As the resistance to transgender activism continues to rise and millions of Americans push back against the transitioning of children and males competing against females in sports, an increasing number of gays and lesbians are raising their voices as well. They are saying, “This is not who we are, and this is not our agenda. In fact, trans-activism is actually erasing our very existence.”
Examples of this phenomenon would be online groups such as, “Gays Against Groomers,” described in 2022 as “the newest crusader in the fight against radical LGBTQ activists said to be grooming young children in a sexual, indecent manner.” They have joined other conservative voices in speaking up against things like Drag Queen Story Hours for children.
Radical feminists, many of them lesbians, have also raised their voices in protest, even co-authoring the forcefully-titled volume, Female Erasure: What You Need To Know About Gender Politics' War on Women, the Female Sex and Human Rights. After all, if a biological male can now identify as a woman, using female spaces and finding solidarity in female causes, what, then does it even mean to be a woman?
More recently, the articulate gay journalist Andrew Sullivan penned a major essay titled, “The Queers Versus the Homosexuals.”
Looking back at the last 40 years, Sullivan noted that the survivors of the AIDS epidemic “built a movement that won every gay and lesbian the right to be free from discrimination and to marry and serve openly — and proudly — in the military.”
He continued, “It was the most speedily successful civil rights story in memory. Its case for equality was simple and clear: including us in existing institutions needn’t change anything in heterosexual life. ‘Live and let live’ in equality and dignity was the idea. And the most powerful force behind this success was the emergence of so many ordinary gays and lesbians — of all races, religions, backgrounds, classes, and politics — who told their own story. America discovered what I had discovered the first time I went into a gay bar: these people were not the stereotypes I was told about. They were not some strange, alien tribe. They were just like every other human, part of our families and communities; and we cared about each other.”
As for “transgender rights,” that question was left “unresolved.”
Unfortunately, he bemoans, today we are back in “culture war hell.”
But it is not, he argues, “because the GOP has, for cynical reasons, become an even more unhinged hate-machine, now dedicated once again to ‘targeting the freedom and dignity of queer people,’ as one NYT columnist” recently wrote.
Rather, he says, “when you examine the other issues at stake — public schools teaching the concepts of queer and gender theory to kindergartners on up, sex changes for children before puberty, the housing of biological males with women in prisons and rape shelters, and biological males competing with women in sports — you realize we are far beyond what the gay rights movement once stood for. It’s these initiatives from the far left that are new; and the backlash is quite obviously a reaction to the capture of the gay rights movement by queer social justice activists.”
Put another way, LGBTQ+ activists have overplayed their hand, just as many of us predicted would happen, and millions of tolerant, fair-minded Americans are calling foul.
Not only so, but Sullivan notes that this current wave of radical leftist activism has muddled everything having to do with homosexuality. That’s because, he argues, “The core belief of critical queer theorists is that homosexuality is not a part of human nature because there is no such thing as human nature; and that everything is socially constructed, even the body.”
In effect, this means, goodbye to gays and lesbians, as major gay activist groups “quietly changed the meaning of the word ‘gay’ so that it no longer referred to same-sex attraction, but to same-gender attraction; and changed the word ‘men’ to include people with vaginas and uteruses, and the word ‘women’ to include people with d---s and b---s. Checkmate for the gays! We are all now just bigots with ‘genital preferences,’ just like the Christianist right used to claim. Just to add to the confusion, hundreds of new ‘genders’ were adopted — because some teens on Tumblr once invented them and queer theorists loved them.”
As a result, “Gay hook-up apps now include biological women seeking gay men and straight men looking for chicks with d---s. ‘NO MEN’ some profiles now say — on what was once a gay man’s app. There are fewer and fewer exclusively gay male spaces left. Lesbian bars? Almost gone entirely. Lesbians themselves? On their way out.”
And worst of all, these queers, says Sullivan, are now targeting children, “something,” he writes, “we gays never did.”
As a result of all this, he states, “we have to be insistent that the gay experience is distinct and different and not intrinsically connected to either queer ideology or the trans experience. We have to demand that children’s bodies — gay, straight, trans, gender-conforming and gender-nonconforming — be left alone. And we must do all we can to make sure that the trans-queer revolution does not result in what it seems to be moving toward: the eradication of homosexuality from public life.”
To be sure, I applaud Sullivan’s call to leave the children alone, and I affirm his calling out of the growing wave of what can only be called transanity.
At the same time, I must differ with Sullivan strongly.
First, gay activists have most assuredly targeted children for decades now, in particular in children’s education, as I documented at length already in 2011 in A Queer Thing Happened to America. They may not have targeted children’s bodies the way trans activists have, but they have surely targeted their hearts and minds.
Second, the progression from LGB to T and Q is inevitable, a natural part of the deviation from the God-established, biologically essential, heterosexual norm. The long-predicted slippery slope was not a figment of the imagination of the radical, fundamentalist, fear-mongering, bigoted, Christian right. It was a logical, biblically based deduction.
That’s why the last chapter of A Queer Thing Happened to America was titled, “GLBT and Beyond: Reflections on Our Current Trajectory.” And that’s why the chapter opened with quotes like these: “In recent years gender identity has galvanized the queer community perhaps more than any other issue. The questions go beyond the nature of male or female to a yet-to-be transverse region that lies somewhere between and beyond biologically determined gender.” (From the back cover of Genderqueer: Voices Beyond the Sexual Binary, edited by Joan Nestle, Clare Howell, and Riki Wilchins.) And this: “We are transgendered men (female-to-male, or FTM). My boyfriend is the mother of my child. (Patrick Califia-Rice, ‘Two Dads with a Difference— Neither of Us Was Born Male,’ Village Voice, June 21-27, 2000).”
And I wrote this, warning about what was coming: “There are massive and costly consequences to this deviation from the basic, male-female ordering of human life and society, and so, before we proceed any further – and with due respect to the many legitimate questions that must be addressed, including how to help . . . troubled [and suicidal] gay and lesbian teens . . . – we should first look ahead and see where we’re headed. In fact, the future is already here: Welcome to a queer new world!”
I noted that, “Already in 2001, Richard John Neuhaus could write: “‘The Transgender Revolution’ is the latest political cause being promoted by those of heightened consciousness. Columnist John Leo notes that San Francisco now pays for city employees who want sex-change operations, and a number of television shows are in the works portraying the joys of transgendered liberation. The Los Angeles Times had a sympathetic story on a husband and wife who are both having the operation. They will stay married, but the husband will become the wife and vice versa.”
That’s why I warned, “Yes, from ‘transgendered liberation’ to husband and wife swapping in the same marriage (!), we have entered some unchartered territory. We had better think twice before we proceed.”
Sullivan is also quite wrong in thinking that the gay revolution was all about, “Live and let live.”
To the contrary, it became clear to me already in 2004 that for many of the key players who had come out of the closet, their ultimate goal (in fact, it was a necessary goal for their success) was to put conservative Christians (and other conservatives, both religious and non-religious) in the closet.
And so I warned that “if cross-dressing and, more radically still, sex-change surgery are fine – after all, we have to be true to ourselves, and, in the end, ‘it’s my life’ – then the day will soon come when the mutilation of other body parts will be considered fine if it makes the person feel happy and whole. Why not?
“Without the male-female order, there would be no human race (it still takes a sperm and an egg to produce a person), and the normalization and celebration of GLBT are a direct assault on the male-female order, leading to gender chaos, to the redefining of marriage, to the remaking of our educational system, to the rewriting of the Bible, to the enshrining of special gay rights even at the expense of religious rights and freedoms of conscience – just to name a few.”
The irony of this all is that, in the years to come, it could well be that the very reason the gay revolution ultimately fails is precisely because it succeeded so well. Metaphorically speaking, given enough rope, it hung itself. Andrew Sullivan’s dream has become his nightmare.