In America’s summer of discontent, a transgender doctor becomes a flashpoint

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08/02/2020

In Johannesburg, three decades ago, the homophobes were out in force: bible-thumpers trying to save our souls; right-wingers with their AWB swastikas. Last week, too, there were missionaries galore, with bibles and salvation brochures; giant pickup trucks, with gun racks and Trump 2020 signs, revving their engines at us, and in some cases shouting ‘queer!’ and ‘faggot! What a blistering summer this is turning out to be for the United States. It is not just the literal heat, unprecedented here in my adoptive home of Pennsylvania. Patients are running fevers, too. Like South Africa, the US is a world leader in uncontrolled coronavirus spread, at around 18 new cases per day, per 100,000 residents: the comparable figure for Greece is only 0.3. Meanwhile, again like in South Africa, the threadbare social safety net is fraying. One out of every five working-age adults is about to run out of federal unemployment insurance and faces eviction before Christmas.

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