CW: The reader is cautioned that this article includes antisemitic, racist, homophobic, and anti-trans themes and mentions of our known enemy of intelligence, Tucker Carlson.
Tucker Carlson recently called trans people the “natural enemy” of Christians, and even though his transphobic take is disgusting, hateful, and (not surprisingly) wrong, I actually half-way agree with him. Trans people aren’t the “natural enemy” of anyone, but the white Christians who watch Tucker Carlson on Fox News are the natural enemies of the entire trans community. They’re the enemy of every minority in the United States, and every marginalized people within its population.
Tucker Carlson’s Rhetoric Is Dangerous To Trans People
All white Christians benefit from white supremacy. Being a Christian is itself a status and social currency, even as it’s an important and powerful belief. And many of us white folks probably have emotional ties to people who are, actually, radicalized Christian nationalists.
White Christians who watch Fox News and people who carefully tiptoe around them certainly aren’t helping me. The fight for my human rights in Ohio as an openly nonbinary, trans witch is changing daily. And I’m impacted by this man’s rhetoric just as I am the legislation reflecting it. Repeated messaging in media emboldens already angry and racist viewers to enact violence against the targets of these talking points.
To understand just how dangerous this rhetoric is, we have to zoom out in time: and we have to talk about Harvey Milk and Christian Identity.
Harvey and Tucker
Harvey Milk, the child of Jewish immigrants who was the first openly gay man elected to public office, was assassinated by Dan White in 1978. Like Tucker, Harvey was a charismatic speaker winning over crowds, and someone who others would listen to.
Unlike Harvey, who boisterously presented himself, forward-facing, to the world of politics, Tucker Carlson was born to privileges of class, religion, and wealth. Leading him finally to the-almost-Ivy-League-Trinity College, where Tucker used his hatred of Harvey to be encased forever in a yearbook.
It doesn’t matter whether Trinity College has or had such a club, mind you. What matters most here is what is.
While Harvey Milk joined the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, Tucker Carlson used family ties and nepotism to begin a career largely spurned by the Heritage Foundation.
Facing incredible systemic prejudices his entire life because of his homosexuality, including his discharge from the Navy, his marrying a lesbian friend to appear straight, and fighting for the right for gay, consensual, sex, Harvey Milk once said: “I finally reached the point where I knew I had to become involved or shut up.”
Now I might be the last person in the United States to look up Tucker, but it seems that he does have quite a history of making “the most racist show in the history of cable news,” so I find his focus on Harvey Milk alarming.
I have this theory that some white people, intentionally or not, ascribe to the Christian Identity ideology. This current clip of Tucker is really incredible at illustrating it, too.
Christian Identity is the antisemitic belief that all “true Jews” are Anglo-Saxons now living in the U.S. and that white Americans are God’s chosen people. War leading up to Jesus’s return, and living through these “Times of Tribulation” are a core belief.
“Race mixing,” Judaism, Catholicism, and homosexuality are on par with bestiality and punishable by death. Distrust in science, public education, medicine, are all core beliefs. Offshoots of the supposedly low-numbered subscribers to CI include prison gangs like the Aryan Brotherhood.
Anti-Trans Legislation, Tucker Carlson, and the Civil War That Isn’t
Listen, it’s really difficult for me to focus on which material to write about because there is. So. Much. Material. Every time I turn around, Republicans at the Ohio Statehouse chip a bit of human dignity away from whole swaths of the population at a time…which brings me back to why I zoomed in on Tucker’s little yearbook photo and Harvey Milk.
The antisemitic, racist, misogynistic, transmisogynistic undertones centering white, Christian comfort has got to stop.
Christian Identity or no, Tucker, the politicians who love him, and Donald Trump are potential dangers. As are their followers, ever emboldened, white supremacists armed to the teeth walking around residential neighborhoods.
These people don’t exist in a vacuum. The same people who discount their “crazy dad” for watching nothing but Fox News is directly a danger to me as far as I’m concerned: because it is inherently dangerous to me personally to be around people who see me as less than human.
Donald Trump became the living, breathing, 3D, human equivalent to white nationalist ideology. Since his election, white Christian nationalism has only increased. Hate crimes have increased. Cops murdering Black people has increased. Less human rights exist for women and gender non-conforming people right now than was imaginable just a few years ago.
What Do I Do, Then?
IDENTIFY AND OWN YOUR PRIVILEGES. Check me out: does this article speak to my feeling comfy as a white person raised as a Christian who is supposed to be a working professional? No. I don’t mind telling you writing this causes me a lot of anxiety. I do this because I have the privilege to at this time. Your privileges might be different, but we all have them, so make a list. This can get you started to give you a framework to start from.
Stop letting racist, prejudiced, statements and behavior go by unchecked. Make it as uncomfortable as possible, as safely as possible, when this happens online or in person, at work, or at grandma’s house.
You’re an amazing person. Celebrate this by making sure that you won’t allow this energy into your life: make it clear to loved ones, colleagues, friends that you are here for human rights. Not to network, put someone else’s feelings about you in front, or anything else.
Be humble. Listen to Black and Indigenous leaders and seasoned organizers if in these circles. Center being a better advocate for human rights; not white, Christian comfort.
If reading any of this pings for you, you’re not alone. Which brings me to the point I began with: I accept more than I agree with what Tucker’s saying. He’s telling me he’s my enemy. I believe him.
“Burst down those closet doors, and start to fight!”–Harvey Milk May 22, 1930-November 27, 1978