How to tell if that “feminist” election group is actually anti-trans

How to tell if that “feminist” election group is actually anti-trans

Anti-trans activists are worming their way into society at an alarming rate.

Frequently referred to as trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs), these groups operate under the guise of protecting cis women. They are increasingly finding platforms in the U.K., Canada and the United States—and they’re getting sneaky about it.

Feminism, biological fundamentalism and the attack on trans rights

Feminism, biological fundamentalism and the attack on trans rights

Across Europe, the far Right is mobilizing around sexual difference and for the forced imposition of heterosexual norms by drawing on biological arguments to border the ‘other’. Whilst we are familiar with the ways in which the far Right have long organized against the racialized ‘foreigner’ through anti-migrant and Islamophobic rhetoric, we are now seeing the ‘othering’ of anyone who does not subscribe to the tenets of the heteronormative nuclear family. Issues around reproduction, sexual difference and the family are now a key political battleground. As trans rights in the UK come under attack from powerful government and media voices, as well as ‘gender critical’ feminists, Sophia Siddiqui warns of the multiple dangers ahead when/if we cede territory to far-right ideas on innate biological difference.

Evangelicals Don’t Hate Cancel Culture, They Invented it: By John Pavlovitz

Evangelicals Don’t Hate Cancel Culture, They Invented it

Every day I see Christians lamenting the “Cancel Culture;” claiming whenever they face accountability for their words or their conduct, or for the policies or politicians they support—that they are being systematically silenced.

This is irony of biblical proportions.

The Evangelical Church in America doesn’t hate cancel culture, it invented it.

Ask LGBTQ human beings, who have been continually bullied into silence by pastors and youth leaders: who are berated and marginalized and excluded from spiritual community if they speak their truest truth or desire to marry the person they love or want to serve in ministry. Ask them how welcome or heard they feel in the Evangelical Church and how much of a presence they have if they want to be both out and included.

Ask women, who in most Conservative denominations are still not allowed to become pastors or to lead Bible Studies in mixed gender classes; who are still theologically treated as less-than and expected to be silent and submissive, relegated to the kitchen and the bedroom. Ask them how their claims of sexual abuse or domestic violence have been received and how much of a voice they have if they question authority or seek opportunity.

Ask people of color, whose most passionate opposition to equality still comes from white Evangelicals; people who daily face discrimination from a religious entity that is steeped in white supremacy and whose cries for justice in the face of unspeakable brutality by law enforcement are greeted with sustained resistance.

Ask Colin Kaepernick. Ask kneeling NFL players and outspoken NBA stars, who silently and gently asked America to see the racial disparities and systemic injustices still at work here and to demand the equity and empathy that Jesus preached. Ask them how the Evangelical church has conflated America and Christianity and told them to “shut up and play.”

Ask any actor in Hollywood who speaks out against homophobia or anti-Asian hatred or white supremacy, whose name begins to trend almost immediately as professed Christians rush to eliminate them wholesale because they cannot abide entertainers to also be fully formed human beings.

Ask Muslims, whose religious tradition is so often made synonymous with evil; who are continually used as a catch-all boogeyman for mass shootings and terrorism, whose presence is rarely included in Evangelical demands for “religious liberty.”

Ask transgender athletes and abused children and black activists and bisexual teenagers, and Harry Potter fans and Starbucks holiday cup users and progressive Christian pastors. They’ll tell you that nobody boycotts and silences and removes difference quite like Christians. They’ve built an empire on it.

The Religious Right and Jerry Falwell and Franklin Graham are the original cancellers of culture: of black culture and LGBTQ culture and Jewish culture and Muslim culture and non-American culture. It is their daily bread and butter messaging.

I’ve been a pastor in Christian churches for twenty-five years, and I’ve heard staff meeting discourses and witnessed the church lobby conversations and I’ve had a front row seat to organized social media campaigns designed to shut down criticism and remove diversity when it became too loud or too diverse to feel comfortable.

I can’t tell someone what their theology should bear or how they should express their moral convictions or what is compatible with their faith tradition—but I do think it’s hypocritical for Evangelicals in America to clutch their pearls and play the victim, and to condemn a perceived oppression that they invented, perfected, and continue to traffic in.

Jesus’ message was one of invitation and inclusion; of a table being expanded, of the least receiving love, of the foreigner being welcomed, of the lepers being touched, of the Samaritan being good, of the starving being fed, of the entire world being loved with ferocity. It was also a message that pushed back against cruelty in the name of God.

More and more, what I realize as I place the teachings of this Jesus next to the conduct of so many churches that bear his name, is that the compassionate, generous, open-hearted rabbi who preached the beauty of diversity, shunned political power, and condemned manipulative religious people—would be immediately cancelled by Christians.

About

John Pavlovitz is a writer, pastor, and activist from Wake Forest, North Carolina. A 25-year veteran in the trenches of local church ministry, John is committed to equality, diversity, and justice—both inside and outside faith communities. When not actively working for a more compassionate planet, John enjoys spending time with his family, exercising, cooking, and having time in nature. He is the author of A Bigger TableHope and Other SuperpowersLow, and Stuff That Needs to Be Said.

‘We All Have a Role to Play’: The Fight Against Anti-Transgender Legislation

During a record-breaking year for state legislative attacks against the transgender community, ELLE turned to experts and activists for a roundtable discussion about how we got here—and where the fight goes next.

We All Have a Role to Play’: The Fight Against Anti-Transgender Legislation

Coming into 2021, LGBTQ advocates were bracing for a storm. All the elements were there, a perfect set up for a deluge across the country. But still, the blitz has been staggering.

It only took a few months for 2021 to be declared the worst year in U.S. history for state legislative attacks against the LGBTQ community and a record-breaking year for anti-transgender legislation. By April, state legislatures had introduced more than 100 bills aimed at restricting the rights of transgender people, with most falling into two buckets: bills aimed at blocking transgender young people from playing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity, usually under the argument of keeping women’s sports fair, and bills aimed at blocking transgender youth from receiving gender-affirming medical care.

Politics, religion collide in transgender debate at Virginia school

A Northern Virginia religious leader is accused of “libelous and inflammatory” comments by Loudoun County Democrats after weighing in on a controversy involving a teacher’s views on transgender rights.

Pastor Gary Hamrick of Cornerstone Chapel, a nondenominational church in Leesburg, said during Sunday’s service that he supported recall efforts against six Loudoun County School Board members because they were “abusing our children by perpetuating the lie about gender confusion.”

“They need to be held accountable,” Hamrick said.

Loudoun County Democrats called on Hamrick to recant his comments.

“Unfounded statements such as these not only hurt our community that he is meant to serve, but have dangerous ramifications for the incitement of violence,” the party said.

Hamrick was speaking out in support of Byron Tanner Cross, a congregant of the church and a physical education teacher at Leesburg Elementary School who was placed on administrative leave following public testimony during a May 25 school board meeting.

He said during the meeting that he would not address transgender students by pronouns that reflect their gender identity.

“I love all of my students, but I would never lie to them regardless of the consequences,” Cross said at the meeting. “I’m a teacher, but I serve God first and I will not affirm a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa, because it’s against my religion, it’s lying to a child.”

Cross said he was opposed to a school system policy that says staff members must allow transgender students to use their chosen name and gender pronouns.

Hamrick claimed that Cross being placed on leave was a reflection of “progressive, liberal and Marxist ideology.”

“This is out of control,” Hamrick said.

The situation drew attention in the Virginia governor’s race, with Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin speaking out in support of Cross, asking the school system to reinstate him.

“It’s amazing to me that we see the Loudoun County School Board ignore and absolutely trample on Tanner Cross’ constitutional rights to express not only his religious beliefs, but also his right to free speech,” Youngkin said during an interview on Fox News.

Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal group, penned a letter to the school system demanding Cross be reinstated. On Tuesday, the group said its lawyers filed a lawsuit against Loudoun County Public Schools after school officials suspended Cross and responded to the group’s letter “by doubling down on its unconstitutional actions and stating that it intends to stand by its decision to suspend Cross.”

The group alleges that the school board’s actions “violated the Virginia Constitution when it punished Cross by retaliating against him for expressing his beliefs in a public forum, and also violated his free exercise of religion by discriminating against his religious beliefs.”

Mixed Views Among Americans on Transgender Issues

Mixed Views Among Americans on Transgender Issues

While Americans maintain their support for transgender military service, a majority believe birth gender, rather than gender identity, should govern participation in competitive sports.

A solid majority of the public (66%) continues to favor allowing openly transgender men and women to serve in the U.S. military, though this figure is down slightly from Gallup’s previous measure in 2019, when 71% were in favor.