Members of FIST voted to support the Missouri Senate bill banning so-called trans “affirming” care for minor children, as posted on this blog March 31. However, that vote was quite close and those of us in the minority would like to put forward our arguments in the spirit of furthering the feminist debate on this important issue.
The Missouri bill does not “stand-alone” but is one of a tsunami of bills released recently sponsored by the Right, as part of a concerted build-up for the next presidential election—basically to get a far-right person elected president in 2024 (DeSantis or Trump). The fact that some feminist groups joined the Right in promoting these bills has no influence on the Right’s culture war strategy. Other rightwing bills that are part of this strategy include: the plethora of abortion bans in 13 states (including the recent attack on medication abortion); the erasure of actual US history from K-12 curricula, in the name of “protecting children” from knowing the truth about slavery (and civil rights and women’s rights); the attacks on affirmative action, Social Security and voting rights. We cannot separate all of these right wing attacks (even the one that we might agree with) from the general attack on everything progressive that is unfolding before our eyes—and we do not think FIST should play a part in what will play into that build-up by the Right despite our best efforts to separate ourselves as Leftists, lesbians, etc. .
A major argument in the fight for abortion has always been: “politicians should not be legislating healthcare—this is the province of medicine, not politics.” “Bans off my body” should be upheld for all adults, but minor children are often treated with additional care. Any legislation on specific medical procedures can be used to strengthen the hand of politicians to adjudicate and police abortion care.
If state power is used to enforce “healthcare” bans at a time when there is so much sentimentalized propaganda FOR “gender affirming treatment”, it will make the parents seeking these procedures for their children into MARTYRS and will simply strengthen public sympathy FOR “gender affirming care.”
Even when the Right seems to be in agreement with us on transgender ideology, the way they see women and gender is very different from a feminist perspective. They want to preserve gender norms while feminists have always argued that the stereotypes associated with sex are confining and oppressive and should be eliminated.
A better strategy for us might be to put our energy into pressuring medical organizations (AMA, etc) or mounting a public service campaign to increase public understanding of the dangers of these “treatments.” Really putting on the pressure as to how their junk science is mutilating children, making them sterile, some unable to ever enjoy orgasm while simultaneously turning children into lifelong medical patients consuming the exact same powerful steroid hormones that the Women’s Health Movement of the 1970s worked so hard to warn us about. We could be spreading the word about the reasons Sweden, Finland and the UK have closed “gender clinics” and publicize the fact that even the US FDA has been forced to add the word “experimental” to its definition of sex hormones in “gender affirming treatment.”