To all who’ve promised to never forget…it’s starting again.

We are on a historically dangerous path. Tell your legislators to reintroduce the Equality Act now and to publicly disavow all anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and state legislation!

Sunday, March 5th, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis visited Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, signing his odious book, and dog-whistling that he would “never surrender to the “woke” mob, or, as defined by Merriam- Webster – those aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice.)

In exchange for democracy, he promised the crowd of +1000 regressives a bright and shiny new deal. He would suppress and silence the lesser-valued claimants of “We, the People” in exchange for his cynical Christian Nationalist version of the”core foundational principles that made this country great.” It’s ironic that his book’s title, “Courage to Be Free,” far better describd the LGBTQ+ protesters at the front entrance, a demographic traditionally targeted by fascist leaders, than it did himself.

Despite our blithe assumption that we Americans are exceptional – above the political trauma that’s happened elsewhere and beyond our own genocidal early history, scholars are now actively studying if the growth of White Nationalism under Trump could devolve into violent oppression of minority groups and dissenters if a fascist leader like Ron became president.

Genocide Watch lists the 10 stages that that historically lead to genocide. Importantly, the group writes, “At each of the earlier stages there is an opportunity for members of the community or the International Community to halt the stages and stop genocide before it happens.” The Human Rights Campaign and the ACLU are tracking hundreds of legislative attacks on LGBTQ+ rights across the country. Some believe we may already be at Stage 8. It is time to stand indivisible with our neighbors and call your legislators. Even if your own legislator is part of the regressive mob, call them and call them out.

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Rep./Sen. [___] to know that I agree with President Biden’s recent State of the Union speech – that it’s the duty of national legislators “to protect all the people’s rights and freedoms,” and to “pass the bipartisan Equality Act to ensure LGBTQ Americans, especially transgender young people, can live with safety and dignity.” Right now, there are hundreds of state bills intent on denying the LGBTQ+ community the free speech, health care, civil rights, and public accommodation due ALL Americans. Together with encouraging hateful rhetoric and physical violence, this is akin to state-sponsored terrorism against a peaceful minority. Historically, we’ve seen this before.

  • (For Democratic legislators) When will Rep./Sen. [___] reintroduce the Equality Act? Have they [___] publicly spoken against anti-trans and anti-gay state laws? What other actions is [he/she/they] taking to protect the rights and freedoms of their LGBTQ+ constituents?
  • (For Republican legislators) What specific actions is [he/she/they] currently taking to protect the rights and freedoms of their LGBTQ+ constituents? If [he/she/they] agrees with his state’s anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, what level of tragedy will it take to change his mind?


  • Rep. Julia Brownley: email(CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
  • or Rep. Salud Carbajal: email.(CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
  • Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
  • and Senator Padilla: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884
  • Who is my representative/senator?:

Deeper Dive

Definition of terms: The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines fascism as “a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.”

Genocide begins with “dehumanization;” no single country is immune from risk, warns UN official.

Laws – Classification, symbolization and discrimination

There have been over 400 anti-transgender bills in state legislatures – banning drag, limiting access to sports, restrooms and removing medical transgender care for both kids and adults. A Montana bill seeks to delete transgender individuals from the law entirely revoking their right to change any identity documents, including driver’s licenses, claiming that transgender people were “fraudulent

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A sampling of these 400 legislative attacks against a small and vulnerable minority.

  • Just in!: “Florida Republicans push horrifying bill to remove trans kids from affirming parents.” SB 254 would allow for the “legal kidnapping of trans children” – granting Florida courts “emergency jurisdiction over those children” as well as allowing courts to “ignore all other court orders and custody determinations”.
  • Texas began investigating, and potentially prosecuting, parents of trans kids who receive gender-affirming care.
  • Alabama enacted a law to put parents and physicians in prison for up to 10 years for allowing or providing gender-affirming care to trans kids. Less than a week later, a federal judge in Alabama has blocked the ban from being enforced, saying it would cause “severe physical and/or psychological harm” to Alabama’s trans youths and their families and likely violates their constitutional rights.
  • Arkansas: Lawmakers passed legislation prohibiting gender-affirming treatment for minors, including puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and gender affirming surgery. The law also prohibits medical providers from making referrals to other providers for minors seeking these procedures. It was blocked in court.
  • Texas: Bill 4378 would authorize $5000 bounties for people who catch drag performers violating “community standards of decency” while “exhibiting a gender that is different from gender recorded at birth.” This could ban a trans person singing karaoke, and gay pride events and turn people into something that would have made the East German Stasse proud.
  • Marjorie Taylor Greene introduces bill to make gender-affirming care for transgender youth a felony. The bill would also prohibit institutions of higher education from providing instruction on gender-affirming care and bar doctors that have provided gender-affirming care to a minor from receiving visas or being admitted to the U.S. It has 14 Republican co-sponsors so far.

In response:

  • CA – “Senator Wiener’s HISTORIC BILL to provide refuge for trans kids and the families signed into law.”
  • CO – “We’ve come from the Hate State to the No. 1 state in the nation for protecting LGBT youth, which is just fantastic,” says Ryann Peyton, a board member of The Center on Colfax, an LGBTQ community center in Denver.” Notable laws passed in Colorado include a 2011 bill prohibiting bullying in schools based on sexual orientation or gender identity, a 2019 law that banned conversion therapy on minors and a 2021 law that forbade discrimination against LGBTQ children or parents in the adoption and foster care system.
  • See more here.

Coincidentally, there were 400 decrees and regulations meant to figuratively “eradicate Judasim” from German society before the literal phase – the Holocaust -began. One of the first groups targeted in the fascist crackdown was the gay rights movement.

Rhetoric – Dehumanization, Organization, Polarization

Anti-trans legislation has moved lock-step with increasingly violent and eliminationist rhetoric. Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh “declared war” on the transgender community. Charlie Kirk stated that they should be “dealt with by men like in the 50s and 60s,” (lynching and beatings?).

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At CPAC, Michael Knowles declared that “Transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely.

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When called out for the violent overtones of this statement, he continued his dehumanizing of them as “not a legitimate category of being. ” He has threatened to sue publications that reported that he wanted to eradicate trans people, explained that transgenderism can be eliminated without eliminating trans people because trans people aren’t real.

In response, author Brandon Friedman notes, “Transgenderism must be eradicated from public life” vs.“transgender people must be eradicated” is a meaningless distinction to the historically literate. Nazis very specifically began excluding German Jews from public life years before the first extermination camp.” Erin Reed added – “genocide can be cultural, political. The unifying factor is steps taken to wipe a group from public life.

(Refer to law section above.)

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Then, as history has proven, there’s violence.

(ACLED) “Amid a wave of legislation and violent rhetoric targeting the LGBT+ community in the lead-up to the midterm elections (Bloomberg, 21 November 2022), anti-LGBT+ activity has surged around the United States, culminating most recently in a deadly shooting at an LGBT+ club in Colorado that is under investigation as a hate crime. Anti-LGBT+ incidents captured by Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) — including demonstrations, acts of political violence, and the distribution of offline propaganda — have more than tripled from 64 events in 2021 to 193 events in 2022 as of mid-November (see graph below).

Research shows that members of the LGBT+ community face higher risks of interpersonal violence and violent crime relative to the non-LGBT+ population (Human Rights Campaign, 25 June 2020UCLA Williams Institute, 2 October 2020), and ACLED data indicate that the LGBT+ community is also at heightened risk of political violence, defined as serious physical manifestations of violence that are reported to be politically rather than interpersonally motivated. This subset includes attacks by spontaneous, violent mobs; law enforcement; and/or or extremist individuals or groups.

As right-wing politicians and media outlets have increasingly mainstreamed the use of anti-LGBT+ hate speech in the United States (Washington Post, 21 November 2022Media Matters, 21 November 2022), anti-LGBT+ political violence has escalated: incidents of political violence targeting the LGBT+ community this year have already more than tripled compared to the total number of attacks recorded last year, with at least 22 reported events.

While coordinated organizing against the LGBT+ community has not been a primary driver of far-right militia and militant social movement activity in recent years, this pattern has changed significantly in 2022 . Far-right militias and militant social movements like the Proud Boys and Patriot Front have increased their engagement in anti-LGBT+ demonstrations by over three times this year, from 16 events in 2021 to 52 events as of mid-November 2022. This is a dangerous trend: demonstrations are over four times more likely to turn violent and/or destructive when far-right militias or militant social movements are involved.

So, where are we now?

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If the GOP manages to destroy the lives of our LGBTQ+ community, does anyone think they will stop there?

Americans have a deliberately cultivated amnesia regarding the genocide of Native Americans after the arrival of undocumented Europeans, reducing the death of millions to a false Thanksgiving story. In GOP-controlled statehouses, Black history is being erased, and the ability of communities of color to vote is being deliberately suppressed. Violent attacks against Jewish and Asian-American communities are at record levels. The demonization and dehumanization of immigrants continues, as their bodies are used as literal pawns in the GOP’s culture wars.

Florida’s GOP legislators have been emboldened by the increasingly blatant fascism of their governor, Ron DeSantis, to actually try to eliminate the Democratic party in the state, disenfranchising 5 million voters with “The Ultimate Cancel Act.” Journalists are in the crosshairs of a bill to allow those who discriminate to sue those who report on it.

As with anti-trans legislation – this follows rhetoric from legislators like Marjorie Taylor Greene, who “likened Democrats to destructive feral hogs allowed to range free and destroy the American countryside” in an ad feature high-powered weaponry. This was after she called for executions of prominent Democratic politicians in 2018 and 2019, before being elected to Congress. “Dehumanisation” is stage 4 on the 10 stages of genocide.

(Politico) America has always had a high level of political violence compared to similar high-income, consolidated democracies. In the 1960s and 1970s, when such violence last peaked, it was committed by fringe groups, mostly on the left. In the 1980s and 1990s, extremist fringes on the right started growing. While violence was identifiably ideological, from left-leaning causes like the environment to anti-abortion activists on the right, it was not partisan. Supporting political violence could only hurt mainstream politicians, and it had nothing to do with the election calendar.

Today, violence on the left still looks like this. Progressives who support violence are disconnected from the Democratic Party and are generally disavowed by political leaders (though Democrats could do more to speak against the high levels of property violence that ravaged small businesses during the summer of 2020).

But on the right, support for violence is no longer a fringe position. Hate crimes remain the purview of the normal criminal demographic: unemployed and unmarried young men without kids. However, those joining violent political events like the Jan. 6 insurrection are more likely to be married middle-aged men with jobs and kids. Those most likely to support violence on the right feel most connected to the Republican Party according to a November 2021 Bright Line Watch survey. This is not a marginal movement: It is people who see violence as a means to defend their values, an extension of their political activity…

...Many people who support violence would never actually commit it themselves. But when language that simultaneously depicts people as a threat and less than human becomes common, more aggressive and unbalanced individuals will act. Approximately 3 to 5 million Americans are willing to consider committing political violence, according to a poll conducted in the spring of 2022. Numbers like these mean that America is now at the point of what experts call stochastic terrorism — a situation in which one can’t predict who will commit violence, or exactly where or when, but it’s highly predictable that someone, somewhere, will take the bait and act against the target. While in the past, words directed at a long-standing punching bag such as Nancy Pelosi (or a new one like the FBI) remained rhetorical, now, the same ire can result in bloodshed.

What are we Americans capable of? What is our “Never Again” moment?

Americans have a deliberately cultivated amnesia regarding the genocide of Native Americans after the arrival of undocumented Europeans, reducing the death of millions to a false Thanksgiving story.

If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row,” said Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) about her appearance at a public gathering, while in a race against a Black candidate. That this was a throw-away phrase she gave no thought to, as lynchings in the south WERE often huge public events, advertised in local papers to increase attendance, makes it particularly horrifying.

This link takes you to an excellent 60 Minutes video from 2018 – “Inside the memorial to the victims of lynching” with the amazing Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). “[unlike in Europe]…we don’t have institutions that are dedicated and focused to making sure a new generation of Americans appreciates the wrongfulness of what we did when we allowed lynching to prevail and persist, what we did when we created racial apartheid through segregation. I just felt like we had to introduce a narrative about American history that wasn’t [being] clearly articulated. We need to create institutions in this country that motivate more people to say ‘Never again’ to racial bias and bigotry.”

(YouTube has rated this video as “age-restricted” and trigger warning – there are black and white photographs of actual lynching included, along with their audiences). Victims of lynchings included women and children, along with Civil War, World War I, and World War II war veterans.

If you didn’t realize how the KKK is still with us, this video, also “age-restricted” shows how White Supremacy and hatred has adapted throughout the years, and is as present, in the internet age, as it ever was.

One unfortunate result of never dealing straight-on with our legacy of enslavement, as Germany has with the Holocaust, is that we’re left with an unhealing wound, represented both in the continuing effect of segregation, and in the simmering hostilities from dark-money funded astroturf groups against the teaching of “Critical Race Theory” at school board meetings and state legislatures.

( CRT does not attribute racism to white people as individuals or even to entire groups of people. Simply put, critical race theory states that U.S. social institutions (e.g., the criminal justice system, education system, labor market, housing market, and healthcare system) are laced with racismembedded in laws, regulations, rules, and procedures that lead to differential outcomes by race. Sociologists and other scholars have long noted that racism can exist without racists. However, many Americans are not able to separate their individual identity as an American from the social institutions that govern us—these people perceive themselves as the system. Consequently, they interpret calling social institutions racist as calling them racist personally. It speaks to how normative racial ideology is to American identity that some people just cannot separate the two. There are also people who may recognize America’s racist past but have bought into the false narrative that the U.S. is now an equitable democracy. They are simply unwilling to remove the blind spot obscuring the fact that America is still not great for everyone.

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