Thursday, June 16, 2022

The 'Rainbow Scare' is a cruel falsepanic, and it is upon us

I share the term "Rainbow Scare" to focus our thinking.

From Allison Hope's opinion essay in CNN today: "Americans are facing a Rainbow Scare — and it may get worse before it gets better" (June 16, 2022)

We have entered the era of the Rainbow Scare.

The Rainbow Scare has haunting echoes of the Red Scare and related Lavender Scare (as historian David K. Johnson coined it) from the mid-20th century, when fears about the spread of communism during the Cold War emboldened Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin and others in the US government to persecute and ostracize people who were deemed to be "communist sympathizers," cavorting with the Soviet enemy. LGBTQ+ people were among them — fired from their jobs, forced to undergo psychiatric treatment and institutionalization, including electric shock treatment, and prosecuted as security threats to the nation.

This was the era when then-President Dwight Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10450, which helped fuel a national witch-hunt to purge queer Americans from the federal government. Around 5,000 federal agency employees lost their jobs on the basis of their sexual orientation. McCarthy and other leaders used LGBTQ+ people as a wedge issue and scare tactic to justify state-sponsored discrimination, just as right-wing leaders are trying to today.

The term "falsepanic" is mine, coined for the sake of this blog post's title. It's not a real, diagnosable anxiety. It's a falsehood. The people who express anxiety about queer/trans people may indeed feel some kind of fear, but they also likely know it's on a false basis.

For the past several days, I've been writing about this...

Anti-Trans Bills Encourage Far-Right Violence
That may be the intent. It sure looks like the outcome.
Jun 15 — 3 min read

Why is the Far-Right Ever More Intensely Anti-Trans?
Because they’re bored by finally winning against abortion rights
Jun 14 — 3 min read

How the Far-Right Comes for Trans People
Violent far-right U.S. groups are ‘hugely and deeply’ anti-transgender
Jun 13 — 4 min read

a young person, smiling
Image by Tammy McGary from Sulphur Springs, Texas © Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Wikimedia Commons.

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