The recent anti-Semitic shooting in Pittsburgh has left me feeling rattled, sad, scared and fearful for the future. In large part it’s because it was so close to me, I know dozens of people who personally knew those killed in this hate crime and it was in a community I was on the periphery of. It’s clear once again that being in Pittsburgh doesn’t isolate anyone from hate crimes. Important to note the number of anti-black hate crimes that have happened here recently, from the stabbing on the northside, to the guy who was beaten by a group of white supremacist at a bar in Avalon. According to Southern Poverty Law Center there are 36 hate groups in Pennsylvania.
This isn’t news, it isn’t news that they are being emboldened by heinous rhetoric by Trump, and the GOP. And it shouldn’t be a surprise that this increasing hateful rhetoric is having a corresponding increase in hate crimes that have risen for 3 years straight and are at an all time high for the decade. This scares me for my friends, for Pittsburgh and our country. It also brings up a related fear that I’ve been tracking for several months that directly affects me, the government’s attempt to make America inhospitable for trans people.
This has been done on many fronts, but has reached a concentrated assault recently. The ADF has been working to undue the judicial wins by trans people for decades and the FRC has been working tirelessly to change laws to allow religious organizations to discriminate against trans and queer people. Recently with the GOP administration considering legally define both gender and sex as “either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with.” and within that same week the U.S. Health Department and Office of Civil Rights removed all language refering to transgender people.
I’ve been watching this for many months, mostly by reading things from someone I follow on facebook, Brynn Tannehill. She is a writer and worked as a senior defense analyst, she has a great ability to analyze situations and make prediction about different possible outcomes. I remember looking to her to see who was going to win, Hillary or Trump at 11pm on Election day. Since then I’ve read many posts by her warning of trans peoples’ possible erasure from American Society which is a process that is well under way, and there is a good chance it is a history that is already written.
The article that caught me the most that she wrote was a month Before Brett became a Supreme Court Justice entitled, “The SCOTUS Event Horizon for the LGBT Movement.” In it she clearly and systematically lays out a explanation of what will happen and how. This includes the loss of Title VII protections or protection from employment discrimination, right to discriminate laws or the ability to ignore civil rights on religious grounds, and a possible nationwide ban on trans people using bathrooms.
And in this article a lot of it is her talking about the Supreme Court, which isn’t something that is going to have a significant change in makeup for probably 15 to 20 years. So here we are, beyond the horizon, beyond the point of return. A friend described it as purgatory because these cases are inevitably going to make it to the Supreme Court and inevitably be ruled to make America increasingly inhospitable for trans people. But until that happens we just wait. Wait for the inevitable, struggling to keep our rights in the mean time. Sadly I have very little hope that our struggle will accomplish anything. I feel hopeless and yet I want to protest and go through the motions to fight back even though I see no way for this to work out I don’t want to give into the hopelessness of this situation but I look at it and only see hopelessness.
Someone else I know has been researching safe places for trans people to live. They’ve said that Canada would be a location that is decent but potentially only as a stop over spot with New Zealand being a location that is more safe in the long term for trans people. Turns out a friend of a friend lives in Christchurch, New Zealand. Which is a country I only learned how to spell correctly as I was writing this article! Thinking about potentially moving there leaves me hopelessly frustrated. I love Pittsburgh, I love Pennsylvania. I don’t want to have to leave this country or this state. But I can’t in good faith not consider the possibility that I’ll be compelled to move over the next year or two and that fact terrifies me, and hurts me.
I don’t know what to do. I’m a very flexible, understanding person with few needs. Often all I need to be happy is to adjust my expectations of how certain situations might go. But recently I’ve found myself adjusting my expectations to include having my friends in the Jewish community, LGBT community and Activist community be harmed and even killed. Because if I tell myself it could happen, at least I won’t be surprised if/when it does.