An Interpretation of Christian Nationalist Opposition to the Trans and Gender Nonconforming Community
Keywords:Transgender, Christian Nationalism, Religion and Politics, American Religion
This essay utilizes a theory of social embodiment as an analytical frame for the consideration of contemporary Christian nationalists’ near obsession with criminalizing trans and gender nonconforming (TGNC) embodiment and denying fundamental legal protections to TGNC individuals. It first presents a brief overview of Christian nationalism, understood as an expression of populist and nationalist identity, and Christian nationalists’ anti-TGNC efforts. Utilizing a constructive theoretical account of the metaphor of society as a kind of body, the paper goes on to argue that Christian nationalism takes shape as the expression of a desire for the imposition and maintenance of a very particular social and political order, grounded in the social body’s imagined normative shape or morphology. Within this theoretical frame, the essay argues that, in trans and gender nonconforming individuals, Christian nationalists are confronted with queer forms of embodiment that fundamentally undermine the imagined normative or “natural” embodiment, both individual and social, around which their social and political identity has taken shape. Considered from this theoretical perspective, Christian nationalist efforts aimed at criminalizing trans and gender nonconforming embodiment and denying the rights of trans and gender nonconforming individuals represent visceral, dysphoric responses toward individuals whose presence disfigures or transmogrifies the social body.
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