In our current social and political climate, it is all too familiar to see so many new efforts to limit the freedom of LGBTQ+ folks and even penalize those who seek to support them. This is especially true in the US for the transgender community. At last count, there were nearly two dozen new bills being introduced across the country targeting trans health care alone. Thus far, none have been passed into law- such as the very controversial directive from Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that parents providing such care for their kids be investigated for child abuse, which was thankfully (though only temporarily) stalled by a judge.
At the heart of these efforts is a concerted and seemingly intentional campaign of misinformation that seeks to capitalize on people’s (willful) ignorance about being transgender, what and when health care supports are offered, and the impact of healthy, supported transitions are. Even the fact that some of these proposed laws threaten as much as life in prison to those who support trans kids in this way heightens the unsupportable sense that such supports are “dangerous”.
The timing of such efforts is not surprising. After all, after years of a global pandemic, where right-wing politicians capitalized on the anti-science views of their constituents to resist necessary health mandates, it makes sense that this form of truth-resistant denial should be utilized to score further points. The willingness to deny verifiable facts by simply calling into question the bias of the source makes it far too easy to perpetuate harmful lies and practices with a “clear” conscience.
To be clear, this growth in post-truth dynamics is not being born primarily out of a wilful denial of truth. While I do believe that most people would still say that they both value and represent “the truth”, I have less faith in those who wield social, political, and economic power. As Lee McIntyre puts it:
“I think of post-truth as a tactic that’s used by authoritarians and their wannabes to control the flow of information so that they can then control the populace.”