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The far-right and the fight for trans rights

Alex Adams

July 5, 2022
At the Ottawa convoy protests, far-right groups were carrying transphobic placards calling for an end to teaching “gender ideology” in schools and “protection” for children against the same.
Transphobia plays a central role in the ideology of the far-right. Many groups see anti-trans arguments as a gateway to larger attack on LGBT2S rights in general. It is crucial for socialists to see and understand how these arguments are being used to fuel the general bigotry of the far-right forces. 
From the People's Party to New Blue Ontario
People’s Party of Canada (PPC) released a statement last fall promising to “fight radical gender ideology” - proposing to repeal Bill C-16, the legislation passed in 2016 that added gender identity and expression to the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Their statement is a disjointed rant filled with inaccurate characterizations of trans people and boldfaced lies, from the strawman argument for “safety” of women and girls from “biological men” accessing bathrooms to the alleged push by “predatory doctors and activists” for children and youth to identify as trans and undergo the gender transition process.
They also confuse gender identity and sexual orientation, asserting that children with gender dysphoria are “being encouraged to start transitioning, when most of them would grow up to become healthy gays and lesbians.”
Predictably, they are also against the recent legislation banning conversion therapy, which they promote as “therapeutic counselling to help them accept who they are instead of destroying their bodies”
The PPC hides behind false concern for protecting “women, children, gays and lesbians” from harm brought on by trans activism. It is utterly despicable but not surprising that a homophobic, sexist, and racist party would make this claim. 
PPC has also run a candidate in the Fraser Valley in BC who was very involved in leading protests against SOGI, a curriculum tool on sexual orientation and gender identity that was released by the province in 2017. Laura-Lynn Tyler-Thompson first ran for them in a by-election for that BC riding, and then in Red Deer AB in the 2019 federal election. She cites fighting ‘gender ideology’ as her motivation to get into politics. After that, she became leader of the Christian Heritage Party of BC.
On the provincial level, we have a new far right formation in Ontario called the New Blue Party, which is making similar statements promising to fight “woke activism” on a number of fronts – they tie together their own racism, transphobia and homophobia together in a video to promote the party, 
The opening for them to do this has been created by the general political climate in which the right is growing. It’s especially important for socialists to take the right position on issues of oppression because oppression literally serves to divide the working class. The right sees trans rights as an easy wedge issue to push forward their agenda. 
Capitalism and gender oppression
Capitalism from its beginnings has relied on exploitation and oppression to maintain the dominance of a small minority over the large majority of people. Exploitation and oppression take on various forms and degrees, and vary both over time, and between different societies.  
Trans oppression arises from the same roots as women’s oppression, and in a way similar to gay and lesbian oppression. The origins of women's oppression in the rise of class society developed with the emergence of class societies and the consolidation of the nuclear family under capitalism. This happened as a consequence of the systematic oppression and dispossession of women and the subordination of women’s sexuality. Women’s oppression, heteronormativity, the gender binary, the commodification of women’s bodies and control over bodily autonomy are deeply embedded in capitalist ideology, as are homophobia and transphobia.
There have been a number of so-called progressives who have supported the same arguments against trans rights put forward by self-identified radical feminists (TERFs). This is a wrong position for any credible socialist to take, it is our responsibility to show solidarity with all movements of oppressed groups of people. We need to show respect for how people self-identify, and we need to resist claims that the rights of one oppressed group (trans people) undermine those of another (women).
Such arguments are inherently divisive and potentially reactionary, and they fail to identify oppression in capitalist societies as being driven from the top.
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