Featured image description: White text on a pink background saying the blogpost title of “Why the End of Bigoted “Checks and Balances” is Inevitable”. To the right is the blog name in purple text as well as the logo (a golden neurodiversity symbol on top of a black trans symbol).
CW for transphobia, brief examples of bigotry impacting many other minority groups (no detail)
I’m writing today’s post to talk about something important after recent news. Namely, around the concept of “checks and balances” which is one of the anti-trans dog whistles that was used by Liz Truss in her first Women’s Equality & Human Rights Committee meeting in April 2020. It was then reinforced in a leaked report in the June 14th, 2020 issue of the Sunday Times. The original quote from the meeting is as follows:
“…making sure that transgender adults are free to live their lives as they wish without fear of persecution, while maintaining the proper checks and balances in the system.”
The usage of “checks and balances” here underpins a lot of fundamental issues that are not just limited to transgender rights. Hence I’m going to explain why this impacts everybody and what to do about it.
It implies the myth that we aren’t all human or worthy of respect, despite the precise opposite being the case.
We are all human and broadly have similar desires and needs. We all desire a good quality of life in whatever forms that each of us wants. We all need access to the resources that will help us get to a good position that satisfies us. We all have human rights and dignity that we are entitled to – and deserve.
A lot of privileged people don’t realise this on a deep level about minority groups, mainly because they’ve been unknowingly conditioned to think that way. Whether it’s the erasure of British colonial history (leading to many denying the UK is racist) to transgender people labelled as predatory and dangerous by the media, the undertones of “us vs them,” “normal vs abnormal” and “familiar vs strange” exist. When if all of this is put aside, we are all human and possess much deeper commonalities then we think.
It implies that restrictions will be put in place, even if broader society denies this.
This is the result of the implications set above. The “checks and balances” reinforce people’s misguided perceptions of abnormality in minority groups. It is an approach intended to restrict freedom and encourage conformity, “checking” that people are adhering to their wishes while trying to “balance” the reaction to stop the masses realising it’s discrimination.
Of course, this does have consequences:
For trans people, it means having to convince cisgender people to agree with them that they are their gender (which is very dehumanising and is why the GRA and NHS trans pathways aren’t fit for purpose).
For disabled people, it means constant hostility from the state who run on the assumption that social security fraud is rampant and people must not cost the state anything, regardless of the outcome on disabled people.
For homeless people, it means having to continually to prove that they are “really homeless” and nobody else can help them due to artificially constrained supply of both housing and support for addressing issues.
These kind of issues apply to every minority in some form even if they aren’t directly targeted by certain “checks and balances” agendas (ie. Systematic racism, migrants from abroad). At the time of writing though, trans people are the target with the dogwhistle “checks and balances” to signify this.
The idea that “checks and balances” can be put in place to regulate minority groups for any length of time highlights one of the fundamental flaws with conservative ideology. Change is inevitable.
In the past, a lot of things Westerners take for granted today were not standard in the past and our ancestors had to fight for them. Examples include women being able to vote, decriminalising homosexuality and abolishing slavery. These weren’t given to us, we had to fight for them.
Conservatives are the gatekeepers of these rights and only because they have more influential power in the world, but are vulnerable when collective action is taken. Previous generations fought for change, and we got it – and this did include violence and riots.
Of course, the fight isn’t over. Voter suppression still happens, trans rights are under attack, and systematic racism is far and wide (hence the current Black Lives Matter movement). This is before mentioning how many rights Westerners have are non-existent in former European colonies to this day. This is due to said conservative colonialists forcing their “checks and balances” across the world.
We will win, but we have to work for it.
The status quo cannot be upheld forever. It is simply not possible. The “checks and balances” that are standard now to suppress minorities will destroy itself naturally as more people begin to understand that we are human. This includes many of those that initially enforced said “checks and balances” in the first place.
But that does mean we have to get political such as – sending letters to political figures, running campaigns, spread accurate information on and offline as well as taking to the streets and get allies on board. It will be worth the struggle.
P.S. If you enjoyed this post and have the financial means to do so, please consider sending a donation to me on my Ko-fi to help me stabilise my life and start my medical transition. If not, no worries. Thank you so much for reading!