How far-right activists secretly devised a brutal 'anti-trans' attack plan: report

How far-right activists secretly devised a brutal 'anti-trans' attack plan: report

For decades, the Religious Right tirelessly railed against gay rights and same-sex marriage. And they haven't given up. Justice Clarence Thomas and other far-right social conservatives have made no secret of the fact that they would love to see the U.S. Supreme Court reconsider two of its landmark pro-gay rulings: 2003's Lawrence v. Texas (which declared sodomy laws in Texas and other states unconstitutional) and 2015's Obergefell v. Hodges (which made same-sex marriage a national right).

But these days, the Religious Right is generally more focused on attacking transgender rights than it is on attacking gay rights. According to Mother Jones reporter Madison Pauly, newly discovered e-mails from 2019 illustrate the Religious Right’s anti-trans game plan.

In an article published by Mother Jones on March 8, Pauly reports, "On a Saturday afternoon in August 2019, South Dakota Republican State Rep. Fred Deutsch sent an e-mail to 18 anti-trans activists, doctors and lawyers with the text of a bill he planned to introduce that would make it a felony for doctors to give transgender children under 16 gender-affirming medical care…. The message was one in a trove of e-mails obtained by Mother Jones between Deutsch and representatives of a network of activists and organizations at the forefront of the anti-trans movement. They show the degree to which these activists shaped Deutsch’s repressive legislation, a version of which was signed into law in February, and the tactics, alliances and goals of a movement that has sought to foist their agenda on a national scale."

READ MORE: 'Yes I am threatening you': Nebraska Democrat vows to make life 'painful' for Republicans pushing anti-trans

Deutsch's anti-trans allies included the Religious Right groups Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds). In one of his e-mails, Deutsch essentially admitted that the Religious Right's anti-transgender agenda was unpopular.

The South Dakota Republican told anti-trans activists, "I have no doubt this will be an uphill battle when we get to session. As always, please do not share this with the media. The longer we can fly under the radar, the better."

Pauly notes that back in 2019, there was "little precedent for such bills." But Deutsch's bill in the South Dakota House of Representatives, according to Pauly, ultimately "proved influential in the recent surge of anti-LGBTQ lawmaking."

"The e-mails demonstrate close collaboration between groups working behind the scenes to push bills banning transgender health care, including ADF — which has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people in Europe — and the ACPeds — which has opposed adoption by gay couples and supported conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth," Pauly explains. "In recent years, ADF has drafted legislation banning trans children from using school restrooms or playing on school sports teams that align with their gender identity. Both groups are also staunchly anti-abortion; ADF, which drafted the Mississippi abortion ban at the heart of the case that overturned Roe v. Wade, is currently representing ACPeds in a closely-watched lawsuit to ban an abortion pill, mifepristone, nationally…. The e-mails illustrate just how long some major figures in the anti-trans movement have been incubating political attacks on transgender healthcare."

READ MORE: 'The worst anti-trans bill I have ever seen': GOP-led state houses are ramping up efforts to gut LGBTQ+ rights

Read Mother Jones’ full report at this link.

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