How Antisemitism Is Linked to Anti-Trans Conspiracy Theories

At its core, transphobia is a conspiracy theory—and so is antisemitism.

Illustration of a flyer that says
Anti-trans activists are using antisemitic conspiracy theories to discriminate against trans folks. Rewire News Group illustration

White supremacist movements are rising worldwide, and they come with heightened bigotry against many groups. While full of hatred, white supremacy also thrives on fear about birth rates of white people and the weakening or “pollution” of the white race. This concern is one reason that white supremacy isn’t just about race, it also manifests itself through bigotry against gay and trans people who are cast as sexual deviants polluting the white race and eschewing their duty to continue natural white reproduction.

This narrative fuels the “great replacement” theory, which is a conspiracy that Jewish people are trying to lower the birth rate of white people so Black and other nonwhite groups can take over and usher in the extinction of the white race. While this may seem convoluted to those of us who aren’t bigoted transphobes, linking antisemitism and transphobia unfortunately makes perfect sense to those who are.

At its core, transphobia is a conspiracy theory—and so is antisemitism. Both Jews and trans people make up a miniscule number of the population but constitute an outsized threat in the minds of white Christians. Non-Jewish white people are convinced Jews are making white people trans to lower the white birth rate. Obviously, we know trans people can easily have children, but transphobes and antisemites aren’t big on accurate science.

Those who know very little about the process of gender reassignment, or trans people in general, connect taking hormones and gender reassignment surgery to preventing trans people from reproducing. These people claim Jewish doctors are pushing “gender ideology” as a plot by the ​​“transgender-industrial complex” to encourage white people to be trans and lower the white birth rate. Antisemitic flyers blaming six Jewish individuals for the “rise in transgenderism” have been distributed in Atlanta. Elon Musk is so concerned with birth rates and a supposed population crisis that he reportedly donated $10 million to fertility research and links his concerns about fertility to other far right causes, like eradicating abortion care and transphobia. Musk has also been accused of allowing antisemitism to spread on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter and for sharing antisemitic posts himself.

We Jews (and trans people) really just want the rest of you to leave us alone. Stop trying to enforce white, Christian gender norms on the rest of us.

Antisemitic propaganda sees Jews as sexual deviants intent on corrupting and stealing white Christian children. “Blood libel,” the idea that Jews needed the blood of Christian children for sacrifice, is an antisemitic conspiracy that has justified Jewish persecution since the Middle Ages. Today, this idea is repeated particularly in the accusations about gender reassignment and “genital mutilation” being performed on children by Jewish doctors.

Any supposed sexual deviancy or “abnormal” gender presentation must be policed and controlled because white supremacy depends on high white birth rates and children raised according to white, Christian, cis-het values. This motivation is what led Nazis to target trans and gay people in 1930s Germany and during the Holocaust. One of the first targets of Nazi violence was the first trans clinic and LGBTQ+ institute in the world led by a gay, Jewish doctor named Magnus Hirschfeld. Later, gay and trans people were often targeted and put in camps by Nazis as threats to the perfection of the Aryan race.

Anti-trans activists claim their ire is specifically concerned with protecting women’s safety—to be clear, trans people are absolutely not actually a threat to women’s safety—but more and more people are being targeted if they don’t conform to traditional gender presentation. Fear of trans people and a desire to enforce traditional gender roles leads transphobes to fear anyone who isn’t clearly overly feminine might be trans. In June, a 9-year-old was yelled at and accused of being trans during a track meet simply because she had short hair. Cis women are often harassed going into bathrooms if they look androgynous. These attacks are about enforcing white supremacist gender norms and policing any gender expression that exists outside those norms. This particular motivation is very close to the Nazi targeting of gay and trans people as part of their attempt at rooting out any “pollution” of the perfect Aryan race.

One of the most insidious and dangerous examples of fearmongering misinformation about trans people is the accusation that they are pedophile “groomers.” While this accusation is mostly reserved for trans people and drag queens these days, it has historically been applied to all LGBTQ+ people. Accusations of pedophilia have also been made generally against liberals and against Jews specifically in what amounts to another modern twisting of the “blood libel” conspiracy theory. The “blood libel” accusations justified untold violence and pogroms against Jews well into the 20th century. The “groomer” accusations are being used to justify horrible anti trans laws and will unfortunately likely lead to violence against trans people as well.

While the ludicrous Tennessee anti-drag law was ruled unconstitutional in June, it was justified on the pretense that children had to be protected from “groomers.” Ironically, one of the online influencers most responsible for this particular “grooming” accusation against LGBTQ+ people, Libs of TikTok, is run by a Jewish woman. She might not recognize the parallels to antisemitism, but most Jews do. A recent survey showed Jews were one of the religious groups most supportive of transgender people.

This month marks the fifth anniversary of the Tree of Life shooting that killed 11 Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018. The “great replacement” theory was cited as a motivating factor for that shooter, as well as for the gunmen in El Paso, Texas, who killed 23 people in 2019; and in Buffalo, New York, where a shooter killed ten Black people in 2022. In August, the Tree of Life shooter was sentenced to death.

We are also seeing an extreme rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia worldwide at the moment in response to the war in Israel and Gaza. Transphobia, homophobia, and Islamophobia are being weaponized: Israeli propaganda is justifying their campaign against Palestinians by pointing to homophobia in Gaza. Bizarrely, far-right transphobes in the United States are doing the opposite and aligning groups fighting for trans rights with those supporting Palestinian liberation, obviously arguing that both are bad. Gay groups against trans people are twisting themselves into pretzels to say that trans solidarity with Palestinians is an attack on gay people. None of these people care about Jews, or gay people, or trans people.

Trans people existing will not do anything to shatter your white, Christian, heteronormative life. They are not making cis women unsafe, and they are not grooming children. Jewish people are also not encouraging people to be trans to further try to destroy your white, Christian, cishet norms.

We Jews (and trans people) really just want the rest of you to leave us alone. Stop trying to enforce white, Christian gender norms on the rest of us. But even if you don’t stop, know that Jews are still not behind some conspiracy theory to make everyone in the United States trans to usher in a white genocide. Your Leave It to Beaver lives are safe, but if we don’t combat anti-trans propaganda and antisemitism immediately, Jews and trans people will continue to be in serious danger.