IT’S a rather peculiar thing, to hear a call for your own eradication and the thunderous applause that followed, and to feel almost nothing in response.

That absence certainly isn’t borne from a lack of belief in the political will to carry out such a threat. The tranche of bills making their way through the American political system that target LGBTQ+ people currently is ample evidence of the desire and means to see through such horrors.

No, rather than evoke any feeling of justifiable dread, the call from Michael Knowles at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in the US this weekend instead coldly filed itself away alongside any number of similar attacks on transgender people from our own press; an index of political rhetoric that in normal times would never be tolerated. But when the Daily Mail is churning out 115 articles about transgender people a month, as they did in January of this year alone, it’s clear that we are not living in normal times.

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This isn’t even the first incidence of Knowles using genocidal language in describing how he would deal with “the transgender issue”. Ahead of attending CPAC, the Daily Wire host had already called for a ban on the existence of trans people, justifying his rhetoric by claiming that this could not be considered a form of genocide as, in his eyes, transgender people are not really who they say they are – and you cannot commit genocide on something that does not exist.

Cut now to Britain’s gender critical movement, clutching their battered copies of Janice Raymond’s “Transexual Empire”, and furiously shooing away any outrageous connection to the words of far-right extremists like Knowles – despite welcoming them to their rallies on more than one occasion.

On a fundamental level, I believe that many anti-trans activists do not view themselves as being politically aligned with men like Knowles.

But what, I ask, is the material difference in the world that Knowles advocates for – where transgender women and men are denied autonomy, recognition and access to safe spaces – and the world that gender critical activists want?

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This eliminationist rhetoric, that seeks to encourage or justify the removal and eradication of a particular group of people or individuals from society, is just the loudest part of a conversation that has infected Scotland and the rest of the UK for years now. And perhaps the reason that Knowles’ belief that “for the good of society … transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely” doesn’t inspire the outrage that those words should press deep into my chest is simply that I’ve heard it so many times before already – and much closer to home.

Last year Helen Joyce and Helen Staniland, both darlings of the gender critical movement, shared a near verbatim dialogue during an online discussion, where Joyce spoke of the need to reduce and keep down the number of people who transition, framing the existence of trans people living in the UK as a “huge problem to a sane world”; a problem that apparently needs solving by removing bodily autonomy for transgender people.

The National: Trans rights campaigners

Likewise, the so-called Declaration on Women’s Sex Based Rights – effectively a pledge in favour of removing the civil rights of transgender people to exist in public – was signed by many leading figures and politicians from Britain’s anti-trans movement.

Personally, I’ve received direct messages telling me that I, and other trans people, should be wiped out in a holocaust.

These calls exist against a backdrop of relentless mischaracterisation of transgender people as a threat; a recent example being of a Conservative councillor given unquestioned media coverage over an incident in a London pub bathroom, where she alleged that a trans women told her she would wipe her hands on her penis after discovering that the hand dryers were broken. After the fact, the trans woman in question revealed she had in fact said she would wipe her hands on her jeans – something that would have been patently obvious to anyone who wasn’t desperate to paint transgender people as a threat to others. No retraction has been published since.

Suffice to say, the eliminationist rhetoric on display in America this past week is old news to the United Kingdom; as common to the gender critical community as their boundless capacity for picturing the genitals of total strangers in their vicinity. And the consequences of reducing an entire protected characteristic to the realm of non-people, as Knowles and his supporters are wont to do, are all too present in our lives.

The Scottish Family Party, a right-wing organisation that would have likely remained in regressive obscurity if not for the burgeoning gender critical movement, have announced plans to brick shut the Sandyford Clinic in Glasgow this coming weekend. A counter protest has already been organised to protect the clinic, which provides access to healthcare for transgender people across much of Scotland.

The bitter irony of it is that blocking access to the Sandyford would make little impact to the lives of Scotland’s transgender population. Underfunded and backlogged as the clinic is, the glacial pace with which it is currently dealing with referrals would suggest that someone who joined the waiting list today will be twiddling their thumbs for 57 years before even getting their first appointment.

Such is the state of healthcare for trans people in Scotland, under the eyes of a movement that would rather we didn’t exist in the first place. And yet, we do.