U.S.-NATO war and attacks on trans rights: Two fronts in the class war

Over 1,000 students at West High School in Salt Lake City walked out of classes April 6 to protest pending anti-trans legislation in Utah. Photo: Lindsay Aerts

In Texas and Alabama, transgender youth are facing forcible detransition. A law passed by Alabama’s legislature and signed by Gov. Kay Ivey April 8, and an executive order by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in February, not only ban gender-affirming care for children, but subject their parents and health-care providers to prosecution. 

This means that even kids who have been transitioning for years, who have lived as and always been known as a girl or boy to their peers, would be forcibly “outed” and denied the care they need to grow up happy and healthy – even banned from using the restroom they choose at school.

These measures directly contradict the recommendations of medical experts, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association. 

A University of Washington Study released at the end of February found that trans youth who got gender-affirming treatment experienced a 60% drop in depression risk and a 73% drop in suicidal thoughts, on average. 

“Our study builds on what we have already seen from an already staggering amount of scientific research,” study lead author Diana Tordoff told HealthDay News. “Access to gender-affirming care saves trans youth’s lives.”

Tennessee and Arkansas already have laws banning gender-affirming care. Nearly half of U.S. states currently have similar legislation pending. 

It’s worth noting, perhaps, that about 1.5 million people in the U.S. openly identify as trans – that is, less than half of 1% of the U.S. population of 330 million.

Slander campaign

In recent weeks, a new campaign of dangerous slander has accompanied this effort, as right-wing politicians, news outlets like Fox News and social-media bigots shout about the LGBTQ2S community and its supporters as “groomers” or pedophiles for supporting gender-affirming care for youth. 

Mainstream corporate media like the Washington Post have published pieces questioning whether trans people’s right to exist has “gone too far,” demonstrating that this bigoted campaign has traction within the capitalist ruling class beyond the fascist right that now dominates the Republican Party.

This slander campaign has gone hand-in-glove with the Florida “Don’t Say Gay” law championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, which bans any mention of queer and trans issues from schools, and the British government’s decision to exclude trans people from the ban on so-called “conversion therapy” that forcibly seeks to change people’s sexual and gender identities.

The grotesque anti-trans campaign echoes the rhetoric of other anti-LGBTQ2S witch-hunts, like the one targeting gay men during the AIDS crisis. It is having dangerous consequences for the trans community, which already faces a high rate of murders and violence. Trans people have been harassed and threatened on trains and in the street. Death threats against trans people online have skyrocketed.

State and local protest actions and lawsuits are attempting to hold back the tide. But it’s clear that the ultra-right plans to continue riding their hate campaign into the mid-term Congressional elections this November. Democrats have shown no desire to take up the fight for trans rights, beyond the empty words “we are with you” uttered by President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address. 

In fact, Democratic politicians are rapidly moving to the right on every issue from police brutality to COVID prevention – all while leading the charge for war against Russia.

Big Lies, at home and abroad

On the other side of the planet, antifascists from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, the Ukrainian antifascist underground, and troops from the Russian Federation are fighting to stem the tide of a U.S.-NATO takeover of Eastern Europe. 

The location chosen by the West for this showdown is the former Soviet republic of Ukraine, ruled by a right-wing coup regime installed by Washington in 2014. The backbone of this regime is neo-Nazi groups that have terrorized leftists, trade unionists, journalists and minority nationalities and immigrants.

The reality of the situation has been turned on its head by the propagandists of U.S. Big Business and the Pentagon. 

People in the Donbass region – Donetsk and Lugansk – have been defending themselves from a war waged by Ukraine with U.S./NATO support for eight years. Washington pushed Ukraine to launch a new, massive attack on Donbass earlier this year, hoping to draw Russia into a war. 

The people of Donetsk and Lugansk appealed for Russia’s help to defend themselves when a Ukrainian attack became inevitable. Russia’s government also saw that a complete NATO takeover of Ukraine would endanger its own sovereignty, and felt no option but to act.

And yet, their joint military campaign to denazify and demilitarize NATO’s puppet regime in Ukraine is portrayed in the U.S. as the greatest crime against humanity since World War II. (The many, many crimes committed by the U.S. war machine around the world are of course omitted from the conversation.)

Blame the victim

Does this “blame the victim” approach sound familiar? It should. It’s the exact same strategy of divide-and-conquer being used to demonize trans people here at home.

Consider these parallels:

Families of trans children are being forced to flee states that have adopted laws banning gender-affirming care and persecuting supportive parents. It’s so grave that even the U.S. Air Force has announced it will help resettle affected service members’ families from these states!

In the same way, millions of people in Donbass and Ukraine have been forced to flee their homes because of the war crisis methodically set up by Washington and its allies.

Trans people and their supporters are slandered and dehumanized every day in print, broadcast and social media and by elected officials. This creates an atmosphere that makes violent attacks inevitable. 

In the same way, social-media monopolies, corporate media and Washington officials promote neo-Nazi-spawned claims of “Russian war crimes,” suppress and deplatform alternative sources of news and analysis, and support measures that dehumanize and belittle people who live in the Donbass region and people of Russian nationality.

How interesting that many organized sports bodies are banning trans people from competing while also banning Russian athletes!

Trans people, antifascists in Eastern Europe and anti-war activists have a common enemy: U.S. imperialism. 

It might seem that geographical distance, lack of mutual understanding and the intensity of the attacks make it impossible for these struggles (and others) to unite. That’s what the imperialists are counting on.

It is the job of communists to prove them wrong, by building bridges between diverse sections of the working class at home and abroad to fight back. We need to start today.

Join the Struggle-La Lucha Telegram channel