On hate crimes and child abuse
You really can oppose both
Another mass shooting. Another round of finger pointing.
Late on Saturday night, November 19th, a gunman went into Club Q outside of Colorado Springs and opened fire. He killed five people, and injured nineteen more. Club Q is described as an LGBTQ nightclub. Like too many incidents before it, this mass shooting appears to have been motivated by hate. Hatred of gay people (Pulse nightclub, Orlando, 2016). Hatred of Jews (Tree of Life synagogue, Pittsburgh, 2018). Hatred of black people (Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Charleston, 2015). Hatred of women (Polytechnique engineering school, Montréal, 1989; attempted: Ohio, 2021).
And on and on and on. Name a group, and somebody hates them.
We will never live in a world without hate, but we can and should do what we can to diminish it, to make it as small a driving force in our own minds, and in society, as is possible.
We can disagree without hatred. We can even personally choose not to associate with other people if we want, although doing so based on a demographic marker, rather than individual characteristics, is narrow-minded and bigoted. As an individual, you can choose to be a bigot. And I can choose not to engage you or your bigotry. I can also try to reveal to you why your bigotry serves nobody, not even you.
However. The blue team machine lurched into high gear after the attack at Club Q.
It had already positioned itself just so. An August 2022 article in Advocate claimed that “There is a direct link between accounts like Chaya Raichik's LibsofTikTok and angry and potentially violent men showing up at drag queen story hours and Pride events.”1 The day after the attacks, the author of said article follows-up: “With the Club Q mass shooting in Colorado Springs, we see the results of months of demonizing drag queens & trans people.”
Michael Edison Hayden from the Southern Poverty Law Center2 declared this attack “inevitable.” “Inevitable,” it seems, if you follow his logic, because of those who would stop children from being mutilated by puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgery; inevitable because of those who object to children being witness to drag shows:
Being vocal in the desire to protect children from harm is tantamount to encouraging brutal killings at a nightclub?
As many have said before me, gay and trans are not equivalent. Not remotely. There are those who think that “T” never should have been added to “LGB” at all, much less all of the additional letters and numbers and symbols that make a mockery of the whole thing.
Speaking of which, check out Canada’s Prime Minister on the recent atrocity:
2SLGBTQI+. Really, Justin? I admit, I had to look it up. What is he on about? Turns out, “2S” stands for “Two-Spirit,” which I’d seen pop up in the LGBTQ acronym before, but never before advanced to the beginning.
The concept of Two-Spirit—which is often defined as an individual being neither man nor woman—is claimed to have been named in fully two-thirds of the 250 indigenous languages of North America3. I don’t believe it4, but even if you do: the term “two-spirit” is acknowledged by its proponents to be a modern invention, coined in 1990 at a conference in Winnipeg (see also this, and this). And in part precisely because it’s a brand-new term, it can be used to mean just about anything. Everything from not conforming to traditional gender roles, to actually being neither male nor female, has been implicated when “two-spirit” is invoked. But these could hardly be more different.
I remember when being free to adopt habits and pursue passions generally associated with the opposite sex was called being modern. Being unbigoted. As a girl growing up in the 1970s and ‘80s, I associated it with feminism, and with egalitarianism. I competed in math tournaments because I loved math. I played sports because I loved sport. I learned how to build things with my hands because…well, because my Dad insisted that I do, but I came to love that, too.
I didn’t do those things because I was secretly a boy. I wasn’t trans or non-binary or two-spirit. I did those things because I was lucky enough to be born a girl with some “boyish” interests, in an era when that was fine.
In this era, however, being a non-girly girl is no longer fine. It’s trotted out as evidence that you’re not a girl. They call this progress?
Letting children’s fancies decide whether they will receive puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones is child abuse, and normalizes child abuse.
Exposing children to sexualized content in the form of drag shows is child abuse, and normalizes child abuse.
Those of us saying these things are not the bad guys. We didn’t encourage a shooting at a night club. Saying that is reprehensible.
In fact, those of you who are encouraging the mutilation of children when they declare themselves something they are not, or who think it’s fun to take children to explicit drag shows, or who think it’s no big deal to put little girls in photo shoots holding teddy bears in bondage regalia—you’re the bad guys. You are. Think about it. Look at yourselves in the mirror, and maybe get back to us. There are a lot of us out here who—crazy as this may sound to you—want to reduce both hate crime, and the abuse of children. Join us.
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So says Juliette Kayyem, an academic whose stock-in-trade is ferreting out “stochastic terrorism,” a neologism meaning, in her words, “use of mass communications to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.” See RollerGator—Stochastic Terrorism - a game of rhetorical asymmetry—for a complete exposition.
The SPLC is an organization that was once, like the ACLU, an important defender of freedom and pursuer of justice, but is now a parody of its former self.
Hunt 2016 (An introduction to the health of two-spirit people: Historical, contemporary and emergent issues. Prince George, BC: National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health.) cites Tafoya 1997 as the source on this claim, but misquotes what I can find of the original (which specifies 250, not 200, Native languages still spoken in the United States.)
Tafoya 1997 (Native gay and lesbian issues: the Two-Spirited. In: Ethnic and Cultural Diversity Among Lesbians and Gay Men, vol 3, (pp1-9). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.), is cited as the source by Hunt 2016, and is a chapter in an obscure book; I’ve now got said book on order, and will report back as I learn more. The same author—Tafoya—also has this essay (same title; may well be the original 1997 essay reprinted, in Garnets and Kimmel, eds., 2003. Psychological perspectives on lesbian, gay, and bisexual experiences. Columbia University Press.), in which “concrete binary categories of the Western world”—all of which are clearly imagined to be naïve and wrong by the author—include “good/bad, right/wrong, male/female, and gay/straight.” The author who, so far, seems to be the source of the claim that “two-spirit” is common in Native American language and thought, thinks that the binary of “male and female” is a Western construct. Furthermore, the essay makes this claim: “Of the 250 or so Native languages still spoken in the United States, at least 168 have been identified as having terms for people who are not considered male or female.” But the claim is unreferenced, and therefore unsubstantiated.
I recognize that this is an insane sentence, and very hard to parse if you don’t already know what I’m referring to. It is the very nature of this insanity to make the person reporting on it look insane. It is rather like having a sociopath in your life: as the target of a sociopath tries to describe to a caring third-party what is going on, the tendrils and tentacles, the crazy ins-and-outs of the gaslighting and reversals, often make the victim appear insane.