41 Comments
Mar 18, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

Good stuff, big shout out to David Shor and his fellow pundits convincing the GOP their missing votes could be found at the bottom of a canyon, wouldn't have happened without them.

On Maher and Hillary, I think both scenarios apply: they're boomers whose reference for trans people is, well, men so gay that they want to remove their dicks. Extra gay. But they're also very afraid and convinced that every joke Reagan made about the libs is true, so the words "you're out of touch" trigger a Pavlovian response to them. It doesn't excuse them being bigots or being unable to read, but it does explain it.

Expand full comment
Apr 15, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

Bill Maher is just an asshole. He doesn't care who wins elections so he ain't acting on fear. Just an asshole.

Expand full comment
Mar 18, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

the republican party are nothing but monsters. anyone who votes for their bigoted party are themselves monsters.

Expand full comment
Mar 18, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

Truth

Expand full comment
Apr 5, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

Great article! I checked you out after hearing you on Chappo. I’m a trans woman who came out in 2006, and I agree with pretty much everything you wrote here. I tell all my friends we’re going to make it through the wave of hate we’re facing because nearly everyone in America who’s pro-LGB is pro-trans as well.

I live in Massachusetts, and I got firsthand experience of this in the 2018 bathroom bill ballot campaign. I went out knocking on doors with Freedom for All Americans every weekend for a year leading up to the vote. I talked to literally thousands of ordinary people about the issue, and not a single one was pro gay & anti trans. Nearly everyone who was ignorant on trans issues was easy to educate. We won a crushing victory with 2/3rds of the vote. That’s 7 points better than Warren did that year by the way.

The only thing I have to add to your article is my sense that Republican politicians are taking advice from self-hating gays. If you’re a middle-aged Republican gay man, the odds are really good you’ve bought into respectability politics and have spent decades condemning other queer people for breaking gender norms. There’s also probably a smattering of eggs and TERFs in their camp. Regardless, this is an inconsequentially small group of losers that nobody in their right mind would want to emulate or listen to.

Expand full comment
author

I’m glad you enjoyed the piece! The 2018 Massachusetts ballot measure is something I’ve heard people bring up a lot, and I wish I had included it in the piece: it would have worked perfectly. If you have more to say about that campaign, I’d love to hear about it.

Expand full comment
Apr 5, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

As much as I’d like to take credit for the win, I don’t think the other side really had a chance. Our canvassing operation only contacted about 1% of voters. Most probably made up their mind on their own or got educated talking to friends, coworkers, and family. I think most straight people see LGBT rights as a very basic YES/NO proposition. If they accept us being a part of society, they accept us having the same basic rights as straight people. Bigots might try to divide up the community and confuse straights with lots of elaborate “what if” scenarios, but queer people are unified enough and committed enough to push back with the truth.

Expand full comment
Apr 5, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

Sure thing! We were really scared at the time because we’d never had a direct test of trans rights at the ballot box in a major statewide election. Freedom for All Americans started organizing the canvassing campaign over a year before the election, and I volunteered to join them. This paper does more to describe our canvassing strategy if you’re interested. https://participedia.net/case/5749

Expand full comment

Fantastic, thorough piece. Thank you for writing it.

Expand full comment
author

Thank you for the kind words!

Expand full comment
Mar 18, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

Fantastic article, and I mean this genuinely. Absolutely getting my money's worth with this subscription lol. I do have a question though. Near the beginning, you seem to place the changing tide of public opinion on trans rights to the economic fallout caused by North Carolina's anti-trans statutes. I'm wondering, why would you say the business community was so repulsed by transphobia in NC, particularly when a non-discrimination ordinance in Houston was crushed resoundingly? Was it a matter of geography (the LGBT community being more economically salient in urban NC than TX), or time (by 2016 rather than 2015, more people had become concerned about trans issues)?

Expand full comment
author

It was a difference in the nature of the actions. HB2 was a statewide law that mandated specific policies to be followed across NC. The Houston vote was a local, low profile referendum that just repealed one law without prescribing any new policies.

Expand full comment
Mar 18, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

I see, that makes sense. Thank you! So I guess in this case the transphobes in NC "got too cocky," in a sense? They looked at Texas and saw some success for a small, local referendum that only repealed one law and took that as a warrant for a sweeping, prescriptive policy that ended up alienating even those who previously didn't support trans rights all that much?

Expand full comment
Mar 20, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

This article is really well written. As a 39 year old gay data scientist this piece does a fantastic job at providing a proverbial oral history of anti LGBT politics. As someone with family that has an AIDS foundation & has done LGBT advocacy -- there is plenty of work left for us.

Growing up in suburban Connecticut I didn't face this barrage of ant LGBT hate. My home state was the first legislative body in America that ever passed statewide lgbt non discrimination protections. That was done in 1975 by the state senate. However, it didn't pass the full body & get signed into law until 1991. And Connecticut under Gov Malloy became the first to make Trans protections lawful too.

Expand full comment
Mar 20, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

Your sharp yet sober political analysis on this subject is much appreciated. I’ve been trying to explain to my friends that it’s not as bad for us as the Erin Reed’s of the world make it out to be but that it’s not exactly great either. Now I have a great article to send them which so elegantly articulates the situation we face.

Thank you.

Expand full comment
Mar 18, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

Amazing work, truly.

Also is now the time to move from Ettingermentum to Coopermania?

Expand full comment
Mar 20, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

Constructive comments t I'll make which justifies revisions to the article, or be included in subsequent parts is:

(1) how Evangelical/Southern Baptist (movement within the GOP 30% per PRRI) drives all the anti trans fuckery

(2) LGBT electorate 7-8% of America and how they are basically a national 82%-85% Dem voting block now. In key states (mentioned in this article) LGBT folks basically where a 90% Dem block in 22 /20/18.

Having born again family one side from Arkansas- it's 100% true the church has now gone outside the church. In other words; the Southern Baptist convention (after losing one million people plus mostly younger folks) in recent years due to rejecting inclusion of LGBT/racial minorities.

The ones in my family are are extremely bigoted believing LGBT shouldn't be able to serve publicly in the government. Mayor Pete triggers them so hardcore. And they don't believe Trans people should have any rights.

Expand full comment
Apr 11, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

Magnificently researched and compellingly written. I'm subscribing on the strength of this piece alone.

Expand full comment
Mar 20, 2023·edited Mar 20, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

One thing I do sort of wonder is that why was the catalyst of opposing transphobia in the US, well, corporations?

Like it really does seem that the economic backlash in NC, the pushing of corporate-supporting pride visibility during June, it just seems odd that a lot of it appears to be coming from the corporate world rather than the activist bases of gay marriage or the civil rights movement, kinda unprompted? Was it just the writing on the wall after the gay rights movement?

(Not that it didn't start with the activist base, it did, I mean more about it reaching a critical mass of opposition and leading to general salience/backlash)

Expand full comment
Mar 22, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

OP touched on this a *little* bit in his reply to me above, more could be said of course but partially it was that North Carolina's law was exceptionally broad and far-reaching, which spooked corporations more than a much more modest thing did in Houston.

Expand full comment
Mar 22, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

I can see how scope is a factor, but what I'm curious about is why were corporations spooked in the first place? Like today it makes sense because diversity and trans rights are a lot more salient, but back in 2015 or 2016?

Expand full comment
Apr 9, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

2015 is obergefell. i think corporations, albeit perhaps not understanding the basis of what these identities mean or even the cause of the paradigm shift, certainly sensed in a very short time that LGBT identities across the board suddenly had broad swaths of both public and political support and could act as a unified bloc– which scares the fucking daylights out of these companies. if LGBT identities are important enough to receive federal judiciary favor and protection then surely they're important enough to employ, to market to, to pretend to represent, right?

that being said i'm not entirely sure i have the right answer, or if there even is one– but it feels pretty similar to disney essentially giving ron desantis a middle-finger-shaped "compliance" over his culturally motivated legislation. is disney an ally to LGBT identities? fuck no, of course they're not. but they do know how not to alienate an entirely active, unified, and substantially influential segmentation of their consumers!

Expand full comment
Apr 16, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

Very brief context, I'm 45+ and would likely be called a centrist. The right-wing would say I'm terminally infected with the woke mind virus, and the leftists would call me a proto-fascist. At the corporate level of most major companies (I work for one), around 2015 they were already exploring diversifying their staffing. One of my managers was asked at an all-hands company wide meeting why it was taking so long for us to staff up. He was a cis white male originally from South Africa (no, not that one). He was very blunt and told all of us that the company was too white, too male, and not a good representation. The issue perversely was that if you post a job listing you get 10000 replies, so now you go through that big stack for qualifications and you find 100 people to call in to interview, and everyone who comes in the door is a white male. He halted the hiring process to do research and to the best he could determine, 97% of the applications we were getting were from white males. He terminated that staffing firm and we had to start all over again. But again, you don't know who's showing up until they get there! And you certainly can't ask beforehand! To answer multiple replies to the original post, legitimate multi-national or even large US based companies are not spooked or scared by diversification or inclusion in the slightest. They are actively working it towards it aggressively. Each ad campaign, diversity celebration month, gay pride parade, etc. has been workshopped, focus tested, tweaked, and practiced before rollout. The representation isn't empty rhetoric or "pretending to represent". It's also there to celebrate and acknowledge our own employees and remind them that we value them. I have no personal knowledge of this but I would bet any amount of money that Anheuser-Busch number crunchers discovered that Bud Light was either the best selling beer at gay cowboy bars, or that they needed to move more aggressively to court that consumer group. Ad campaigns for the most part want to attract young, trend-setting spenders. Young, trend-setting spenders who set the culture now are diverse, bi-racial, and inclusionary. I'm personally so fucking excited to see this massive change from even mid-2000's corporate behavior. End of the day I feel like I've seen multiple successful civil rights movements during the course of my life and it's an awesome time to be alive. Keep your heads up, trans rights = human rights, and if anyone wants to discuss the many shit things large corporations do I am always ready to join that conversation as well. Ettinger you are an S-Tier journalist, I don't know how you're going to keep this up.

Expand full comment
Apr 7, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

Great piece! As a trans woman it's both hilarious and terrifying to think that we might be the iceberg that the right is willing to sink its ship on.

What do you think this means for folks like Machaela Cavanaugh, Megan Hunt et al. who have recently made names for themselves by blocking anti-trans stuff at the state level in red states?

Expand full comment
author

They’re making possibly the best sort of move you can make in politics: both sincere and politically shrewd. They’re getting their names out there on the right side of a big issue and should undoubtedly find support in their districts. Unfortunately for them, prospects of advancement in Nebraska are obviously limited, although both since both are situated in Omaha, it could help them launch credible campaigns to finally flip the competitive 2nd district. Having a large profile would be quite a boon for a potential bids for that seat.

Expand full comment
Mar 19, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

FWIW, David Shor himself doesn't believe that transphobia is a winning issue for Republicans, and has said as much.

https://twitter.com/davidshor/status/1426204141567754241

https://twitter.com/davidshor/status/1561770210608222210

Expand full comment
author

I mention this in the piece

Expand full comment
Mar 19, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

Fair enough. I just wanted to make sure this was clear, because he often gets lumped in with people that that say "Democrats should move to the right on trans issues to win more votes".

Expand full comment
Oct 1, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

Your main point is excellent. The entire history of the Civil War is the original failure that they need to make themselves feel better about.

Expand full comment
Apr 18, 2023Liked by ettingermentum

Any idea why the audio version doesn’t read the whole piece?

Expand full comment
author

I’m not sure. It’s probably an issue with length. At any rate I am planning to release my own audio recording of the piece sometime in the near future.

Expand full comment