Message: Gender norms suck – by The Ink

Last week, we spoke with internal messaging expert Anat Shenker-Osorio about the importance of broadening justice struggles so that they encompass not just the concerns of one group, but the entire community Worry—a process she calls “de-justification.”

After we discussed how this transformation occurred Transformed the fight for abortion rights, we asked her what questions she still needed to address. What immediately comes to mind is the battle for trans rights, and the fight against the right’s renewed hostility to LBGTQ+ rights.

As Anat told us last time, if you let the opposition frame your problem as belonging to a small group—or worse, match it with language that accepts that premise—you’re setting yourself up for ignored.

But in the fight for transgender rights in the United States, the rhetorical battle is even more intense—not only are transgender demands relegated to a niche group, but transgender people themselves are being separated from the community: scapegoated, threatened with erasure , or are portrayed as helpless victims in need of protection from parents, schools, or the state. Some early efforts to help relied heavily on rhetoric of “protection,” leaving the door open for more attacks from the right.

In this week’s column, Anat tells us about the research her team is doing to change the conversation to focus on the bravery and strength of trans children and adults, and how to come out about gender issues to include Rights and values ​​that all Americans (and that includes older white cisgender men) feel are their own and well worth fighting for.

Want to know more about Anat’s work? look at season 3 way to winher brilliant podcast explores the political messaging of fighting for change. Episode 6 (season finale) will premiere on February 20.

It seemed like just a few years ago there was a growing consensus about LGBTQ+ rights. What happened?

It makes me sad to say that because I think the question have to be de-isolated, we allow it to get Re-isolation. They use trans (T) as the tail to wag the dog.

Marriage equality, by the way, is a perfect example of de-siloing. The story about same-sex marriage used to be: “Well, we should these specific people Because they don’t have that right, which is why Bob and Jerry or Lisa and Cindy should get it.

But the key to success is to shift the argument from ensuring those people Can have their thing get married equality. Love is love. Love makes family. This is a universal message. I’m a straight woman married to a man, and I also Believe that love is love. I also feel that my relationship is about love and about starting a family.


This connects me to other people whose relationships, for whatever reason, are very different from mine. Understand that we have something in common.

I think what’s happening now is that trans people are absolutely being isolated, and that’s what the right does. This is part of the strategy: To effectively scapegoat someone, you have to separate them from the crowd. Bible stories will tell you that the prerequisite for finding a scapegoat is that you have to separate the goats from the flock so that you can slaughter them. Sorry for being so graphic.

I think the problem we often have with trans issues is that a lot of people aren’t very familiar with it, they don’t quite understand it. But remember, abortion took a long time to get here. We don’t remember that it took gay people a long time to get here too. There was a time, like before Harvey Milk, when a lot of straight people would have said, “What is that? I don’t know anything about that kind of thing.”

As we saw with the abortion issue, whenever we treat an issue as an exception, we are in a very vulnerable position, and the only people for whom the issue has salience are those who feel they are affected by it people directly affected. This is true regardless of whether people are right or wrong.

So how do we change the terms and get the rights debate out of the way?

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