife and child. Our daughter is loved, cared for, and thriving in a home that is safe and supportive of her regardless where life leads her. My story is not unique, either. There are trans people all across the country (and all across South Carolina) who are successfully parenting well-adjusted children. People need only meet us and get to know us to see these truths first-hand.
Amberlyn is the Vice President of PFLAG Spartanburg for 2022. A transgender woman, Amberlyn is a fervent activist - partnering with organizations such as SC United for Justice and Equality, Women's Rights and Empowerment Network, ACLU of SC, and more. She cares deeply about righting injustices of any sort in her home state of South Carolina - where she lives with her wife and daughter.