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We Are Thinking About You, We Are Here for You, We Will Fight for You

By Dustin Rowles | Social Media | April 18, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | Social Media | April 18, 2023 |


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If you spend much time on social media, particularly Twitter under Elon Musk, it has felt toxic over the last … since around 2014, but especially lately. We are confronted every day with mostly older white men insisting that abortion is wrong, drag shows are wrong, being trans is wrong, that kids are being groomed by gay teachers, and that colleges shouldn’t talk about slavery or the Holocaust. Those same men are passing laws in deep red parts of the country upholding those beliefs, and after a while, it starts to feel like the values of the United States are being rewritten by mean, angry, rotten, close-minded people.

The media is also reporting on these new bills and laws 24/7, as well as the campaigns (or would-be campaigns) of Republican presidential candidates running as far to the right as possible to win their primaries. The media is gamifying the culture wars. All we ever seem to hear about is books being banned, laws being passed to prevent trans kids from expressing their identities, and how wrong it is to be “woke,” which is to say: Belief in equal rights for everyone. Woke, which is something our culture used to aspire to, has been turned into an expletive by the right.

Basically what happened is that Republicans overturned Roe v. Wade, there was a massive backlash to it among Independents and Democrats, and so in an effort to draw attention away from that losing issue, they turned their attention to trans people because it polls better. A lot of Americans haven’t made up their mind about gender identity issues, and Republicans are trying to shape the narrative in their favor by equating “wokeism” with pedophilia. It’s a more politically palatable form of Q-Anonism.

What doesn’t seem to be happening as much, however, are campaigns by the left to fight these narratives. Remember when North Carolina passed a Bathroom Bill and how liberal activists were so outraged that they managed to get the bill overturned? Where is that energy now? There are a number of bathroom bills that have been passed or are making their way through the legislative process. What happened to the outrage? Twitter just updated their hateful conduct policy to remove protections for trans users and where Twitter or states in the deep South are concerned, it increasingly feels like we’re resigned to it.

I don’t know exactly where I’m going with this. The culture wars that politicians are engaged in and that the media breathes life into are emotionally draining. I just want to reiterate that trans rights are human rights. Pronouns are not bad things; they are terrific little words that allow us to express our true selves. Trans kids and teens exist and should be protected, cared for, and honored in the same way that cis kids and teens are. Drag shows are wonderful. Drag Queen story hours are amazing and joyous events. There is nothing wrong with being queer. State lawmakers in red states do not get to decide what is right and wrong. Neither does Elon Musk or Tucker Carlson. There is also nothing wrong with being “woke,” in fact, just the opposite: It means caring about everyone, including and especially those who are different. That is not and never will be a morally reprehensible position.