Republicans target transgender people at annual conservative gathering


Speakers at the Conservative Political Action Conference advocated for bans on gender-affirming care and the eradication of 'transgenderism.'

Transgender activists are condemning transphobic rhetoric repeated by speaker after speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference, held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, this weekend.

Conservative politicians and anti-trans activists called for everything from banning gender-affirming care to the eradication of "transgenderism" at the four-day conference.

Former President Donald Trump received loud applause during his nearly two-hour-long speech as he promised anti-transgender measures if he is elected president again. Trump also promoted his 2019 ban on transgender people serving in the military.

"I will revoke every Biden policy promoting the chemical castration and sexual mutilization [sic] of our youth," Trump said. "And ask Congress to send me a bill prohibiting child sexual mutilation in all 50 states. That should be easy. And we will keep men out of women's sports. How ridiculous."

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) announced in her speech that she's reintroducing a bill to criminalize gender-affirming health care. Other speakers mocked transgender activists and accused them of trying to "eradicate" women.

On a panel about transgender girls and women in sports, right-wing activist Terry Schilling, a leader of the GOP effort to pass anti-transgender legislation, intentionally misgendered transgender women activists Ari Drennen and Erin Reed, calling them "males, but they try and, you know, do women face."

The panel featured former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, who has become an anti-transgender activist after losing a race to transgender athlete Lia Thomas. Gaines told Schilling that transgender activists are trying to "eradicate women."

On a later panel titled "Sacking the Woke Playbook," according to website, Sen. TommyTuberville (R-AL) accused the "far left ... crazies" of "coming after family. They want to divide family. They don’t want any gender. They want one gender. They want to attack everything we’ve done over the years and go by their ideology."

Right-wing political commentator Michael Knowles went even further, telling his audience:

There can be no middle way in dealing with transgenderism. It is all or nothing. … If transgenderism is false, as it is — if men really can't become women, as they cannot — then it's false for everybody too. And if it's false, then we should not indulge it, especially since that indulgence requires taking away the rights and customs of so many people. If it is false, then for the good of society, and especially for the good of the poor people who've fallen prey to this confusion, transgenderism must be "eradicated from public life entirely — the whole preposterous ideology, at every level.

Transgender activist Reed responded in a tweet to Knowles' remarks, "If there is a single good thing to come of Knowles and Walsh going mask off on the desire for the eradication of 'transgenderism,' it is the mainline attention that this video is getting in [people] usually silent about transgender issues calling this what it is: genocidal."

Knowles pushed back against criticism of his speech and tweeted an image of a Rolling Stone article on his speech with the claim, "This headline is libelous, and I demand a retraction.", He claimed that eradicating "transgenderism" does not mean getting rid of trans people.

However, transgender activists and Democratic lawmakers met his comments with skepticism and anger.

"If Knowles had said, 'For the good of society... Judaism must be eradicated from public life,' and then followed it up with, 'I just meant Judaism, not Jews', I don't think the ADL would respond with, 'Oh, well, nevermind in that case. Carry on!'" transgender activist and author Brynn Tannehill tweeted. "It means what you think it means."

"This is sick and this is dangerous," Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) tweeted Monday morning. "And this is not merely the fringe of the GOP; this was at CPAC and was greeted with applause from gathered Republican Party activists. Anyone who knows their history knows what comes next if we fail to face down this hate now."

"Trans rights are human rights. This hateful, dangerous rhetoric coming out of CPAC will only serve to validate violence against trans and gender non-conforming people," Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) tweeted. "We must continue to call out transphobia wherever we see it — lives are at stake."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.