Barney: Trans People Should Arm Themselves


Mary Allen

(Design by Mary Allen | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sebastian Barney, Opinion Writer


At national and state levels, the general sentiment towards the transgender community is transphobic at best and hostile at worst. Rhetoric against trans people, oftentimes employing fictitious misrepresentations or outright falsehoods, is rampant in our current political atmosphere.

The trend taking the United States by storm over the past few decades is outright fascistic. Politicians engage in nonsense culture wars, deny the reality of a lost election, actively repeal rights and invade the spaces of vulnerable groups.

Our situation is becoming extremely dangerous. Trans people currently have the full rights of the Constitution, but that might not be the case forever. While they still can, trans people should arm themselves.

This past legislative session, Utah banned gender affirming care for minors, including puberty blockers and other reversible methods of healthcare. These antagonistic policies are exemplified by the general culture and sentiments of the LDS church. Gov. Spencer Cox’s surface level support of the transgender community aligns with his anti-government interference position. His attitude, however, doesn’t correlate with his track record of signings.

During the 2023 Conservative Political Action Conference, failed actor Michael Knowles called for the “eradication of transgenderism from public life.” In the context of Knowles’ ideology, it’s a clear call for the genocide of the transgender community. He has taken the semantics argument, in saying he’s calling to eliminate transgenderism and not transgender people, but it’s irrelevant — you can’t separate “transgenderism” from transgender people.

Meanwhile, the right continues to push fascist ideology. In 2024 the Republican nominee for president will either be the proud transphobe Ron DeSantis or the insurrectionist Donald Trump. Either way, each candidate will likely continue to erode democratic institutions, deny reality and take away rights.

The political climate is set. The right has a continual habit of intentional delusion and totalitarian actions. They peddle falsehoods and misrepresentations to their audiences, which echo the issue and direct public policy. Even if a conservative candidate isn’t chosen in 2024, the base for extremism still exists.

The existence of conspiracy theorists in a vacuum isn’t a problem — stupidity is human nature. Conspiracies have real world consequences: those who fall into them have a proclivity for violence. We have seen this violence manifest through white supremacy in Charlottesville, a kidnapping attempt against a legitimately elected governor, an insurrection on our capitol and more.

These violent actions were a result of political rhetoric. People felt emboldened to participate in the violence in Charlottesville because of Trump’s words. People were confident about kidnapping Gretchen Whitmer because of right-wing COVID-19 denial. Trump caused the insurrection by denying the results of the election. The words by Knowles at CPAC were irresponsible and could motivate the base to commit violent actions against the trans community.

The Club Q shooting is an excellent example of what can happen. A neo-nazi shot up what was previously a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community. He was likely driven by propaganda peddled by people like Knowles.

The existence of trans people isn’t up for debate. They’re real and deserve to exist, and not acknowledging that fact will perpetuate violence.

As a child I was always told the U.S. was a nation that protects basic rights — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And failing to face our grim realities and speak out against them is a failure to the American ideology we’ve been taught. Allowing and encouraging violence against our communities is the antithesis of the American Dream and makes the LGBTQ+ community the target of oppression.

The direction here is clear: life is dangerous for the trans community. The assault on our democratic institutions is a slippery slope to the violation of everyone’s democratic and human rights. Public policy will continue to steer in an anti-trans direction on the right. And the violence against trans people already exists, and will continue to exist everywhere.

If democracy should fall, it’s likely that transgender people will not be able to exercise their Constitutional right to arms. So if and while you’re able, arm yourself as a transgender person to protect yourself defensively.

Owning a gun is a serious responsibility — a reality which most of us carry with full understanding. Those who feel they cannot own a gun should not. If you feel comfortable arming yourself, especially if you’re trans, you should.

Those of us who are cis need to support the trans community through this injustice. We must defend their right to exist. And to the trans community: you do exist and deserve to continue existing.

Whatever happens, protect yourself.


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