The “Inconvenient Truth”

Trans Reality, Trans Danger, Trans Destruction

Tom Sebacher
3 min readSep 1, 2023
Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Unsplash

We could, for example, talk about non-discrimination in housing and employment, or how to argue against the kind of bad-faith trans health care restrictions that have made life difficult for even consenting adults in several states across America. Strategy talk like this is important, because it is ultimately what will get the necessary reforms done to make the everyday lives of trans people better. I was involved in the campaign for gay marriage, and there was a lot of strategy talk there. We wouldn’t have won without it. The current situation, where critical anarchists keep trying to silence and smear those who want to talk practical strategy, will only end up harming trans people, by allowing authoritarian reactionaries the opportunity to enact anti-trans legislation that will be difficult to reverse.

— TaraElla, “Trans Activists Reject Inconvenient Truth Again

To approach the matter of “Truth,” TaraElla makes several highly suspicious generalizations. To get to the bottom of the matter, we have several points of contention with TaraElla, whose general demeanor indicates she does not understand the cultural mechanics at work in the transgender debate. The first of these disputes is the conflation of “cancel culture” and “the left.”

First, we need to throw out nonsense terms: “cancel culture,” “cultural anarchists,” and “the left.” All of these are used without recognition of their specific political and cultural meanings and origins. Cancel culture originates, as we might note from Nancy Fraser’s writings, from the neoliberal progressivism of the late 20th century. This is a centrist political philosophy, rather than a “leftist” one.

“Cancel Culture” also has nothing to do with anarchism, which is the belief in an absence of social hierarchies and authorities. Having the authority to “cancel” someone socially is fundamentally opposed to anarchist philosophy. Anarchists are also not “left” by their general nature; both right-wing and left-wing anarchist philosophies exist. The main difference is the level of “naturalness” in the social structures formed in the absence of state authority.

The term “cultural anarchism” has no meaning. TaraElla invented this in order to distinguish between two different types of centrist philosophy, which in itself makes no sense. This and the other two terms are non-descriptive and have no practical meaning aside from distracting from what TaraElla considers “illegitimate” strategies.

As a communist, I know what the left is. In fact it has nothing to do with the so-called “cancel culture” or “culture wars.” Communists recognize both of these as meaningless disputes within the dominant capitalist culture. At the same time, transgender liberation cannot occur through half-steps and “legitimate” means.

Our forebears have graciously given us their legacies after being beaten, raped, burned, castrated, and murdered. To pretend as though this process was a “peaceful” or “reforming” one is to negate the revolutionary potential of transgender politics. Trans liberation is not and never has been a moderate proposition. We are radicals, regardless of what TaraElla understands that word to mean.

Our first radical step is to perform a re-evaluation of the failures of earlier activism. I and other trans historians have already done this, and we have found that the changes were not radical enough. The mistake was to build an organization only to achieve the most modest, moderate proposals of the queer rights movement. After this was done, the whole movement essentially ended.

The truly revolutionary stage of queer activism ended with the deaths of Marsha Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, and with their deaths, the movement became out-of-touch by advocating for meaningless reforms such as gay marriage. The idea that trans activists are “out of touch” is not a new one. But the anti-left and anti-communist tendencies of the liberal queer rights movement was what fundamentally separated it from Rivera and Johnson’s activism. The problem has been liberalism, centrism, and reaction.

Our solution is communism, radicalism, and pro-action.

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Tom Sebacher

Genderfluid BA in Philosophy, BS in History, masters student at Southeast Missouri State. I write about philosophy, history, and politics.