Blatant Queerphobia at CPAC

By Sandhya Maddali

Last week, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was held in Orlando, Florida. The three-day convention featured a slew of speakers, many of whom have very anti-LGBTQ+ histories, and they doubled down on homophobia in their speeches.

Ted Cruz, who has previously voiced his support for a ban on same-sex marriage, opened his speech with a series of jokes that were tone-deaf, transphobic, and simply failed to garner laughs from his audience. He started off with an energetic quip that Orlando was great but “not as nice as Cancun,” which is a reference to his recent family vacation to Cancun during the wake of Winter Storm Uri, which, at its peak, left millions of his constituents without power and/or running water

Later in his speech Cruz says “You know in 2020, the New York Times reported that 60% of women named Karen voted for Joe Biden… And I’m willing to bet 80% of the men named Karen voted for Joe Biden.” The blatantly transphobic joke was received with laughs and applause. His full speech can be viewed here. 

To finish off the convention, Former President Trump took the stage. Mr. Trump, whose administration implemented policies that damaged the LGBTQ+ community in a variety of ways, made a series of both transphobic and misogynistic comments in regards to women’s sports when he took the stage.

Trump began the tirade by saying that “every ounce is like a big deal for many years,” exposing  his misguided perception that women weight-lifters are unable to lift heavy weights . He continues to say that “young girls and women are incensed that they are now being forced to compete against those who are ‘biological males.’” The usage of the phrase ‘biological male’ in reference to women is extremely transphobic, yet unfortunately very common among conservative politicians. Trump continues to engage in baseless fear-mongering, finally contending that the “integrity of women’s sports” must be saved. His full speech can be viewed here.

The violently transphobic comments made by both Trump and Cruz simply reaffirm the party’s disregard and hatred for trans people, one of the most marginalized groups in the world. Barriers to health, housing, and resource access continue to negatively impact the trans community, but there is still so much work being done to ensure that their rights and livelihoods are protected. In wake of the queerphobic comments and speech spread at CPAC, it’s more important than ever to show your support for the trans community.

If you personally would like to help out, here are some GoFundMes to support trans individuals!

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