… as anyone who’s watching US news closely should know. A Florida state rep recently filed a bill that could target LGBTQ+ content as “grooming,” reminding one of Russia’s various “gay propaganda” bills filed over the past ten years or so. This isn’t to let Russia off the hook, of course, but this is a worldwide problem led by coordinated “anti-gender” actors, mostly extreme-right politicians (e.g., Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orbán) and conservative Protestant, Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Christian groups, as well as their useful idiots: TERFs and members of centre-right parties like the British Conservatives. The anti-gender movement’s role is to enshrine rigid gender roles by pushing anti-LGBTQ+ policies, banning abortion, and encouraging women to stay home and have children.

According to Sonia Corrêa of CREA, a Global South–centric feminist NGO, the Vatican had a huge hand in establishing the anti-gender movement in the 1990s. Corrêa also goes on to say that the anti-gender movement is a reactionary backlash against the increased position of women and gender minorities in various societies. And in modern-day Europe, the biggest financial supporters of anti-gender political activism are European Catholic groups, US right-wing Christian organisations like the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Putin regime, and a few Russian oligarchs. The rise of Russian funding seems to be recent, but then again, Russia has redoubled its efforts to destabilise Western countries over the past decade.

TERFs are being taken for a ride by these fundamentalist nutjobs, but I don’t feel sympathy for any movement that is focused on restricting others’ rights. Also, the reactionaries behind the anti-gender movement know damn well what they’re doing. They want to disenfranchise women. It’s less about trans people on their own and more about their obsession with the patriarchy. TERFs’ “sex-based rights” bullshit is a one-way ticket to depriving women of the vote by claiming that it is men’s “sex-based right” to make political decisions and women’s “sex-based right” to be protected from predatory men by being excluded from the public sphere.

It is not just Russia and it will never be just Russia. Patriarchal oppression must be defeated, both there and everywhere else.