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Republicans Revenge: Targeting Gender Nonconforming Youth

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In the wake of Donald Trump electoral defeat and the failure of the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, the Republicans are actively searching for issues that will reinvigorate their future electoral possibilities. Split between hardcore Trump populists and more old-school country club genre, they sat on their hand during the wrangling over Pres. Joe Biden $1.9 trillion Covid-19 recovery plan. Now floundering, they’ve turned back to the oldest cons in their political arsenal and – yet again — taken up the culture wars to reinvigorate their most reactionary base.

One could well image Republican political consultants, especially at the state level, drawing up hit lists as to the issues they would leverage planning for the 2022 Congressional and state elections. At the top of the list is stopping increased voter turnout. Republicans know that more voters, especially among people of color, equals more Democratic victories. So, as evident in the 2020 election, particularly in Georgia, Republican-controlled state legislatures are moving aggressively to restrict voter participation. The Brennan Center reports that as of March 24, legislators have introduced 361 bills with restrictive provisions in 47 states.

A second top issue that Republican strategist will likely further exploit is the war against a woman’s right to an abortion. An increasing number of women live in counties without health and reproductive clinics or are being blocked from securing a “legal” abortion. The New York Times reports that since 2013, at least 275 clinics providing abortion services have shut down. Making matters worse, almost four hundred state-level restrictions were proposed in the first half of 2019 alone. Most recently, South Carolina and Texas have adopted “fetal heartbeat” laws to undercut Roe and formally end legal abortion in America.

Surprisingly, the issue of gender nonconforming — i.e., transgender — young people is again being exploited. It unexpectedly emerged nearly a decade ago when, according to the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s LGBTQ organization, the Stonewall Center, an estimatedat 150 colleges across the country had gender-neutral bathrooms in the early 21st century. In 2014, Austin approved a law that requires gender-neutral signage on single-occupancy bathrooms. Its action was followed by similar programs Portland, Washington DC, West Hollywood, Philadelphia and........

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