Michael Knowles of the Daily Wire sparked alarm on Saturday with his anti-trans rhetoric during his speech at CPAC.
“If [transgenderism] is false, then for the good of society, transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely – the whole preposterous ideology,” he said.
John Knefel of Media Matters called it “eliminationist, genocidal rhetoric”.
Christopher Mathias of HuffPost said it was “a straight-up eliminationist anti-trans tirade”.
Adam Vary of Variety urged people to “pay attention. This is genocidal. That is not hyperbole or alarmist; this rhetoric is calling for the eradication of a group of people for who they are”.
“‘Transgenderism’ is people. He’s talking about eradicating people. When newspapers print scare stories about kids transitioning too early, when podcast hosts whine about girls’ sports, when politicians snark about the definition of ‘woman,’ this is what they’re talking around,” Raphael Bob-Waksberg said.
“It would be great if non-trans people would start paying attention to this, because the quiet part is getting shouted at this point,” Jaclyn Moore added. “If only there was a word for when they want to ‘eradicate’ a kind of people. A word trans people have said these people were talking about but people called us hyperbolic. Hmmm I guess my vocabulary just isn’t good enough.”
Writer Parker Molloy said, “hey, this is really scary s***, and I wish that the a***holes who keep insisting that there aren’t major legislative attacks on trans people of all ages happening right now ... would stop lying about that. Things are getting very bad”.
“The GOP could not be more clear about their intentions: they want to eradicate trans people. They are saying this out loud,” Charlotte Clymer said.
Mr Knowles has said in the past that his rhetoric isn’t genocidal because he doesn’t believe trans people exist, Jezebel noted.
“There can’t be a genocide,” he said on his programme last week, adding that “it’s not a legitimate category of being. They’re labouring under a delusion. And so we need to correct that delusion”.
Mr Knowles was far from alone in his remarks about trans people at CPAC, during which many speakers and panellists have used the issue to whip up their base.
Florida GOP Representative Matt Gaetz joked that President Joe Biden spent “four or five days asking the Chinese spy balloon what pronouns it uses before we shot it down”.
Former Trump advisor Sebastian Gorka ranted about “mutilating boys and girls” and “sacrificing them on the altar of their transgender insanity”.
Outside of CPAC, former Vice President Mike Pence baselessly claimed that Iowa school nurses have to get permission from parents to provide aspirin but can simply hand out “gender transition plans” to students without any checks, according to Heartland Signal.
Right-wing activist Candace Owens said on 2 March that “there is no middle ground on transgenderism” and that “if you don’t have the courage to say what needs to be said, we truly don’t need you”.
Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene told CPAC attendees that she’s planning putting forward a bill called the Protect Children’s Innocence Act that would criminalise doing “anything to do with gender-affirming care” for minors.
If you are based in the US and seek LGBT+ affirming mental health support, resources are available from Trans Lifeline (877-565-8860) and the LGBT Hotline (888-843-4564), as well as The Trevor Project (866-488-7386 or text START to 678-678).
This article was amended on March 6 2023. The headline previously said that Mr Knowles called for trans people to be ‘eradicated’ but he did not, he called for transgenderism to be eradicated.
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