‘Paranoia’: Transgender Gun Community Features Fears Of ‘Genocide’, Mental Illness


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Laurel Duggan Social Issues and Culture Reporter
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Transgender gun owners, some of whom have armed themselves out of fear of a “genocide” of transgender people, have flocked to the 5,600-member r/transguns subreddit forum, sharing photos of themselves with rifles and tactical gear and discussing plans to defend themselves from “transphobia,” according to a Daily Caller News Foundation review of top posts and comments.

R/transguns users widely believe that transgender people are at a heightened risk of violent persecution and must be armed to defend themselves, according to the subreddit’s top posts. Their beliefs echo the rhetoric of trans activists, who frequently suggest transgender people are the victims of widespread violent persecution and are assaulted and killed because of their gender identity.

Some users even imagine scenarios in which their community is the target of organized political violence such as “genocide,” and strategize ways to engage in combat.

“If conflict has started, then evacuation is 10x more difficult, ask the victims of the Rwandan genocide,” one user commented in a thread about a potential conflict breaking out in the U.S. over the transgender issue. “Become a deterrent and get training on medical first aid knowledge as well as real firearms training, not just a conceal carry class but actually tactical training.”

One user was considering bringing a gun to an LGBT Pride event, citing fears of violence against transgender people.

“I’m very concerned about safety given what’s been going on in the news. I’m second-guessing going at all, but I’m trying not to let the fascists scare me into staying home,” the user wrote.

In one r/transguns thread, users discussed whether and how to “evacuate” in case of a “conflict” or an attempt to “eradicate transgenders.”

“With how easy it is for bad actors to access firearms here in Texas … as well as the mounting increases in violence against us, I’m finally at a point where I’m considering my options for self defense,” another user wrote in a post about concealed carry options.

In 2021, two people were killed in anti-transgender hate crimes, compared to three who were killed based on their racial or ethnic identity and one who was killed for being gay, according to the FBI. There were 385 total instances of hate crimes against transgender and gender nonconforming individuals in 2021, compared to 7,736 incidents on the basis or race, 1,690 on the basis of religion and 1,929 on the basis of sexual orientation.

“The entire movement is steeped in paranoia and a sense of persecution,” Joseph Burgo, psychotherapist and vice director of Genspect, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The argument for trans rights begins with a belief that trans people are a persecuted minority needing protection. Anyone who disagrees with the gender ideology driving the movement (‘trans women are women’)  is denounced as a transphobe – someone who fears or hates trans people. State laws banning cross-sex hormones and surgery for minor children are framed as attempts to erase trans people from the face of the earth.”

“One useful approach to understanding this phenomenon is to look at how cults promote an us-vs-them sense of persecution in order to reinforce identification with the group,” he said. “Likewise, trans rights activism highlights supposed persecution by ‘transphobes’ in order to rally adherents everywhere to the cause.”

The narrative of transgender persecution has become increasingly popular and mainstream in recent years, with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claiming transgender people were “under attack” following the recent mass shooting at a Christian school by a transgender individual and transgender activists widely claiming their lives were in danger following the attack. Mainstream media outlets have portrayed bans on child sex change procedures as “anti-trans,” and numerous Democratic politicians have characterized these efforts as anti-trans attacks.

Some r/transguns users have voiced concerns that, while they want to arm themselves, they’re hesitant due to their mental health problems. (RELATED: ‘Transmaxxing’: Meet The Online Community Encouraging Gender Transitions For Sexually Frustrated Men)

“I’m a [male to female] trans woman who recently went to a firing range and got interested in firearms and the movement to make sure persecuted minorities are armed if they want to take on that responsibility,” one user wrote. “I would like to own one, and right now (and for the last 3-4 years) my depression has been well managed. My suicidal ideation is not gone, but it has been reduced to passing, non serious thoughts. I cannot guarantee I’ll be that way forever, though.”

Protect Trans Youth
by u/SadWatchman in transguns

“I worry about having a bad mental health turn while in possession of a firearm. I’m not a danger to others, I never have homicidal ideation, but I have been a danger to myself in the past. If I had a firearm back then, I would not be alive to be making this post,” the user wrote.

Several users commented that they had experienced the same dilemma, with some advising the original poster to avoid buying a gun altogether, and others recommending getting a gun safe or having designated friends agree to take any guns away from the user if his mental health begins to decline again. Another user mentioned mental health concerns in a post asking about acquiring a weapon in the U.K., where guns are very tightly restricted.

“I am also diagnosed with depression and have had suicidal intentions in the past but as of recently they have become more infrequent,” the post read.

Burgo said the defensive characteristics associated with transgender activism remind him of narcissistic and borderline personality disorders, in which an idealized and false self-image serves to ward off feelings of inferiority.

“In my view, trans identification embodies a similar personality structure that wards off and conceals many forms of mental illness,” he said. “In other words, trans identity embodies a self-concept that is defensive in nature. Those who question the trans narrative are felt to challenge this false self-image, threatening exposure to the dreaded sense of defect and damage behind it. On a visceral level, this psychological challenge is felt as an existential threat, hence the paranoia and the rising calls to violence in the cause of ‘self-defense.’”

Peaceful, not harmless
by u/BundlePanicWoody in transguns

Two particularly popular posts emerged in response to the killing of three children and three adults at a Nashville Christian school by a shooter who was transgender. Much like the White House and transgender activists generally, r/transguns users expressed that the killings would inspire anti-trans backlash.

Ha ha ha, big gun go brrrrr
by u/SubstantialRisk1222 in transguns

“It is absolutely a tragedy, what’s happened in TN. I know that no one here feels otherwise,” one post read. “It is possible to feel for the families of the victims and also feel your own feelings. Your fear, anger, indignation, sadness, is just as valid to feel. Scream, cry, punch a pillow, go to the range, whatever you need to do, you deserve to do it.”

“Under no pretext should arms or ammunition be surrendered,” another post read. “Any attempt to disarm our community must be frustrated. If they come after our guns, we will defend our equality. If fascists don’t like that outcome, they can simply cease their campaign of fascism against us. They can simply end their stupid fucking culture war and let us live our quiet lives in peace.”

Some users share graphics about being armed and transgender, such as an illustration of a rifle over a transgender flag background which reads “armed minorities are harder to eradicate,” which was the top post this month, or an illustration of a transgender flag waving from a rifle labelled “Armed and Heavily Queer.”

Online communities like those found on Reddit and other social media websites play a major role in both influencing the rhetoric of transgender activists and inspiring people to come out as transgender, experts say.

The r/transmaxxing subreddit encourages men who are socially unsuccessful to transition to female in order to improve their sex lives, access a new dating pool and escape the perceived hardships of being a man. TikTok is flooded with content encouraging young people to transition to the opposite sex; influencers attribute common teenage woes such as body discomfort and social awkwardness to gender incongruity and assure adolescents that these problems will go away if they transition.

R/transguns moderators declined to comment for this story.

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