The Dangerous Inversions of the Debate Around Trans Censorship – The New Republic

It should be noted that books about trans people are among the most censored books in the U.S. Of the books the American Library Association identified as the top 10 most challenged in 2019, the majority either explored trans issues, featured trans characters, or were written by trans peopletitles like Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out and the picture book about a trans girl, I Am Jazz. Trans writers and trans organizers alike have been censored in the ways Shrier believes she is being censored, though those stories rarely attract the level of attention from the same writers now defending her.

In those cases, the demands to censor trans books may not necessarily be coming from the government itself. But the demands are in alignment with the governments broader aims to suppress trans peoples rights. They share a common goal: restrain, if not remove, trans people from our shared civic life. Strangio is cognizant of this power dynamic. As he wrote in comments to Greenwald that were not included in his story but tweeted by Greenwald in full, I believe in fighting the central premise of these arguments and building support for what every major medical association has made clearthat care for youth is safe, effective, and life savingand ensuring that trans youth dont die as a result of these criminal bans. Anti-trans suppression leads, too, to the death of free speech. It may also lead to the death of trans people.

In his defense of Shrier, Greenwald does not acknowledge that the far more common censorship scenario in the U.S. is for trans peoples speechtheir gender expression itself, tooto be targeted. He is familiar with Strangios legal work, he writes, noting the fight it took for Chelsea Manning to be treated with dignity, including being allowed access to hormones, when she was in military prison at Fort Leavenworth (where she was sentenced after being put on trial for leaking critical documents about the Iraq War). Trans people still face incomparable societal hurdlesincluding an epidemic of violenceeven when they enjoy networks of support in the middle of progressive cities, Greenwald wrote in 2017, after Manning was released. But to do that while in a military brig, in the middle of Kansas, where your daily life depends exclusively upon your military jailers, is both incomprehensibly difficult and incomprehensibly courageous.

Chelsea Manning is an extraordinary example of an ordinary circumstance: Institutional gatekeepers stand between trans people and their self-determination, and those gatekeepers still have more power than trans people have. It is in that context that Strangio raises questions about the harm a book like Shriers can doabout the true, complex boundaries of speech. Is a rude email to the people at Spotify who pay Joe Rogans bills, which allows him to host a long chat with Shrier and put it in front of millions of people, at all comparable to that institutional gatekeeping? What about when the argument made in that chat empowers the gatekeepers, and at trans peoples expense?


The Dangerous Inversions of the Debate Around Trans Censorship - The New Republic

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