Views expressed in the Advocate’s opinion articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, Equal Pride.
As a middle-aged white man, I am incensed about the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court’s rationale was full of crap — to be blunt and succinct. Returning abortion “to the people’s representatives” only means that red states will quickly pass legislation to make abortion illegal.
This will only get worse. The decision will spiral into one of the cruelest things that has ever happened in our country, and this ruling will go down as the most heinous in the Supreme Court’s history. In the days, weeks, months, and years ahead, this decision will cause massive pain, destruction, and death. The legal and moral implications are a category 5 hurricane that will wash over the United States for some time. A stalled, damaging storm over our nation.
The reversal of Roe also spells doom for our community in myriad ways. It will prevent lesbians, bisexual women, some nonbinary people, and some trans men from having a choice protected by the government.
We don’t often talk about rapes or sexual violence against trans men, nonbinary, and nonconforming individuals. Horribly, especially with trans people, we usually only hear about their tragic deaths, perhaps because violence against transgender victims is so prevalent, and it is often not reported by the victims out of fear and embarrassment.
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“Statistics documenting transgender people’s experience of sexual violence indicate shockingly high levels of sexual abuse and assault,” says the Office for Victims of Crime in the U.S. Justice Department. “One in two transgender individuals are sexually abused or assaulted at some point in their lives. Some reports estimate that transgender survivors may experience rates of sexual assault up to 66 percent, often coupled with physical assaults or abuse. This indicates that the majority of transgender individuals are living with the aftermath of trauma and the fear of possible repeat victimization.”
The aftermath of violence can sometimes be the burden of forced, unwanted pregnancies. Transgender men who become pregnant are often from minority and lower-income populations. As a result, these individuals are further marginalized and stigmatized and left with very few — if any — options.
Rich, white (probably straight) cisgender women will be able to have access to abortion however and wherever they want. The same cannot be said about poor transgender men of color, or homeless trans men, nonbinary or gender-nonconforming youth. Their lives will be at risk, and we need to pay attention. It’s detestable, and we cannot forget them.
A fact sheet released by HRC shows that LGBTQ+ women who have been pregnant are more likely to have had unwanted or mistimed pregnancies than heterosexual women and are more likely to need abortion services as well. Specifically, the report found lesbian (22 percent) and bisexual (27.2 percent) women who have been pregnant are more likely than heterosexual women (15.4 percent) who have been pregnant to have had an abortion, according to a new analysis of the 2017-2019 National Survey for Family Growth conducted by the HRC Foundation.
In another cruel implication, the overturning of Roe removes the shield that has stood in front of marriage equality for the last seven years. Demolishing Roe was priority number one for the Christian right and other conservatives. With that accomplished, their guns — almost literally — will now be pointed at marriage equality, which is the next import on their hit list. In writing his opinion about Dobbs, Justice Clarence Thomas put a bull’s-eye on Obergefell and even more shockingly Lawrence.
I still hold firm to my belief that the draft of the decision that was leaked, most likely by the sinister Thomas, earlier this year was intentional. It was a clarion call to red states to fast-track anti-abortion legislation prior to the overturning of Roe, so that states would be ready to act.
And, I also believe that the release of the draft decision was a signal to the Christian right from the Court saying “We handled abortion, so prepare yourselves to move on to marriage equality. That will be your new fight.”
The far-right will be emboldened by the court’s decision, particularly those who harbor ill-will about same-sex marriage. Suppose you are a county clerk who thinks your religion prohibits gay marriage, you will be bolstered to deny granting marriage certificates to queer couples. You will feel protected because, at the end of the day, you know that the highest court in the land supports you.
Local, homophobic county officials are just one more weapon for the Christian right to deploy in their battle to have marriage equality struck down. They will bull-doze anyone who disagrees with their perspective. Christians acting as Christians? Hardly.
The sanctimonious fight for life meant that so-called Christians didn’t care who they ruined, stepped on, or denounced as they thrashed along their own violent course of ridding America of the right to abortion. Clinics were burned down. Doctors were killed and attacked. People who sought abortions were verbally and physically harassed. They always implicitly denied culpability.
These same Christians wanted high walls and guns-a-blazing at the border. They could care less about the plight of immigrants. Their lives were nonexistent as far as the white Christian right was concerned. The choice between the welfare of unborn babies or immigrant families and children? No contest and no surprise about who got priority from these duplicitous Bible totters.
And guns? God forbid anyone dares to take their guns away. My sense is that when the synagogue was attacked in Pittsburgh and the retail outlet in a Black neighborhood was struck in Buffalo, these so-called Christians just smirked.
Am I too cruel? I don’t think so, because, in my long experience studying their plan of action, the Christian right has no tolerance for anyone who is not white and who doesn’t fit their warped definition of Christianity. I saw their indefensible behavior firsthand when I worked on Capitol Hill.
“Pro-life” groups made their pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. every January 22, the anniversary of the Roe decision. They would gather on the Washington Mall, and then storm congressional offices on Capitol Hill. Anyone who had to deal with them each year would agree that the “pro-life” people were by far the rudest, meanest, and most condescending group who came to lobby members of Congress.
Every election, midterm, or presidential, these so-called Christians and members of the far-right were out in force campaigning on reversing Roe. They were ruthless, and now that has been accomplished, they can check that off their list. So, what will they do next with their time, money, anger, and hypocrisy? That’s easy. They’re going to come after our marriages with the same venom they used to get Roe overturned.
We can see it in what the Texas Republican Party did last weekend with their anti-LGBTQ party platform. It calls gay people “abnormal” and condemns trans identities. The action by the far right in Texas is a canary in a coal mine for what is ahead for us in this year’s midterms and beyond.
If you think that the notable increase in the use of the words “pedophile” and “groomer” this year by state and federal officials was going to subside anytime soon, guess again. The Christian right will start to use these words with greater frequency, like a writer using “and” and “the.”
They will be like bullets raining out of a semi-automatic (putting in terminology that is easy for the far right to understand.). They will use “pedophile” and “groomer” to try and immeasurably hurt us. To try and demean our marriages. To try and sensationally condemn us to hell. And to try and absurdly scare the public about us. That’s how they operate, and they won’t let up.
Taking away our rights is a war for them. Their hatred of us, and most especially for our right to marry, knows no bounds. We will be the cultural divide issue this year’s midterms, an echo of the presidential election in 1992 when the far-right Republican candidate for president Pat Buchanan slandered us incessantly.
Republicans have done absolutely nothing of substance for the last two years. They don’t pass legislation. They just block it or do nothing. Their only recourse is to frighten voters about the advances gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and especially transgender people have made. We are so easy for them to malign because we’ve made such progress over the last decade.
They mean harm because we’re “harming” their idea of marriage. They’ll particularly go after gay men, and one very prominent gay politician, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. He and his husband will be their poster boys representing all that is demented about us. Pete and Chasten are three things they despise. They are married, they have kids, and they have power and stature. And that is loathsome to the far right and to their definition of “Christianity,” even though Buttigieg is Christian.
Pete and Chasten will most likely be called pedophiles, groomers, and every awful word they can think of. I am sure there will be ads depicting these two as monsters, and their children as illegitimate. The ensuing social chatter will be offensive, and they will say that supply chain issues exist because Buttigieg was on paternity leave for one month last summer after the birth of his children.
It is not easy to write these words, to say these things, and to sense the impending doom. But we can’t hide from the truth that is about to explode upon our community.
The former pro-life activists will now be pro-straight marriage. They will try to crucify us — in Christ’s name — while they slander his name in the process with their evilness. I hope, and I pray, because I am a man of God, that all of this will not transpire and that the cold hard truth I write about here will be a falsehood.
But having seen and studied how far-right Christians have operated over the last 50 years, I don’t know why they would stop now.
We must remain vigilant and resolute. We must recognize the danger we’re about to face. We were perhaps naive to think our days of fighting were over. But our rights, particularly to engage in same-sex intimacy and to get married are being threatened.
A new generation that is open and free and honest about their identities and sexuality is about to experience something akin to what we went through for decades. And, they are the ones that we are going to have to rely on to pick up the fight and succeed for all of us since failure is not an option.
John Casey is editor at large for The Advocate.