by Roy Mathews
The Stonewall Riots of 1969 saw New York City police officers lose control of their attempt to shut down the mafia-run Stonewall Inn, inadvertently ushering in an era of gay actvisim. Today, those early leaders of the gay rights movement might be better off leaving street activism to the next generation, but Fred Sargeant must have missed that memo.
Last month, Sergeant was assaulted at a pride march by radical trans activists and sent to the ER. His thought crime was simply holding a sign that read, “gay, not queer,”and criticizing the march’s sponsor for claiming that the word gay, “erased the breadth of sexual orientations and gender identities within the LGBTQ+ umbrella.” Sargeant’s “outdated” views got him on the receiving end of the trans mob’s wrath.
Sargeant must think he’s living in a 21st-century “Twilight Zone.” This time it’s not police batons raining down on him, but the fists and lattes of queer actvists and men presenting as females. Sergeant’s beating exposes a fatal flaw within the current transgender movement: It’s focus is on forcing Americans to accept their range of identities or face consequences. Such extortion will only alienate Americans.
From normalization to forcing acknowledgement
The goal of gay rights activism has evolved over time from normalizing same-sex attraction, to emphasizing a person’s right to love whom they choose, to championing an individual’s right to build their own reality and force others to conform to it. This emphatic shift must befuddle Sargeant. After all, the credit for normalizing gay relationships was not won by openly flaunting sexuality in public, but by showing how much in common gay Americans had with straight Americans. Folks that were gay worked 9-5 jobs, had dinner with their families, and had hobbies like everyone else.
These personal relationships formed the foundational support for gay acceptance. After all, every single person can relate to feelings of attraction. Now, the argument for trans acceptance deals with the internal and ethereal feelings of someone’s personal consciousness. The need to appeal to commonalities between people has been replaced with an identitarian movement fundamentally opposed to any sort of commonality at all. One need look no further than the plethora of different so-called “neo-pronouns,” as individuals try to out-do one another in their quest to distinguish themselves from their peers.
Old activists like Fred Sargeant are akin to Leon Trotsky, the communist revolutionary who was cast out of his own party, exiled, and eventually killed on order from Joseph Stalin, whose own ideology had superseded the “elitism” and “factionalism” of Trotskyism.
Casting out Sargent akin to Sovietesque revisionism
Sargent’s enduring a similar fate. His assaulter’s ageist remarks indicate they believe transgenderism is an improvement upon the gay rights movement which Sargeant merely founded.
It’s not the first time the transgender movement’s enmity against gay-rights supporters has smacked of a Soviet coup. J.K. Rowling’s cancellation by the transgender movement evokes the memory of Sergei Kirov, an Old Bolshevik and personal friend of Stalin whose assassination kicked off the first “Great Purge.” Kirov’s status as a pre-revolutionary Bolshevik granted him huge sway in the Communist Party, similarly to Rowling’s prestige as an author gave her untold influence on my younger generation.
The rush to remove the old guard of activists like Fred Sargeant and Rowling would make Stalinists red with envy.
The revisionism and bastardization of the gay rights movement is plain in its ever-changing acronym: LGBTQIA2s+, as of this writing. Old activists like Fred Sargeant took great personal risk to accomplish what they did. For him to be beaten, cast aside, and denied that he ever played a role in the gay rights movement smacks of Sovietesque revisionism. Forcing acceptance onto vast swathes of people is exactly what the USSR attempted to do with its history of 1956 Hungary. Calling a popular uprising a fascist counter-revolution only served to help topple Soviet Hungary as photos and memories of the revolution helped keep history alive and expose the authorities as frauds.
The memory of the 1956 Revolution’s leader Imre Nagy was so powerful that when Soviet Hungarian authorities reburied him in 1989, the Hungarian people rose up in defiance of their government. The same will happen to the transgender movement if the excommunication and suppression of people like Fred Sargeant continues.
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Roy Mathews is a writer for RealClearHistory.
Photo “Protest for Trans Rights” by Ted Eytan. CC BY-SA 2.0.