In this article, “(x)” is used to provide links to sources for and further reading related to preceding sentences.
When people of various European nations colonized huge chunks of the planet, part of the process involved replacing aspects of the cultures they conquered with aspects of their own. (x) In this process, genders and sexualities that did not fit into their beliefs were purged along with any religious or spiritual practices that could not be folded into the conquering nation’s Christian ideals. (You can read more about Christianity as a tool of colonialism here and here.)
Across the planet, people of various cultures have had more than two genders for a very long time, such as the Navajo, ancient Jewish societies, the Bugis of Indonesia, and many more. These were often erased by white colonialism, just as queerness was also vilified. After generations passed, cultures which once held space for various kinds of LGBTQIA people lost that capacity. India is a great example of this. Where they once had more than two genders and some branches of the Hindu religion celebrated same-sex love, it is now unsafe to be openly gay in much of the country and people who aren’t men or women are now highly stigmatized. The original law that criminalized same-sex action was put in place under British rule, which ended in 1947, but it wasn’t overturned until 2018 due to the lasting destructive impact of British colonialism on Indian culture. (x) You can watch a short interview with India’s openly gay prince from right before that decision here. Like India, many countries’ homophobic laws came directly from British rule. In fact, CNN says:
“Of the 71 countries around the world in which same-sex sexual relations are illegal, it’s no coincidence that more than half are former British colonies or protectorates, according to research provided by the International LGBTI Association.” (x)
Some cultures have retained their original concepts of gender and sexuality despite the erasure efforts of those inflicting genocide upon them. These cultures are still alive and well. Choosing to insist that the only genders which exist are those recognized by one’s own culture is thus an act of cultural supremacy, and one which feeds into the racist legacy of white colonialism. Transphobia and racism are inseparable in this way.