In Our Own Defense
I think we had better be careful and watch our step. There is a rolling tide of enmity coming out of the East and Middle-East targeting GSM people. Unfortunately, it is coming at a time when we are seeing a lot of the same thing in Europe and here at home, attached to this wave of “alt-right” nationalism. We are entering into a phase where our societies are in the midst of a backlash against the kind of big government, big media diversity that has used the power of the state monopolies to push against the majority middle class and the majority is starting to push back in a way that is dangerous for GSM people.
Most of the major Muslim nations torture and kill us. In Russia, we are vanishing from the streets and are attacked in public on a regular basis and Youtube is full of videos illustrating a violent reaction to the open existence of GSM people. Now reports are coming out across the web this month that in Chechnya, there is a kind of purge happening. Vanishings, assaults, and news of camps where there has been reports of torture and even killings. Today there are headlines that police are telling parents to kill their gay children or they will do it themselves.
Here in the States GSM people are facing an insidious kind of dismembering of the GSM community wherein cis-identity politics has found a voice and unlikely ally in alt-right nationalism, resulting in what aims to be the marginalization of trans-minorities. People like Milo that capitalize on the fear of differences and foster a sense of unity by targeting the least understood among us, revel in shock politics and bullying the vulnerable. Even today I am seeing posts on facebook from so-called libertarians attacking transgendered people, referring to words and opinions as “force”. Indeed these are dangerous times.
As a libertarian, my answer to this is simple. We have a fundamental right to the self-defense of our life and liberty and pursuit of happiness. Defend yourselves. Stand up, speak out and fight back. You should be armed and licensed to carry. If you are in an open-carry state, I suggest that you do so. Make it known that hate rhetoric and vitriolic word vomit notwithstanding, you are willing and capable of defending yourself. I also suggest using your freedom of movement to come together geographically. There is strength in numbers and power in accepting responsibility for the defense of the GSM community. Bullies prey on those they perceive as weak, but every grade schooler knows that when a bully comes after you and you bust them in the nose and make them bleed, they tend to go away and leave you in peace.
Further, we should be aiming to organize in such a way as to provide for our common defense. Organize meetings for GSM people in your cities and towns to educate others about these issues. Let your friends and family know that the social-climate has turned hostile toward us and we need our allies to rise to our defense. Learn ways to combat the rampant scientific ignorance by fearlessly speaking the truth online and in public. Our aim should not be to shut down these verbal attacks, but rather to ensure there is space for them because we can only defeat the lies and misperceptions by confronting them directly. No one should be afraid to speak their mind, especially the one calling me a faggot. I need to know who that is. I need to know who has hate in their heart for me. I need to know what kind of person wants to strip an individual they don’t understand of their unique humanity. By all means, they should scream and stomp and gnash their teeth because in doing so they reveal themselves, and when they revealed, we should engage them with facts and humor and kindness.
We are hunted and targeted and reviled world-wide. This is nothing new to us. But remember also that we are still here and that we are not afraid. We will rise to meet this threat, head on, with passion and an unquenchable thirst for freedom. Remember, we are Stonewall. Remember that we have survived oppression everywhere, throughout history, and that we will win this fight just like we won the last fight.
The time of a watershed shift in consciousness has come where we have more allies and more acceptance than ever before, everywhere you go. We are more visible than we have ever been. We are being represented in media and popular culture. We are eliminating barriers to liberty and equal treatment under the law throughout the western hemisphere. This backlash is to be expected. It is the last whining, crying outburst from a dying ideology but we need to be aware that the battle is always the most dangerous right before the win. And we are winning.
Please consider helping to rescue those of us who are in the most danger around the world. Rainbow Railroad has been doing just that. Donate or volunteer, but DO something and do it today.
Barton W. Rice is a libertarian political activist and commentator out of Dayton, OH. He has been active in the fight for GSM liberation since his coming out in 1992 and a vocal libertarian since 2003.