3 min read

This is TWIF's New Home!

I'm moving This Week in Florida from Substack for various reasons
A path ending in a rocky coastline with waves crashing on rocks below the end of the path.
Northern California Coast, because I needed a "featured photo" and I like this one. Photo credit: Philip Cardella

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I'm moving This Week in Florida from Substack for various reasons, but the big one is, Substack pays a few select content creators to be on the site and some of those content creators are not only anti-trans, they break Substack's own rules and Substack doesn't care.

To put a fine point on it, the trans community is perhaps the most vulnerable community of humans in the world with one of the highest suicide rates; more than half of non-binary and transgender youth considered suicide in 2021. The attacks on this community have little to do with how the perpetrators of anti-trans rhetoric actually feel and much to do with unrelated political gain: they are trying to get Evangelicals fired up to vote conservative. “They have an interest in keeping the base riled up about one thing or another, and when one issue fades, as with same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage, they’ve got to find something else,” Dartmouth Professor and author of a history of the Evangelical movement's alignment with the Republican Party, Randall Balmer, told The 19th last year.

Balmer goes on to remind people that the Evangelical movement from Jimmy Carter's Democratic Party to the GOP didn't start with abortion, as many believe, but with Bob Jones University losing its tax exempt status in the 1970s because Bob Jones University not only refused to integrate, but actively forbade its students from dating Black people. In other words, the anti-trans rhetoric has little to do with the trans commuity or morality and everything to do with authoritarian control.

As Protect Democracy points out in their report entitled The Authoritarian Playbook: How reporters can contextualize and cover authoritarian threats as distinct from politics-as-usual, authoritarian regimes use what they call "salami tactics," to slice away at democracy one sliver at a time. "[M]odern authoritarians," the report notes, "cement themselves in power...incrementally and gradually." One of the main targets of authoritarians is to marginalize vulnerable communities. "Democracy in diverse societies depends on protecting the rights of minorities," including "groups who identify as different from traditionally dominant majoritarian groups along the lines of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity." Authoritarians attack these groups because they are vulnerable and it moves them closer to their goal of total control.

The current GOP used the Religious Right's anti-Black racism to invite them in as voters in 1980 to help Ronald Reagan, "a divorced former Hollywood actor who rarely attended church," to defeat Jimmy Carter, an Evangelical who Foreign Policy Magazine recently called "America's Evanglical-in-Chief," an Evangelical who taught Sunday School until recently, well into his 90s.* When open racism was no longer tolerated in the mainstream they moved to another issue, abortion. When the vast majority of Americans supported abortion rights, they attacked gay rights. When the majority of Americans favored gay rights they found a new place to slice away at freedoms and democracy, the trans community.

Though Substack likely doesn't think about the health of democarcy at all and is only trying to make money, I absolutely care about democracy and I certainly care about my trans and non-binary friends, family, fellow students and the community at large.

Hence, my move to a new platform.

It took a bit more time than I wanted but this is essentially a test to prove to myself the move was successful.

A gif of Amy Poehler saying "we'll see how it goes."

*The Reagan quote is from the epilogue of Kevin Kruse's study on Evangelicalism and corporate America, One Nation Under God. I recently finished the outstanding biography on Jimmy Carter called His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life by Jonathan Atler. I recommend it without reservation and enthusiastically. It is blunt, brutal in its criticism of both Carter and yet it rights the record on a presidency that might be one of the top ten best our country we've ever had. Even if Carter was ultimately not good at politics.