Fascism and the Trans Villain: Historically Recurring Transphobia in Far-Right Politics

  • Penelope Higgins


This article builds a base of historical and theoretical context to understand the resurgence of transphobic propaganda and violence led by the American far-right through an examination of the connections between trans politics and global political economies of capitalism. Through a synthesis of established theories of fascism, a historical analysis of fascism, and a case study of propagandistic transphobia in two American films from the height of the Cold War, I argue that the proliferation of contemporary anti-trans sentiment reflects the state of crisis that the American empire is experiencing as domestic and international resistance threatens its global hegemony. Further I argue that a historical and theoretical examination of fascism and trans issues show the capacity for fascistic anti-trans violence not as a departure from the norm of liberal democratic nation-state systems that developed through the processes of capital, but rather as a constitutive part of that norm. Trans historians must mobilize historical knowledge and practice to disseminate public facing works that furnish a wide base of readers with the tools to understand and contextualize contemporary trans panic as it metastasizes.