With the stroke of his veto pen, New Jersey Governor Chris "Gendermonger" Christie reinforced both the gender binary and the state security apparatus. Transgender individuals seeking amended birth certificates in his state will continue to be required to undergo reassignment surgery because, according to his veto statement, "Birth certificates are often required to complete myriad security-related tasks."
As Think Progress pointed out: "Indeed, Christie’s vague allusions to fraud ironically mirror the kind of suspicion — and resulting invasive searches — that transgender people can experience when their identification does not reflect their appearance."
This is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the irony here. In typical fashion, the state is blaming trans* citizens for the absurd consequences of getting the state in to the business of licensing births in the first place. Not least of which is having intersex infants mutilated to conform to them, long before they can choose.
And as tragic as that is, it is still only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the vast overreaches of state power that result from conceding the principle that the state ever has any business licensing us either at birth, or as adults. The National Center for Transgender Equality has issued a call to action stating: "NCTE encourages not just transgender people, but all Americans to work against the REAL ID Act."
Here is the root of the problem: while Chris Christie has absolutely no right to stand in the way of transgender individuals updating their documents to match their identities, the procedure by which he is able to do so is already entrenched as law. We need to fundamentally reexamine our relationship with state power, both as queer liberation activists and as citizens of the world.
Outright Libertarians has a commitment to advancing queer liberation in a way that is consistent with reason and the principle of non-aggression. Our desire to be pragmatic, and the need to break through a stranglehold on ideas by both Gay, Inc. and Libertarian orthodoxy has led us to draft a bold Plan of Action for 2014 and beyond - and we're asking for your support in making this vision a reality.
Thinking outside the marriage box, we brainstormed a list of concrete examples of state power being used to target us specifically. These are proper subjects of Libertarian activism and by focusing on them, we can firmly plant the work we do in reality. Any time we are accused of a vague kind of "collectivism" we can simply point to our advocacy on these issues:
1) Gender-specific licensing laws
2) Segregated restroom laws
3) Blood donor bans on gay men
4) Draconian HIV disclosure laws
5) Systemic prison-industrial abuses
6) Zoning laws that target bathhouses, bookstores and bars
7) Criminalization of drug use, sex work, and homelessness falling disproportionately on queer youth
These issues are percolating at the fringes of Gay, Inc., - our community wants them fixed - but the War Party won't touch anything that threatens their power-hungry "equality" narrative. Making ourselves vocal on issues of abolition, therefore, can invigorate the power of queer solidarity and establish Outright as a leader in the fight for universal liberation.
In the last year, Outright Libertarians have made some incredible progress, positioning ourselves for 2014 to take a proactive, no-nonsense approach on pushing forward. Will you support our work for the coming year by making a one-time contribution, renewing your membership or joining as a supporting member?
In the coming year, we will post regular updates about our work on each one of these issues so you can see that we mean business. We will also use our podcast, Facebook and Twitter pages to elaborate on each one, so please keep an eye on each of these venues to learn more about how you can get involved.
It won't be easy, but we look forward to transforming the conversation about our community's relationship to state power, and we thank you for joining us in the fight.
Julie Ershadi, a D.C.-based journalist, is raising $5,000 by February 1st in order to take a cross-country train ride and write a longform journalism piece on the lives of Iranian immigrants to the United States and their American-born children.
At a time when relations between Iranian and American political leaders may finally be thawing, she aims to tell the stories of the courageous, enterprising individuals who have a foot in both worlds. Ershadi is a lesbian, a libertarian, and the daughter of an Iranian immigrant.
Learn more and contribute to the campaign here: http://bit.ly/rpp-iran.
(Written in response to this post at JesseTalksBack.com, which states in summary: "I do not want to be equal even though broken down I may be, I simply want my freedom and no man can stand in the way of that.")
Please note, the following was originally posted as a comment to Jesse's blog, so it contains punctuation conventions I would not normally use in a formal blog post. I am choosing to quote myself verbatim here, as I feel the idea is important to convey publicly - for readability, I have broken it into short paragraphs.
"I feel that a rejection of 'equality' as a political value is a reactionary overkill … In fact, notions of egalitarianism have long been part of classical liberalism and this is what has become twisted. We lost the idea that 'from liberty springs equality' and instead somehow came to believe that the system should FORCE equality in ways that actually lead to inequality.
"Whether this has been through the political naivete and therefore vulnerability of marginalized groups when offered state power, a coordinated effort by powerful people to abuse these populations for their own personal gain, or a combination of both, this does not take away from the original beauty of the concept of egalitarianism AS IT PERTAINED TO CLASSICAL LIBERALISM or as we call it today, libertarianism.
"The simple truth is that if we are all FREE, then we are all EQUAL IN FREEDOM and this is worth striving for. Whether it is through a legal structure, or some other form of organization, justice must be blind to economic inequalities; which is why Lady Justice is depicted with a blindfold … she must treat all, rich and poor, with the same set of principles. This obviously was very unpopular with the aristocrats of Old Europe, who were used to being above the law.
"This is what egalitarianism truly had always reached for: not a system that was overtly more or less cruel to different populations groups, but one that was devoid of such distinctions. The modern notion of 'equality', however, has turned this on its head. It sees no problem dividing people into groups and treating them differently (for example, 'tax the rich'!!) and thus losing its moral claim to the liberal values it once held dear – egalitarianism among them.
"In order to reclaim this important principles, we must not reject it completely, and find ourselves arguing that somehow political inequality is desirable … In fact, once we accept the notion that egalitarianism is not worth speaking out for, we become no better than those who are deliberately creating inequality in its name. It is a principle too important to let go of …. It’s a moral high ground which we should stand upon, and defend."