The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) decided to withdraw all championship games from North Carolina for the 2016-17 academic season because of that state’s discriminatory anti-trans “bathroom bill,” HB2. The bill also gives legal cover to state officials who deny services to members of the LGBTQ community.
Leading Republican officials in North Carolina have suffered a meltdown over the NCAA’s decision. According to a written statement delivered by spokesperson, Kami Mueller, of the NCGOP:
“This is so absurd it’s almost comical. I genuinely look forward to the NCAA merging all men’s and women’s teams together as singular, unified, unisex teams. Under the NCAA’s logic, colleges should make cheerleaders and football players share bathrooms, showers and hotel rooms. This decision is an assault to female athletes across the nation. If you are unwilling to have women’s bathrooms and locker rooms, how do you have a women’s team? I wish the NCAA was this concerned about the women who were raped at Baylor. Perhaps the NCAA should stop with their political peacocking–and instead focus their energies on making sure our nation’s collegiate athletes are safe, both on and off the field.”
If this tirade represents Republican officials, including state legislators of North Carolina, it betrays their total lack of awareness and understanding of the realities of trans people, their identities, or their lives. It also brings to light how they are exploiting fear, anxiety, and bigotry for their own political ends.
These Republicans have initiated the oldest deceit in the annals of political manipulation by attempting to marginalize and demonize a group of people for the purpose of maintaining and extending its power, privilege, and control.
A crucial point in the psychology of stereotyping and scapegoating is the representation of minoritized groups as sub-human life forms, as predators, as criminals, as those who are determined to harass, molest, and rape members of the dominant group, in particular its women and girls, though also its men and boys.
When looking over this history, we find many clear and stunning connections between historical representations of homosexuals, gender non-conformists, Jewish people, and African-heritage people, for example.
Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), Swedish botanist and physician invented the modern system of scientific hierarchical classification. He has also been called the “Father of Scientific Racism.”
Comparing European-heritage, Asian-heritage, and African-heritage people, for example, he defined the “Europeanus” as “white, sanguine, brawny; with abundant, long hair; blue eyes; gentle, acute, inventive; covered with close vestments; and regulated by customs.”
The “Asiaticus” are “yellow, melancholic, stiff; black hair, dark eyes; severe, haughty, greedy; covered with lose clothing; and regulated by opinions.”
And the “Afer” or “Africanus” are “black, phlegmatic, relaxes; black frizzled hair; silky skin, flat nose, tumid lips; females without shame; mammary glands give milk abundantly; crafty, sly, careless; anoints himself with grease; and regulated by will.”
Voltaire, 18th century French Enlightenment philosopher was a polygenist (human “races” are from different origins—different Adams and Eves). He asserted: “The Negro race is a species of men different from ours as the breed of spaniels is from that of greyhounds.”
Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911), founder of the “Eugenics Movement” and also someone who profited greatly from the slave trade, stated:
“I do not join in the belief that the African is our equal in brain or in heart; I do not think that the average negro cares for his liberty as much as an Englishman, or as a self-born Russian; and I believe that if we can in any fair way, possess ourselves of his services, we have an equal right to utilize them to our advantages.”
The modern-day Eugenicist, William Shockley, asserted that black Americans suffered from “dysgenesis,” or “retrogression evolution.” He proposed eliminating the public welfare system to be replaced with a “Voluntary Sterilization Bonus Plan.”
The highly-charged racist stereotype of black men as oversexed and sexually-insatiable predators of white women and girls persists today, as does the myth that black men are more highly endowed genitally than their white counterparts.
Throughout the history of the United States, vicious white gangs have beat and lynched black men and boys on charges, bogus or not, of even looking at white women or girls. White vigilantes killed black residents and burned down the town of Rosewood, Florida on the false charge by a white woman that a black man had raped her. A band of white men in Mississippi viciously tortured and lynched Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black teenager, for allegedly flirting with a white woman.
French diplomat and essayist, Joseph-Arthur de Gobineau, published in 1853 that the “Aryan” race descended from an “original tribe” that resided in the Himalayas, the “cradle of the Caucasion race,” and that Jews were not part of that tribe.
From this, French historian Ernst Renan (1823-1892) posited that the Jewish or “Semitic” mind is superficial, while the “Aryan” mind is natural and wise.
Charles Darwin believed that Jews have a “uniform appearance” independent of geographic location. So-called “Social Darwinists extended Charles Darwin’s theories to claim that Jews comprise much more than a separate religious, ethnic, or political group, but they, along with black African and homosexuals comprise a lower or earlier form of human species, and are, therefore, distinct “racial” types.
Jews, they posited, comprise a separate “race,” one that is a “mixed” of “bastardized race” that crossed “racial” barriers by interbreeding with black Africans during the Jewish diaspora. Galton claimed, therefore, that “The Jews are specialized for a parasitical existence upon other nations.”
The stream of Eugenics known as Phrenology was based on the belief that the size and shape of the skull indicates human mental facilities and moral character. There were those who asserted that a section of the Jewish skull and brain are “abnormally developed” indicating that Jews are highly concentrated with money and financial matters.
Jews were viewed as murderers of Christian children and seducers of Christian women.
In 1144 began the so-called “Blood Libel” in England when Christian leaders accused Jews of slaying William of Norwich, a Christian male child, to use his blood in the making of the sacred Jewish matzos.
Many Christians believed that Jews used the blood of Christian youth because it was virginal and innocent and, therefore, was the most potent medication to heal hemorrhoids, to relieve pain during circumcision, to increase fertility, and to cure the so-called “stink of the Jews.”
The charge of ritual murder continued into the 20th century C.E. Christian clergy have also accused Jews of inflicting circumcision on Christian infants as a means of inflicting involuntary conversion to Judaism (“recruitment”).
Similarly, from the Eugenics movement some members of the scientific community viewed people attracted to their own sex as constituting a distinct biological or racial type — those who could be distinguished from “normal” people through anatomical markers.
For example, Dr. G. Frank Lydston, U. S. urologist, surgeon, and Professor from Chicago, in 1889 delivered a lecture in which he referred to homosexuals as “sexual perverts” who are “physically abnormal.”
The American medical doctor, Allan McLane Hamilton, wrote in 1896 that “The [female homosexual] is usually of a masculine type, or if she presented none of the ‘characteristics’ of the male, was a subject of pelvic disorder, with scanty menstruation, and was more or less hysterical and insane.”
Physician, Perry M. Lichtenstein, published in 1921 that: “A physical examination of [female homosexuals] will in practically every instance disclose an abnormally prominent clitoris.”
And in 1857 in France, Ambroise Tardieu wrote that: “This degeneracy is evidenced in men who engage in same-sex eroticism by their underdeveloped, tapered penis resembling that of a dog, and a naturally smooth anus lacking in radial folds.”
The Swiss physician, August Forel, wrote in 1905: “The [sexual] excesses of female inverts exceed those of the male,…and this is their one thought night and day, almost without interruption. [Male inverts] feel the need for passive submission…and occupy themselves with feminine pursuits. Nearly all [female and male] inverts are in a more or less marked degree psychopaths or neurotics.”
And Dr. Havelock Ellis (1859-1939) concluded that “Women’s colleges are the great breeding ground of lesbianism….They learn the pleasure of direct contact…and after this, the normal sex act fails to satisfy them.”
Although, in the overwhelming majority of cases, close family members, primarily men who identity as heterosexual, abuse and molest youth, the cultural perception persists that primarily gay and bisexual men.
For example, Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian media ministry organization, asserted in published accounts that gay rights advocates are forcing their viewpoints (their so-called “gay agenda”) in schools in the guise of bullying prevention. Spokesperson, Candi Cushman, asserted that gay activists are the real schoolyard bullies while conservative Christians are the victims. According to Cushman,
“We feel more and more that activists are being deceptive in using anti-bullying rhetoric to introduce their viewpoints, while the viewpoint of Christian students and parents are increasingly belittled.”
Lou Sheldon of the Family Values Coalition sent a fundraising letter to potential donors stating: “Gays and lesbians live perverted, twisted lives that feed upon the unsuspecting and the innocent, like our children. They want your children.”
And former radio talk show host, Laura Schlessinger declared that: “A huge portion of the male homosexual populace is predatory on young boys.“
The extended injunction against allowing lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members into the ranks of the U.S. military was predicated on the notion that if admitted, they would sexually molest others in bunks and shower rooms.
Systems of Oppression
Trans people have opened the boxes for all of us to ultimately obliterate the gender status quo of binary oppositions by demonstrating the visible ways, the options upon an enormous gender continuum, one that does not depend upon a sex assigned to us, a sex that is imposed and forced upon us by others. The trans community has shown us the essential fluidity of gender.
In reality, women’s equality, homosexual and bisexual equality, trans equality, and equality of people of color all challenge the hierarchal structure entrenched within patriarchal and white supremacist systems of domination because when people fight for and achieve the right to control their bodies, this in turn better guarantees them the freedom to control their own minds.
So let the so-called “Grand Old Party” in North Carolina and throughout the country squawk, twist, turn, erupt, and meltdown all it wants, for this merely signifies a backlash to a movement and to a truth whose time has arrived.
“The only one surprised by the controversy over North Carolina’s bathroom bill (HB2) is the North Carolina’s GOP. The Governor’s attempt to treat this as a matter for the courts and not one of economics is pretty lame spin. What is economic strength worth is you’re not willing to use it to opposed what you think is wrong? You signed HB2 Governor McCrory. You missing the economic prosperity the NBA, NCAA and now the ACC have pulled from the State yet?” – Howard K. 30dB
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