AnalysisFeaturestrans rights

The far right’s latest attack on trans people is a ‘Women’s Bill of Rights.’ No, really.

Photo: A protestor at a Trans Day of Visibility rally, 2023. Credit: Flickr/Matt Hrkac (CC BY 2.0 DEED)

The all-out attack on transgender rights in the United States isn’t very popular with voters, but that hasn’t stopped bigoted far-right lawmakers from attempting to push their hateful agenda forward. Their latest attempt involves duping the public by rebranding their discriminatory bills as a “Women’s Bill of Rights,” but it’s the same old divide-and-rule tactic as before.

Such bills have been introduced recently in Iowa, Georgia, Virginia and West Virginia, and similar ones were passed in recent years in Montana, Tennessee, North Dakota and Kansas. In Virginia, lawmakers successfully defeated the bill last week, just one of 11 anti-trans bills that died in committee. However, West Virginia’s Republican-dominated House of Delegates passed the hateful bill, known as House Bill 5243.

The bills roughly cover the same topics as many other anti-trans bills being pushed in states across the country, seeking to ban trans girls and women from public facilities and sports of their gender; to require markers showing one’s sex assignment at birth on government IDs and birth certificates; and to legally define gender-associated words like “mother” and “father,” “man” and “woman,” and “boy” and “girl,” in ways that erase the existence of transgender people.

The Iowa bill, HSB 649 introduced by GOP Governor Kim Reynolds, includes the shocking statements that “the term ‘equal’ does not mean ‘same’ or ‘identical’” and that “separate accommodations are not inherently unequal” — an argument the U.S. ruling class has only ever made when trying to justify reducing a group of people to second-class citizens not worthy of an equal social existence.

The far right are no allies to women

In defending her hateful bill, Reynolds falsely declared that “defining a woman in code has become necessary to protect spaces where women’s health, safety, and privacy are being threatened like domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers.”

However, the record shows that neither Reynolds nor any other far-right politician pushing these hateful bills actually cares about the needs of cisgender (that is, non-trans) women. Iowa and Georgia have both passed extremely restrictive abortion bans up to just six weeks after conception, and West Virginia has banned virtually all abortions aside from certain extreme exceptions. This has put millions of women’s health and lives in danger and is part of the nationwide assault on our fundamental democratic rights, including the rights of LGBTQ people.

Further, within the last year, Reynolds’ government has stopped providing emergency contraception for sexual assault victims and further restricted access to public aid programs like Medicaid and the Supplimental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), which primarily benefit poor families and single mothers. A stunning 31.9% of single mothers with children under 18 in Iowa are living in poverty, according to state statistics. None of this is the fault of transgender people. If Republicans are as concerned about the status of women’s freedoms as they claim, these would seem ideal places to start, not with persecuting trans women, who are already among the most marginalized groups of all women.

Culture wars a divide-and-rule tactic of the ruling class

Regardless of the sincerity of the far right’s claims to be defenders of women’s rights, the notion that the rights of cisgender women are at odds in any way, shape, or form with the rights of transgender women and men, or nonbinary, and third gender people, is totally false. In fact, the primary purpose of the attack on trans rights is to divide the working class, trying to convince us that the real threat to us comes from each other and not the billionaires who force us to work long hours for their enrichment, deny us healthcare, and continually push for the destruction of the environment and disastrous wars the world over. But working people know better.

Protecting the rights of trans people actually helps solidify everybody else’s rights. Banning discrimination against trans people helps protect everybody from discrimination; protecting trans people’s right to healthcare is necessary to protect cis people’s right to healthcare, too; protecting trans people’s right to dress in public as they please, and use the pronouns they please, and use public facilities, helps protect everybody’s right to self-expression in our society.

In other words, “an injury to one is an injury to all.” That central maxim of labor organizing has proven itself true time and time again for all working and oppressed people, and we must keep to it now as trans people are under attack. We must remember that the recent craze of demonizing trans people is just an attempt to divide our communities, to undo the growing unity we’ve seen as people stand together against greedy bosses and landlords, racist police terror, and the endless imperialist wars being pushed by the U.S. ruling class.

Fight the rich, not trans people!

Related Articles

Back to top button