For trans people, 2023 in the United States is starting to feel like 1933 Germany

Lisa Thinks…
7 min readJul 19, 2023

This is happening. It is not hyperbole. And we need to acknowledge the track we are on. I am posting this because I live in a bubble and was not too aware of how severe the situation has gotten.

Please read this.

Targeting a group that is less than one percentage of the entire population and smearing them with lies is a trick out of the Nazi playbook.

Jewish people in Germany represented less than one percentage of the population. The rest of the population was Christian/Catholic with a very small population identifying as neither.

And, yet, these Christians/Catholics were able to stand by as lies were spewed about Jewish people and Jews people were vilified by politicians and the media.

Christians/Catholics stood by — for getting the teachings of Jesus and the “thou shall not kill” — as Jewish people were removed from their homes and forced into trains and put to death.

While some later claimed that they did not know Jewish people were being killed, there was enough wrong that was being done in front of their faces with their full knowledge that they get no moral redemption for their lack of action and backbone. They had ample opportunity to stand up and do the right thing and they failed.

Period.

Christianity and religion are important for the times when you have to stand up and do the correct things.

And in this country, we are on the verge of making this same mistake. As many say, history does not repeat itself but it rhymes and we are rhyming hard.

The current vilification of transgender people in this country is a case and point.

The percentage of transpeople in this country represents less than one percent — like Jewish people in Germany. A small enough population that people may not know someone or know someone well how is part of it.

This lack of direct experience with someone who is trans provides the knowledge vacuum that can be filled with rumors and general bull*****.

And filled it has been. There have been all kinds of accusations — I won’t repeat them because I don’t want to reinforce those narratives but they are absolutely ridiculous and insane. But they are actually even worse. They are dangerous. These reckless accusations are what allow people to make trans people and even parents of trans kids targets.

And targets they are.

We now have people create “safe” maps (Erin Reed) for trans people based on the political climate created by politicians and media.

Safe Map for Trans People as of June 2023

We have people fleeing one state and moving to other “safe” states. A former basketball player left Florida (Dwayne Wade) and moved to California to protect his trans daughter.

But his move represents the tip of the very big iceberg.

This is from a recent post that sent a chill down my spine a prompted this post. I made some small changes to protect identities and make it a bit easier to read.

“Today I said goodbye for now to chosen family …. and three amazing young people (E,N, and G) and dogs ….. This family has taken me in and been so kind to me, and laughed with me and cried with me and listened to me- and asked me to be a part of their lives including caring for the kids in all their wildness and earnestness. I love them.

Today I hung out with K and D and G, cooked peaches with E, rollerbladed, cheerleaded N and then had a long conversation with the sentient Box

Box

that N became, discussing with Box for a long time what their favorite things are, what makes camp great, and how if Boxes don’t have faces they could eat pineapple (answer: boxes selectively have hands but no mouths so they absorb foods through their skin. This seems reasonable enough as N, in box form and not, is a sticky kid and I was always a sticky kid so I sympathize.)

I’m leaving — though to where is still to be determined- in the next few weeks or so. Other chosen family left last week, and multiple friends I’ve known through advocacy left this week including today.

There’s an exodus of community members …. (organization name) has long served underway as part of a large trans migration across the country from unsafe places to safer places.

I know two folks who moved to St Louis recently from Florida because in comparison, we are safer- at least at the moment. I’ve got folks headed to Minnesota and on an interview today with a recruiter, they mentioned having a new opening on a team as of today because a long-time gay staff member with a trans child in Minnesota is scared and moving to Canada.

Safety is relative- but it’s what all of us who are migrating are seeking in the best ways we know how- and we are praying that where we land there will be open arms ready to welcome us in our new places for we are weary.

And. There are folks who are staying- and networks formed and forming for support for those not yet ready to go or who for whatever reason cannot go now or ever.

Those networks are helping people figure out what their contingency plans will be. It’s the work (organization name) has been doing for months and will continue as helping support trans folks continues to be our mission.

I want to be really clear.

Those of us who are running are running because we believe our lives and our thriving depends on it. We cannot make a change, make a shelter of peace, live into the gospel call to enact liberation in service of the kingdom of God, and live as our best versions of our fully human selves when we are so very scared.

It is NOT cowardice that sends us out — but terror. We aren’t being selfish in leaving- we are leaving behind homes we dreamed of living in forever, relationships and deep connections we spent years building, jobs and ministries we love, networks we built, queer people.

We are have huddled together with and fought alongside, unaffected people we love who don’t have to leave, good work partially complete- and doing so is an act of deep care of self and community AND comes with so.

Much. Grief.

Grief in the leaving when we don’t want to go.

Grief for the futures we envisioned we don’t get to have now.

Grief when our community is being scattered to the wind in hopes of safety that is not promised or seen yet.

I’ve been doing hospice care for a community that is dying as many are leaving- and like with hospice, part of the work is helping those left behind remake their world in a new way despite the grief.

I have to believe there is hope yet for all of us and our kids- but today I sit surrounded by love in a pool of grief- comforted in part by the sentient Box pictured below in the comments. “

Also below is a picture of a safe map posted by Erin Reed. Yes, it is 2023 in the United States and this is a real thing.”

The similarity of this to stuff I read by those living in Nazi Germany and those fleeing in the 1930s seems remarkably and sickeningly similar.

The majority of people then could have stopped things but they did not — either because they believed the lies or they did not care because it did not affect them (oh how wrong they were).

This should be a big F******G wake-up call.

History may not be repeating itself exactly but it is rhyming hard and we need to push back on this now and hard because we know where this can end up.

And the German people, even in the destruction and rubble of WW2, had a hard time believing that they participated in creating the entire mess. Their refusal to step out of their comfort zone to confront the atrocities in front of their face was what allowed the destruction in their country to grow. Apathy as to the plight of others and ignorance in falling for the BS.

We have the benefit of history.

We need to learn from it.

We need to understand that we need to urgently step out of our comfort zones.

We need to push back HARD and protect those who may represent a relatively small portion of the population.

Or we are all going to get drug into a pile of rubble and destruction?

Authoritarians don’t stop until they are forced to. And we need to stop this now.

And those in safe states need to figure out how to speak up and get resources to those in unsafe states to push back on legislation and those pushing lies.

Just like Germany.

We don’t get a do-over. We are going to have to live forever with the consequences of our actions or inaction forever.

PS: 1933 Germans would have never believed what became of their country by 1945.

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Lisa Thinks…

I work to understand and explain the world in a very simple way. I have written Mind, Media and Madness, Embrace Life/Embrace Change (by Lisa Snow)