Shaler Township, located just outside Pittsburgh, found itself home to a Back The Blue Rally on Sunday, July 26th designed to confront a Black Live Matter protest that was happening simultaneously in the small suburb.
Those who arrived to support the Back The Blue Rally were donned in Trump gear, waving American flags and occasionally chanted “Trump 2020” and “All Lives Matter” as they attempted to drown out the Black Lives Matter activists.
In rural and suburban neighborhoods across the swath of middle America that are more firmly conservative, efforts to organize and host Black Lives Matter demonstrations against increasingly deadly police brutality levied against the black community have been met with bigger swells of opposition against the movement. In the small town of Bedford, Michigan, Black Lives Matter protesters marched down a street toward the munitions shop of a local politician who had made multiple racist posts on social media. Upon reaching their destination, they came face to face with a larger crowd of white people, many clothed in Pro-Trump hats and T-shirts, perched on rooftops and armed with assault rifles as they endured a frenzy of racist slurs and death threats.
In Shaler Township, those who portrayed their demonstration as intended to support Police turned their aggression to Transgender people. Suddenly and bizarrely, the organizer of the Back The Blue counter protest began leading a chant to “Kill the Transgenders.”
Black trans women are the most threatened members of an already marginalized community, disproportionately impacted by murder and rarely served justice in the aftermath. In 2020 alone, murders of Black trans women have skyrocketed, surpassing the already alarming numbers reported in previous years. To understand why this is cause for concern, one must consider how small, compared to other communities, the percentage of Americans who identify as transgender is. Statistically, it should be more rare to see a transgender person killed given how few of us live our lives presenting in public, however this is not the case. America is the third leading country in transgender homicide, behind Brazil and Mexico, respectively. This does not account for the murders of transgender Americans that go misreported or unreported by the media.
Studies showing the impact of US President Donald Trump, who has actively waged war on the Transgender community, stripping healthcare access, banning from public spaces and military service, blocking access to homeless shelters and forcing trans identifying people into prisons according to biological sex, do not exist. No one seems to be looking at the damage done to the transgender community in the last five years. This might be due to the Trump administration actually banning the words “Transgender,” “Diversity” and “Vulnerable” from any missives directed to the White House. This was initially reported by the Washington Post, then denied by the Trump Campaign- and then actively demonstrated as true when, earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services rolled back Obama era definitions of gender that had been inclusive of transgender identities to exclude them by defining it as binary, based on chromosomes and physical biology. The CDC is responsible for aggregating and reporting health and safety statistics, which they have not done effectively with regard to the Transgender community since 2015. This means that other agencies whose own independent studies relied on these resources to dispatch necessary information and education no longer have clarity on the quality of life of the Transgender American or how it has diminished in recent years.
Lack of this vital data likely cloaks the devastating impact the hostile political climate and emboldened hate has had on trans people, especially those living in remote, rural or deeply conservative areas since Trump’s rise to power. Especially considering that the US is now implementing religion to influence federal legislation which threatens all Trans and non-binary people.
It has long been evident that support for Donald Trump is indelibly interwoven with virulent racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia and misogyny that he has successfully re-branded as simply “Patriotic.” Preying upon the deep seated prejudices of his loyalists, he has stirred their ire and directed their outrage toward the most vulnerable among us, promising a restoration of America to God’s Law at the expense of human rights of minority communities and in violation of the constitution.
This is what we see in modern day America enroute to the restoration of “God’s Law.” A gaggle of angry, easily misled white people doused in merchandise of a multi millionaire, a self described “Chosen One,” that they espouse hatred beneath the banner of as they further deify him.