Transmissions: Living hell

  • by Gwendolyn Ann Smith
  • Wednesday June 1, 2022
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Illustration: Christine Smith
Illustration: Christine Smith

You would think that discussing a group of people who have literally hacked the code of their own bodies to present in their correct gender would be pretty fantastic, but transgender people are remarkably mundane. For the most part, we simply want to be left alone to live our lives as we ought to.

For some, however, the idea of people choosing to transition is somehow a great fear, one that they need to blow up to titanic proportions. Left without a real threat, we are stitched into a patchwork of horrors, tailor-made for all situations.

It is not hard to find some of the stories out there about transgender people right now. They're not difficult to discover between the lines of anti-transgender laws, on right-wing media, and on the lips of certain famous fantasy authors and has-been comedians.

Transgender people are supposedly going through the challenges of transition in a hostile society so that we can claim fame and fortune in women's sports, perpetuating tired patriarchal tropes of male dominance.

Or we're going through all this to gain a foothold into women's restrooms to assault women and girls. Never mind that sexual predators could likely have better success in a janitor's jumpsuit, nor the fact that such crimes remain, well, crimes.

Or, of course, we're all part of a bigger plan, forcing people to "mutilate their bodies" as part of larger "great replacement" conspiracies. Our powers are seemingly limitless in the minds of some.

Just weeks ago, an 18-year-old went to the only market in a largely Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, and shot 13 people. Ten of those shot were killed. Two days prior to the mass shooting the alleged gunman, Payton S. Gendron, published a long-winded manifesto online.

The missive, which rambles from white supremacy to his preference in underwear, includes pages outlining his views on transgender people, and claims that the rise in people identifying as transgender is a Jewish-led "great replacement" plot. (Per an explainer on NPR, the "great replacement" is a conspiracy theory that states that nonwhite individuals are being brought into the United States and other Western countries to "replace" white voters to achieve a political agenda.)

Just 10 days after the shooting in Buffalo, another 18-year-old entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, killing 19 children and two teachers while armed police stood around outside and in the hallway, apparently so afraid to face this man's AR-15 that they let him continue to shoot for over an hour.

In the hours following the Texas killings, a story was fabricated that the shooter, Salvador Rolando Ramos, was a trans woman. Photos of an unrelated trans woman, Sam, were shared on the 4Chan image board website, then later picked up by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, as well as right-wing commentator Candace Owens, and Congressmember Paul Gosar (R-Arizona). Despite being wholly debunked — not the least of which by Sam herself — the notion that this killer was a transgender person continues to flow.

As an aside, this isn't the first time we've seen this: An attack on a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood in 2015 by gunman Robert Lewis Dear Jr. led to another round on the rumor mill, claiming Dear was transgender because a clerical error on Dear's voting paperwork listed him as a woman. In that case, it was Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) who championed false reports from the Gateway Pundit blog.

Meanwhile, transgender people are just trying to live their lives — a task made all the harder given false accusations that a trans person was behind the Uvalde shooting. These falsehoods can make our lives little living hells.

A 17-year-old transgender girl identified by the Los Angeles Blade as Tracey said that she was attacked by four men in El Paso, Texas in the wake of the shooting. The attackers claimed that she was, "perverting kids instead of killing them."

They also claimed that it was, "one of your sisters who killed those kids."

El Paso police refused to take a report from Tracey, even when pressed by the Rainbow Youth Project in Indiana. Apparently, they are as useful as the officers in Uvalde.

Tracey was just living her life. Her parents kicked her out of her home for being transgender. She found a place at a halfway house. She was heading back there after spending some time at the library, working on her high school homework. It was outside the library that those men reportedly attacked her.

Sam's photos — the ones that were taken to claim she was the Uvalde shooter — were ones she took to chronicle her own transition. Something she could be proud of. She has since had to post photos to show that she isn't the shooter, isn't dead, and doesn't even live in Texas.

I'm not going to claim that their experiences are of more importance as those whose lives were ended in Buffalo or Uvalde. They are, however, an example of the growing violence and hatred toward transgender people.

What's more, these conspiracy theories — and these notions of threatening, larger-than-life transgender people — come from the same toolbox as racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and misogyny. That manifesto named transgender people right along with all of the above. It is all hatred, and it is all linked into one awful, ugly thing.

Now is the time we all need to stand together. We all need to push back on these fabrications, these crazy constructs. We need people to see the reality.

I said it at the start: transgender people, by and large, just want to live our messy little lives — the same as anyone else. We're not looking for a special advantage, just an equal opportunity.

This is contrary to those who have created a completely fictional notion of what a transgender person is.

Don't buy their lies.

Gwen Smith is not a member of the transgender illuminati — or is she? You'll find her at

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