How Transphobia Leads to Fascism

Below is a link to my recent interview by Patrick Farnsworth on the Last Born in the Wilderness podcast, in which we discuss my article, “Jumping the Gap: Where Green Transphobia Leads”.

Patrick’s introduction is worth the price of admission (ok, it’s free–but you know what I mean). He manages to say in 350 words what it took me 6,500 to say. I’ve printed a transcript of the introduction (with minor edits) below.

John Halstead’s article uses the ideological trajectory of Paul Kingsnorth, co-founder of the dark mountain project and a fierce critic of Big Green environmentalism, to examine trans-exclusionary politics and rhetoric and certain leftist eco-activist movements and spaces. John has remarked that Kingsnorth was an “intellectual idol” of his, helping him form many of his own ideas about humanity’s severed relationship with the Earth, with poignant ruminations on the roots of anthropogenic climate change, the dead end of techno-optimism, and industrial civilization’s inevitable collapse.

But as Halstead began to more closely examine Kingsnorth writings since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, he, like many others who admired Kingsnorth’s perspective, was disturbed by his so-called “benevolent green nationalism” and openly derisive characterizations of “wokeness” and trans identity. Transphobia is not new in green and anti-civ discourse with one of the most long standing and persistent examples being the stated positions of Deep Green Resistance and its founders. Citing this and an essay written by Kingsnorth in 2022 as potent examples, Halstead picks apart the tropes used to dismiss and deride acceptance of trans people and identity as “delusional”, “deviant”, “unnatural”, and “ideological” and a nefarious and insidious “agenda” that wishes to undermine the safety and well being of children. Logical fallacies and ethical issues abound in Kingsnorth essay, in particular, as John illustrates.

Considering the political moment that we are in, especially here in the United States, as Republican-held state legislatures around the country pass and enact openly anti-LGBTQ+ laws that directly target and prohibit trans people’s existence and care, speaking up against pernicious transphobic rhetoric is as crucial as it has ever been. As the living systems of the planet buckle under the demands of industrial capitalism’s final phase, a full-throated fascism coheres around culture war anxieties and proposes genocidal exterminationist solutions. Anti-trans rhetoric and legislation is part of this trajectory. As John has stated to me, how we collapse is of utmost importance in this time–not by dehumanizing people we may not fully understand but by embracing people’s full humanity, building community, and dismantling oppressive hierarchies.

Published by John Halstead

John Halstead is the author of *Another End of the World is Possible*, in which he explores what it would really mean for our relationship with the natural world if we were to admit that we are doomed. John is a native of the southern Laurentian bioregion and lives in Northwest Indiana, near Chicago. He is a co-founder of 350 Indiana-Calumet, which worked to organize resistance to the fossil fuel industry in the Region. John was the principal facilitator of “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment.” He strives to live up to the challenge posed by the Statement through his writing and activism. John has written for numerous online platforms, including Patheos, Huffington Post,, and Gods & Radicals. He is Editor-at-Large of John also facilitates climate grief support groups climate grief support groups affiliated with the Good Grief Network.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: