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Squires: Rainbow is the new black

Op-ed
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A recent Gallup poll revealed that 20% of Americans in Generation Z (born 1997-2003) identify as LGBT, double the rate of Millennials (born 1981-1996) and five times the rate of Gen X adults (born 1965-1980). This explosion of LGBTQIA+ identity in the next generation of voters is the primary reason the Democratic Party will continue to be much more vigorous in its focus on sexuality and gender identity than race as a strategy for mobilizing voters.

The left’s response to “anti-CRT” bills in state legislatures across the country was a handful of stories and opinion pieces about the danger of banning controversial ideas (e.g. white privilege) and teaching materials (e.g. 1619 Project). Those responses pale in comparison to the national outcry from politicians, journalists, pundits, entertainers, and corporations who objected to what they falsely describe as Florida’s “don’t say gay” bill that banned teaching young children about sexuality and gender identity.

That difference in scope and intensity of opposition reflects the left’s new priorities. Simply put, “rainbow” is the new black. This doesn’t mean Democrats no longer care about black voters. It means race issues will increasingly be viewed through the lens of sexual identity. This is why President Biden’s discussion of trans issues often includes a reference to violence against “transgender women of color and girls of color.”

The left has done the same thing over the past six years by framing abortion bans as attacks on the reproductive rights of black women. The beauty of this strategy for Democrats is that it allows them to advance all their policy priorities while championing their DIE (diversity, inclusion, and equity) agenda and remaining committed to their female voter base. This functions as a political “blackcine” they believe protects them from the ailment they fear most: accusations of racism.

For more than 60 years, black Americans have been some of the Democratic Party’s most reliable supporters. The party has gotten about 90% of the black vote in every presidential election since 2000 and has made explicit appeals to black voters through “race issues” like affirmative action, police reform, and public education funding.

Democrats also use the realities of racism in America’s past to garner support for their policy priorities today. This is how a voting law in Georgia that provides a longer early voting period than Massachusetts and Delaware ends up cast as “Jim Crow 2.0.” The party wants to leverage the legacy of the Civil Rights movement, but it has no interest in advocating the Christian values or supporting the types of black men who led the churches that were instrumental in agitating for social change.

Those men, who often held to biblical ethics regarding sex, sexuality, marriage, and family, have views that are no longer welcome in the Democratic mainstream. The types of men and ministers who are welcomed on the left today are people like Rev. William Barber and Senator Raphael Warnock. Both men draw on the cultural traditions and moral authority of the black church but abandon biblical truth about sexuality and the sanctity of life.

Barber and Warnock know that the days of “love the sin, hate the sinner” and “tolerance” are over. The left demands full affirmation of all things related to sexuality and gender identity. No group has been as instrumental in helping the left transition its identity politics focus from skin color to sexuality as Black Lives Matter (BLM). Two of the three co-founders – Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza – describe themselves as feminists and Marxists. They also explained how “queerness” was at the forefront of their movement — back in 2015.

While BLM came to global prominence after George Floyd was killed in 2020, the organization was clear about its priorities from its inception. Not a single one of BLM’s 13 guiding principles uses the words “police,” “brutality,” “man,” or “boy.” The only time the word “violence” is used is in relation to transgender women (i.e. men who identify as women).

By contrast, BLM had principles entitled “Queer Affirming” and “Trans Affirming” as well as ones describing its commitment to disrupting the nuclear family. This worldview is why the left criticizes a focus on fatherhood and the nuclear family, whether from President Obama in 2014 or Governor DeSantis in 2022, but defends Drag Queen Story Hour and doctors who want to sterilize and mutilate adolescents in the name of “gender-affirming care.”

In this way, BLM was the perfect Trojan horse and bridge from the politics of civil rights to the politics of sexual affirmation. Even though the group has been pushed from national prominence due to financial mismanagement, its contributions to the shift in the left’s political priorities will endure for the foreseeable future.

Changes in the culture are also under way. Like President Biden, publications like Essence and the Root are much more likely to run stories about violence against trans women than ones about black men, unless they involve white perpetrators. The reason, as is often the case on the left, is power dynamics. When one black man kills another, both are seen as victims of racism and poverty. But when a black man commits an act of violence against a trans woman, he is seen as helping to maintain the forces of male and “cisgender” privilege that keep both women and trans people oppressed.

This is why men like Dwyane Wade, the retired NBA champion, also play a critical role in the left’s identity politics transition. Wade’s public support of his son Zaya, who identifies as a transgender girl, has been instrumental in tenderizing his peers to accept the new rules of gender identity. Wade’s appearance on “Ellen” reached a mainstream audience, but his discussion with fellow professional athletes on “I Am Athlete” about how Zaya “educated” him on trans issues is what will change the hearts and minds of men who want to be less “toxic” LGBTQIA+ allies.

The political grounds are shifting, and everything we knew about traditional coalitions is changing. Big business is now in the pocket of Democrats, and an Amazon worker trying to start a new union appeared last week on Tucker Carlson’s show. Similar dynamics are at play with respect to identity politics. The black preachers who hold to biblical views about sex and gender identity should know that they will be cast out of prominent positions and demonized for their views by Democrats who want their vote but hate their values.

The left has moved from a desire to stop the criminalization of private sexual behavior to demanding it be unquestioningly affirmed publicly through law and social custom. They have succeeded in “queering” the country and forcing Christians to censor – or abandon – many of their most important beliefs. The only question is how long they will remain in the closet.

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