Here’s a secret. Most trans activism today isn’t really activism. It’s trolling. Political activists, especially in human rights, try to build awareness of a neglected cause and bring about systemic change. This would logically mean that the work of trans activists was done a while ago. Americans couldn’t possibly be any more aware of their cause than we already are. It’s omnipresent—framing as many news stories as possible, written into the shows and movies we watch, and hawked by influential people at every level of the establishment, including the president. Far from being neglected, trans Americans have been extravagantly celebrated.
As for change, trans activists already achieved a tectonic shift in the popular understanding of sex and gender, affecting a change so massive as to override the institutional acceptance of biological reality. Biological male athletes have been shellacking female competitors for years now. And the country’s leading medical organizations have all thrown in their support for so-called gender-affirming care of trans youths, with Boston Children’s Hospital at one point claiming that babies can accurately determine that their sex and gender are mismatched.
What’s left for an activist to do?
Well, gloat. Get in everyone’s face—even those who sympathize with you—and rub their noses in your triumph. So that’s what popular trans activists have been up to for a while—trolling. It’s what, for example, Dylan Mulvaney does, caricaturing feminine sensibilities and behaviors with the delicacy of a wigged wrecking ball. It’s what other TikTok influencers do when they rattle on about spreading the good word of transgender ideology in kids’ classrooms. It’s already in kids’ classrooms, and they know it. They just want to remind you.
Trolling is a strange approach to activism. Its purpose is to elicit rage, not sympathy. And that’s what it’s done. Predictably, Americans are now losing patience with these sore winners. The majority of the country opposes biological males competing in sports with biological females, and most believe that gender is determined by biology, not choice. The trans movement will reckon with its self-inflicted loss in due time.
But the commercial interests that embraced the trans-activist craze are dealing with problems on a more immediate schedule. Companies that aligned with what they thought was a branch of human-rights activism are beginning to realize that they saddled themselves not with beloved brand ambassadors but with spokestrolls: people they’ve paid to irritate their own customers. NBC News reports that shares in Anheuser-Busch InBev have dropped more than 10 percent since Bud Light partnered with Mulvaney in a PR campaign in early April, and “sales of Bud Light continue to plummet.” The two executives behind the disastrous campaign were put on leave a month ago.
Recently, Target pulled some items from its Pride collection after people objected to what looked like trans-friendly swimwear for children (reportedly, it’s trans-friendly swimwear for adults) and apparel designed by a brand that employs satanic imagery.
The big story here concerns the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team originally planned to honor an organization called Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on June 16 at Dodger Stadium’s LGBTQ+ Pride Night. The Sisters are drag queens who wear nuns’ habits, give themselves obscene mock-clerical names, and spread the message of “go and sin some more.” In other words, they’re not only trolls: They really are activists—anti-Catholic activists. After an initial backlash, the Dodgers announced they would no longer be honoring the group. But then they reversed course, apologized for their moment of conscience, and announced that they would give the Sisters the “Community Hero Award” after all.
We’ll see how that goes. Given the Bud Light fiasco, the Target retreat, and the shifting attitudes of the country, the age of the corporate trans troll looks to be over before playoffs. And as it becomes ever clearer that conservatives are on the right side of this battle, it would be behoove them not to gloat about it. That’s how you lose.