Following former president Donald Trump's CPAC speech, in which he continued to falsely claim the election was stolen, allege voter fraud, and tease a 2024 presidential run, conservative commentator Candace Owens entered the chat. Specifically, Owens praised Trump as a "feminist" on Twitter after he touted some wildly transphobic views about trans women being included in women's sports.
On Sunday, Trump gave a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he criticized Biden's decision to allow trans kids to participate in sports according to their gender identity. Trump claimed, falsely, that transgender women in sports were breaking records, and referred to them as "biological males." In response, Owens essentially called him a feminist hero (sure, Jan). “If you guys are wondering what actual feminism is, it’s Donald Trump having the courage to stand up on stage and call out the insanity of biological men dominating women’s sports,” Owens wrote. “He never kowtows to the Left. #CPAC2021 #CPAC.”
Owens was immediately the subject of serious backlash on Twitter, with users calling her a TERF well into Monday, when her name started trending. "I'd say your fear of trans people is much greater than your intellect, but we all know it's easy to find a bigger number than zero," one user wrote. "At almost every level of government over the past few weeks we have heard about the 'threat' of trans kids in sports. Let's talk about this because there is no threat and yet, we are about to see a massive expansion of privacy intrusions into and surveillance of kids' bodies," Chase Strangio, a lawyer for the ACLU, wrote.
Trump’s speech and Owens’ subsequent comments are responses to the recently passed Biden administration executive order titled “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.” On January 20, Biden’s first day in office, he signed the order declaring that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity were unconstitutional. The order notably states that “Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports.”
The order — though praised among many for being an inclusive step forward — has become an easy excuse for conservatives to spew hate. And, this isn’t the first time Owens has been openly transphobic and tried to mask it as standing up for women's rights. In February, she tweeted that transgender rights policies in the U.S. were “trampling over” the rights of women. In the past, she's also stood her ground on the false claim that only women can give birth, spoken out against trans soldiers serving in the U.S. Army, and called the work of trans activists the work of Satan and “confusing” to children. Most notably, Owens rebuked Harry Styles' Vogue cover, where he was photographed wearing a dress, saying, "bring back our manly men."
In reality, there’s no evidence of transgender children harming the upbringing of cisgender children, including in school sports. With nearly 2% of kids identifying as trans as of 2019, the conversation surrounding gender identity and children is becoming a more common one, thanks to the help of organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and PFLAG.
But given that ignorance is rampant in the Republican party, it's no surprise Trump would latch onto this Biden order — and even less of a surprise that a noted TERF like Candace Owens would praise him for it.