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Daily Wire: “Transgender people is not a real ontological category”

Michael Knowles: “Transgenderism, ultimately, is a lie. It’s a deception. It’s a fraud. Fraud is not protected by the First Amendment”



Michael Knowles (Screenshot/YouTube Media Matters)

By Media Media Matters Staff | WASHINGTON – Daily Wire host Michael Knowles told his audience on his Tuesday show that “there can’t be a genocide” of trans people, reasoning: “Transgenderism, ultimately, is a lie. It’s a deception. It’s a fraud. Fraud is not protected by the First Amendment. Fraud is not a category protected by the principles of free speech. You have no right to fraud.”

From the February 28, 2023, edition of The Daily Wire’s The Michael Knowles Show:


MICHAEL KNOWLES (HOST): This transgender issue, it’s all anybody wants to talk about. In fact, I got in trouble for this issue yesterday. I, your beloved host, whom everybody loves so, I got in trouble for this issue. It was my publicists over at Media Matters, they were working overtime yesterday, publishing multiple articles about the allegedly egregious things I was saying on this show — which I always encourage. I just retweet them when they put those articles out because those articles and videos tend to be the highlights from my show. So I thank them for going through, clipping it out, making it look really nice, and then they put it out into the world.

The big issue that they had yesterday, which was then picked up in other media outlets as well, is that I called to ban transgenderism entirely. I made the point that if you want if women to have their own bathrooms, if you think women ought to be able to have their own locker rooms and not have to look at gigantic gross men while little girls are getting changed, if you want any of those things, you have to ban transgenderism entirely. It’s not enough to say, well, you have to wait until you’re 12 or whatever people are saying now. It has to be the whole thing because if men have the right to behave as women and identify as women for the purposes of public life, then women can’t have their own spaces and we as a society cannot have our own standards and norms and we’re not allowed to live according to reality. We have to live according to the delusions of these troubled people. And I think we, the people, have a right to reality. And I think women have a right to their own spaces. And so, that means you’ve got to ban the thing entirely.

And, oh, my goodness, what these people say. They said that I was calling for the extermination of transgender people. They said I was calling for a genocide against – I said, what? I must have missed that part of my show. When did I -– did I say that? I don’t – one, I don’t know how you could have a genocide of transgender people because genocide refers to genes, it refers to genetics, it refers to biology. And the whole point of transgenderism is that it has nothing to do with biology. That’s what the transgender activists say. They say, forget about biological sex. My gender expression doesn’t have to have anything to do with my biological sex. Okay, well, then there can’t be a genocide. It refers to genetics.

But furthermore, nobody’s calling to exterminate anybody because the other problem with that statement is that transgender people is not a real ontological category. It’s not a legitimate category of being. There are people who think that they’re the wrong sex, but they’re mistaken. They’re laboring under a delusion. And so we need to correct that delusion.

People said, well, what does it mean to ban transgenderism entirely? Well, it means that we return to the way that American society operated until approximately five minutes ago when we said that men do not have a right to present themselves as women in public life, and women don’t have a right to present themselves as men in public life. You have some limits on that. We have all sorts of limits on our speech and behavior. 

And transgenderism, ultimately, is a lie. It’s a deception. It’s a fraud. Fraud is not protected by the First Amendment. Fraud is not a category protected by the principles of free speech. You have no right to fraud. So if you’re a man and you dress up like a woman and you rename yourself Sally, you have no right to go to the gym and go into the women’s locker room and say, no, I’m really a woman. That’s a fraud. And you have no right to that.

So, banning transgenderism, what that would mean is telling people who are a little confused that they need to get psychological help, that they probably need to get a little bit of spiritual help and they need to be normal. Be normal. That’s my — I think that’s my main political message these days.


The preceding article was previously published by Media Matters for America and is republished by permission.



HRC: 50% of American trans youth will face barriers to healthcare

The organization’s finding comes as 10 states are on the verge of enacting healthcare bans for youth diagnosed with gender dysphoria



Trans advocate Landon Richie (podium) & LGBTQ+ activists gather for Trans youth rights rally at the Texas Capitol Building in Austin, March 22, 2023 (Photo by Chris Barry courtesy Landon Richie)

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign reported Wednesday that more than half of America’s transgender youth are facing or will soon face barriers to access guideline-directed gender affirming healthcare.

The organization’s finding comes as more than 10 states are on the verge of enacting healthcare bans for youth diagnosed with gender dysphoria, in some cases criminalizing physicians and parents for facilitating access to these healthcare interventions for young patients.

HRC’s press release announcing the data noted gender affirming care is supported by medical organizations with relevant scientific and clinical expertise, groups with a combined 1.3 million member physicians and whose guidelines on treatment for minors are backed by decades of research.

Eight states have now enacted laws banning gender affirming care (Ala., Ariz., Ark., Iowa, Miss., S.D., Tenn., and Utah), while three have passed bans (Ga., Ky., and W.Va.) and six have advanced bans through one of the two chambers of their respective legislatures (Idaho, Ind., Kan., Mont., N.D., and Okla.), according to HRC.

The organization noted that Florida effectuated a ban through its Board of Medicine while Texas passed a law last year that deputizes the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services “to investigate the provision or support of gender affirming care by parents, doctors, or others, as child abuse.”

“LGBTQ+ people are living in a state of emergency,” HRC Senior Vice President Jay Brown said in the press release. “Today’s findings illustrate how the ongoing assault against transgender people is taking hold across the country and underscore how dire the situation is growing for our community by the day. “

“Now more than ever, we must fight back against extremism and hold anti-LGBTQ+ politicians accountable for bullying children and terrorizing our families,” Brown said.

In states where bans have taken effect, for some minors who are currently receiving gender affirming care, such as those for whom traveling out of state to retain access to that care is prohibitively expensive or difficult, the law will effectively and forcibly de-transition them.

Because it significantly reduces the likelihood of self harm behaviors and suicide, gender affirming care is in many cases life saving. A study last year by the National Institutes of Health found a link between anti-trans legislation and “suicide- and depression-related Internet searches.”

HRC reports more than 180 bills targeting the trans and nonbinary community have been introduced so far in 2023, of which more than 100 are healthcare bans for trans youth.

The White House has repeatedly spoken out against many of these bills and laws. During a press briefing Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre condemned Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s proposal to expand the state’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law such that it would prohibit any discussion or classroom instruction of sexual orientation or gender identity in public school classrooms from kindergarten through grade 12.

During a briefing on March 10, Jean-Pierre discussed another Florida bill that proposes to “give the state the right to remove kids from their parents just because that kid is transgender.

And just think about that. Just think about a kid who is sitting at home in this community who is listening and hearing elected officials talking about how they want to take away their rights or how they want to even threaten their parents with felony charges for seeking healthcare for their children,” said the Press Secretary.

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Facts trump Shapiro’s social contagion theory of trans identity

Shapiro’s most absurd claim with regard to social contagion is that there are almost no trans youth in conservative areas



Graphic by Andrea Austria for Media Matters

By Vesper Henry | WASHINGTON – The Daily Wire’s Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro has long feigned the status of a “conservative intellectual.” His catchphrase, “facts don’t care about your feelings,” remains pinned on top of his Twitter page in a seven-year-old tweet.

With such a reputation, it would be expected he might adjust his preconceived notions (his “Bayesian priors,” if you will) as more facts come to light, but Shapiro’s breathless repetition of a now-debunked theory about trans youth shows that’s not the case.

Known as “rapid onset gender dysphoria,” this social contagion theory insists that young trans people are being peer pressured or influenced by social media to transition. It also contends that people assigned female at birth are transitioning at higher rates to escape the societal pressures of womanhood. The theory all hinges on 2018 data collected by former Brown University physician Lisa Littman from the parents of trans youth who were involved in anti-trans or trans-skeptical forums and organizations. 

The concept of “rapid onset gender dysphoria” was popularized by Abigail Shrier’s book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters. In 2020, Shrier appeared on Ben Shapiro’s show to defend the book after Target temporarily pulled it from the shelves for its anti-trans rhetoric.

The idea of social contagion was quickly rebuked by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, the American Psychological Association, and numerous medical organizations. Within seven months, Brown University retracted its press release and republished the study with several corrections. 

Above all, the corrections emphasized that “rapid onset gender dysphoria” is not an official mental health diagnosis and it “should be used cautiously by clinicians and parents to describe youth” and “not be used in a way to imply that it explains the experiences of all gender dysphoric youth.”

In August 2022, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a study disproving the social contagion theory. Using the 2017 and 2019 findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System survey, the paper demonstrates that there is not a significant gender disparity between trans youth. Another study published in the Journal of Pediatrics by Canada-based Trans Youth Can! similarly disproved the theory, concluding that “recent gender knowledge” (as opposed to a longterm understanding of gender identity) was not affected by support from trans friends, online friends, or parents.

Despite the available scientific evidence, Shapiro has continued pushing the social contagion theory with fervor. A March 7 tweet mocked a family with LGBTQ children and called it “a peculiar genetic bottleneck,” sarcastically declaring that it “can’t have anything to do with the environment. All pure biology, obviously.”

On February 24, Shapiro used results from a recent Gallup poll to insinuate social contagion, based on the large difference in those identifying as LGBTQ between Generation Z and the Silent Generation. He denied it could have anything to do with a change in social acceptance.

From the February 24, 2023, edition of The Ben Shapiro Show, hosted by The Daily Wire:

Shapiro also failed to take into consideration the devastating toll of the AIDS crisis of the ’80s and ’90s, which disproportionately impacted the LGBTQ community. Thousands died because of a stunted government response, as it was believed the disease “might be God’s punishment for immoral sexual behavior.” Some of its youngest survivors would be in their 50s by now.

In early February, Shapiro linked “extraordinarily socially contagious rates of trans and queer identification” to “skyrocketing rates of mental illness” and claimed that President Joe Biden would have to answer for both in the 2024 presidential cycle.

In the same episode of his self-titled show, Shapiro diagnosed parents of trans children with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. Also known as Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another, it is a form of mental illness and child abuse where a child’s caregiver projects an illness onto the child who doesn’t actually have it. In Shapiro’s words, the parents are “transing their own kids.”

From the February 10, 2023 edition of The Ben Shapiro Show, hosted by The Daily Wire:

This false diagnosis is another common quip of Shapiro’s. In a March episode during which he again attacked the same family with multiple LGBTQ kids, he accused the parents of trans youth of “screw[ing] your kid beyond all recognition for life.”

Shapiro’s most absurd claim with regard to social contagion is that there are almost no trans youth in conservative areas and an abundance in more liberal areas. Drawing this notion from Bill Maher, he very prominently espoused this idea and his other beliefs on social contagion in early November 2022 at a Young America’s Foundation event at Texas A&M University.

Fighting the transgressives | Ben Shapiro LIVE at Texas A&M University:

Shapiro insists that social and environmental decisions make a difference with regard to a child identifying as trans, but then denies that the rate of suicidal ideation among trans youth could be related to cultural intolerance. Ample evidence exists to refute him.

He feverishly reiterated his stance that trans youth only exist in progressive areas in January, claiming that many top-level Democrats, Hollywood stars, and “the elites in ‘blue society’” have trans children. In the same episode, he claimed the trans population “is now increasing at tens of thousands of percent in certain centers of our nation’s population.”

From the January 24, 2023 edition of The Ben Shapiro Show, hosted by The Daily Wire:

According to the UCLA Williams Institute, the estimated population of trans youth doubled from 2017 to 2022, while the population of trans adults remained consistent. While in October 2022 news outlets fearmongered a nearly 600% increase in nonbinary students in two years at one Maryland school system, they overall accounted for less than 300 students in a student body of nearly 160,000.

But in this and many other things, the facts don’t care about Shapiro’s feelings. In 2017, West Virginia had the highest population of trans youth per capita, despite NBC calling it the “reddest” state the year before. In 2022, researchers at West Virginia University found that 7% of young people in rural Appalachia did not identify fully with their gender assigned at birth.

Looking at the nation as a whole, a 2022 survey by the UCLA Williams Institute did not find major disparities in the trans population in youths aged 13-17 by region: 1.82% of youth identified as transgender in the Northeast, followed by 1.62% of youth in the West, and the South and the Midwest were nearly tied with 1.25% and 1.24% of youth identifying as transgender, respectively.

Only four states (New York, New Mexico, Maryland, and Hawaii) and Washington, D.C., had more than 2% of the youth population identifying as transgender, capping at 3% percent in the state of New York.


Vesper joined Media Matters for America in October 2022 as a researcher for the LGBTQ Program. They received a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in political science from the University of Georgia.

They have bylines in The Red & Black and DEI organization Awesomely Authentic’s blog, as well as previous research experience with the Democratic Governors Association.


The preceding article was previously published by Media Matters for America and is republished with permission.

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Daily Wire: Millions of Facebook interactions with anti-trans content

This latest analysis found that The Daily Wire’s network of Facebook pages has earned over 17 million interactions



Graphic by Molly Butler for Media Matters

By Kayla Gogarty | WASHINGTON – A Media Matters analysis found that The Daily Wire ’s network of Facebook pages has earned over 17 million interactions from nearly 13,000 posts with transgender-related keywords — many of which amplified attacks on trans athletes, criticism of gender-affirming care, and praise for government officials restricting trans rights.

These anti-trans posts come amid a long history of Facebook giving the right-wing outlet special treatment to earn high engagement and allowing it to flout platform policies.

Jump to section…

  • Social media companies have struggled to prevent anti-LGBTQ hate on their platforms as right-wing media have ramped up harmful rhetoric against the LGBTQ community. Meta — the parent company of Facebook and Instagram — has also profited from this rhetoric, earning tens of thousands of dollars in revenue on ads with the anti-LGBTQ “groomer” slur, which perpetuates the myth that LGBTQ people put children in danger, and at least $5.7 million on over 550 anti-trans ads from right-wing media outlet The Daily Wire.
  • On March 4, The Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles claimed during a speech at the 2023 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that “transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely.” (Knowles doubled down on his call to “eradicate transgenderism” in a March 15 column published by The Daily Wire.) These anti-trans comments follow The Daily Wire’s history of pushing anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, including on social media platforms — where companies like Meta have given the right-wing media outlet and its personalities special treatment and allowed it to flout platform policies.
  • Using CrowdTangle, Media Matters compiled and analyzed transgender-related posts from The Daily Wire’s network of 19 Facebook pages between January 1, 2021, and March 13, 2023. We found that during this time frame, these pages posted about the transgender community at least 12,940 times, earning over 17.1 million interactions on these posts.
  • More than 93% of these interactions — over 16 million — were earned on the more than 5,800 posts from the leading accounts associated with the outlet: Ben Shapiro, Michael Knowles, Matt Walsh, and The Daily Wire itself. Notably, nearly 15% of The Daily Wire’s anti-trans content on Facebook was posted in just two months last year. Over 1,050 such posts — or over 8% — were made in March 2022, when right-wing media promoted Florida’s anti-LGBTQ “Parental Rights in Education” bill, which was signed into law at the end of the month and banned discussion of sexuality or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.
  • An additional 760 of them — or nearly 6% — were posted in June 2022, when Walsh released his anti-trans film What is a Woman?The transgender-related posts with the most interactions from The Daily Wire’s pages and the articles most frequently shared in the network’s transgender-related posts illuminate the anti-trans narratives being amplified by The Daily Wire — attacks on transgender athletes, criticism of gender-affirming care, and praise for government officials restricting transgender rights and care.
  • Anti-trans articles shared most frequently by The Daily Wire’s network of Facebook pages
  • The network posted a Daily Wire article that amplified anti-trans comments from Brittany Aldean, the wife of country music star Jason Aldean, at least 38 times, earning over 46,000 total interactions. The article repeatedly highlighted her comments comparing gender-affirming care to “the genital mutilation of children” and calling it “one of the worst evils.”
  • The network posted a Daily Wire opinion article attacking transgender activist Jazz Jennings at least 37 times. The article deadnamed Jennings and mocked her experience, calling it a “troubling story.”
  • The network posted a Daily Wire article that amplified a “British women’s rights campaigner” who confronted a transgender woman at the NCAA women’s championships, where a transgender athlete was competing. The network posted the article at least 35 times, earning over 43,000 total interactions. 
  • The Daily Wire’s Facebook pages posted another article that pushed outrage about a transgender woman who took first place in a women’s skateboarding competition. The article was posted by the network of pages at least 34 times, earning over 65,000 interactions.
  • The network posted another Daily Wire article about transgender athletes at least 33 times, earning over 151,000 interactions on the posts. The article, which focused on a transgender cyclist who was banned from competing in a women’s championship race, deadnamed multiple transgender athletes.
  • The network of pages posted an article — at least 32 times — that amplified an individual’s experience detransitioning, which is a rare occurrence.
  • The network posted an article that amplified Daily Wire personality Candace Owens’ attacks on Ulta for supporting transgender actress and influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The article was posted by the pages at least 32 times, earning nearly 65,000 interactions
  • The pages shared a Daily Wire article titled “Why Civilization Depends On The Strength Of Men” at least 30 times. The misogynistic article starts, “If we have anything for which to thank the utterly mad ‘transgender’ movement, it is that it has laid bare, for all to see, the relative weakness of the female body by comparison with the male.”
  • The network posted another anti-trans Daily Wire article at least 30 times. The article amplified anti-trans content from Libs of TikTok, a Twitter account with 2 million followers that constantly demeans, attacks, and pushes disinformation about the LGBTQ community.
  • The pages also posted a Daily Wire article about Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee calling for an investigation in reaction to Daily Wire personality Matt Walsh claiming that Vanderbilt University Medical Center “drugs, chemically castrates, and performs double mastectomies on minors.” The article was posted by the pages at least 30 times, earning over 11,000 interactions on the posts.
  • Anti-trans posts from The Daily Wire’s network of Facebook pages that earned the most interactions
  • Ben Shapiro: over 212,000 interactionsBen Shapiro_facebook post_20210211 
  • Ben Shapiro: over 208,000 interactionsBen Shapiro_facebook post_20210503
  • Daily Wire: over 163,000 interactionsDaily Wire_facebook post_20220404
  • Ben Shapiro: over 160,000 interactionsBen Shapiro_facebook post_20210125
  • Ben Shapiro: over 143,000 interactionsBen Shapiro_facebook post_20210304
  • Ben Shapiro: nearly 140,000 interactionsBen Shapiro_facebook post_20210124
  • Ben Shapiro: nearly 128,000 interactionsBen Shapiro_facebook post_20210502
  • Ben Shapiro: over 126,000 interactions and 41 million viewsBen Shapiro_facebook video_20210221
  • Candace Owens: over 121,000 interactions and 1.1 million views Candace Owens_facebook video_20210814
  • Ben Shapiro: over 119,000 interactionsBen Shapiro_facebook post_20220303
  • Methodology
  • Using CrowdTangle, Media Matters compiled all posts for Facebook pages affiliated with The Daily Wire that were posted between January 1, 2021, and March 13, 2023, and included transgender-related keywords. We reviewed data for these posts, including total interactions (reactions, comments, and shares).
  • We defined posts as containing transgender-related keywords if they had any of the following terms in the message or in the included link, article headline, or article description: “trans kid,” “trans kids,” “trans child,” “trans children,” “trans boy,” “trans boys,” “trans girl,” “trans girls,” “trans man,” “trans men,” “trans woman,” “trans women,” “trans female,” “trans male,” “transgender,” “transgenders,” “transgenderism,” “gender transition,” “gender identity,” “biological male,” “biological man,” “biological woman,” “biological boy,” “biological girl,” “biological female,” “women’s sports,” “girls’ sports,” “biological women,” “biological men,” “puberty blockers,” “chemical castration,” “irreversible procedures,” “irreversible surgery,” “irreversible surgeries,” “detransition,” “detransitioner,” “gender reassignment,” “hormone replacement,” “sex change,” or “sex reassignment.”
  • The following 19 Facebook pages are associated with The Daily Wire: Ben Shapiro, Daily Wire, Michael Knowles, Matt Walsh, Andrew Klavan, Candace Owens, Donald Trump is My President, Pro-America News, The Angry Patriot, Conservative News, Fed-Up Americans, Restless Patriot, The Real Patriots, The United Patriots, The Conservative, The Right News, Boycott, Don’t Mess With America, and Lady Patriots.


    The preceding article was previously published by Media Matters for America and is republished by permission.

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    Apple & Google not enforcing terms of service: anti-trans hate flows 

    Several popular Daily Wire podcasts that regularly promote harm against transgender people remain available in app stores



    Graphic by Andrea Austria for Media Matters

    By Alyssa Tirrell & Ari Drennen | WASHINGTON – At the Conservative Political Action Conference, Daily Wire host Michael Knowles stated that “transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely.” 

    His sentiments were echoed on the CPAC stage by another Daily Wire host, Candace Owens, who claimed that “there is no middle ground on transgenderism,” and applauded on Twitter by Daily Wire host Matt Walsh, who urged for “transgenderism” to be “destroyed completely.” 

    While this level of violent rhetoric may have surprised the mainstream media, it’s fully representative of the content available to consumers of Daily Wire podcasts, available through the DailyWire+ app on both Apple and Google, despite terms of service that appear to ban targeted hate against marginalized groups.

    The Daily Wire’s bigotry against LGBTQ people ranges from episodes that sport anti-LGBTQ slurs in their titles to editor emeritus Ben Shapiro’s continued attacks on gay marriage. As recently as in late February, several Daily Wire podcast hosts, including Walsh, Knowles, Owens, and Jake Crain, have encouraged violence against trans people, claimed that violence against trans people is inevitable, or urged the eradication of transgender people from public life. 

    In September of 2018, Apple removed Infowars, the podcast hosted by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, from its platform for violating terms of service. The move spurred other tech companies to do the same, and severely limited the reach of Jones’ harmful rhetoric — rhetoric which also cost him a defamation suit and his financial solvency. In spite of this precedent, and repeated violations of Apple and Google terms of service, Daily Wire podcasts remain accessible through the Apple App StoreApple TVGoogle Play, and through Google TV via Chromecast.  

    The Matt Walsh Show

    Last month, Walsh attacked trans TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney, telling her, “You are weird and artificial, you are manufactured and lifeless, you are unearthly and eerie.” In response to backlash, Walsh doubled down on his extreme anti-trans sentiments, stating that he would “rather be dead” than have a trans child. He added: 

    MATT WALSH: When it comes to my children, the children that I cherish more than my own life, if you think mean words go too far, then you would be very shocked to hear how far I would really go to protect them. Trust me, words are the least of it. So, yes, my words reflect anger because I am angry. But the problem is not that I’m angry, the problem is that you aren’t nearly angry enough.

    In a similar statement elsewhere, Walsh said that having a transgender child is a “fate worse than death.”

    Walsh has blamed trans people for the higher rates of violence perpetrated against them, claiming that they participate in “those high-risk activities more than average,” and has praised anti-LGBTQ legislation that would force LGBTQ people to flee the country. He has also encouraged violence or other aggression against drag performers, saying that progressive attitudes that allow them to perform are “just like cancer,” in that “stopping it is not a gentle or a painless process. The farther along the cancer is, the more aggressive you have to be in fighting it.” He continued: 

    MATT WALSH: I don’t want to share a country with you. I don’t want to share a planet with you. That’s how much I despise everything you represent. 

    So, with this, this is not compromise. All we can do is crush it. Destroy it. That’s what you do with evil. And that’s what we have to do with this. That should be our objective. Because this is very plainly the mass sexual abuse of kids happening in plain sight.

    These statements have spilled out into the real world, as Walsh organizes anti-LGBTQ campaigns and rallies that encourage the violent sentiments of other extremists. In the wake of the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Walsh excused the violence, asking, “if it’s causing this much chaos and violence, why do you insist on continuing to do it?” 

    From the November 22, 2022, edition of Daily Wire’s The Matt Walsh Show:

    Walsh has also led campaigns against individual trans people that involve harassment, misgendering, and targeted deadnaming, and some of his targets have responded by temporarily withdrawing from public platforms. 

    From the March 3, 2023, edition of The Daily Wire’s The Matt Walsh Show:

    The Michael Knowles Show

    Before appearing on the CPAC stage, Knowles made the claim that “you have to ban transgenderism entirely” on his podcast. In response to concerns that this statement reflected genocidal rhetoric, Knowles replied

    MICHAEL KNOWLES: I don’t know how you could have a genocide of transgender people because genocide refers to genes, it refers to genetics, it refers to biology. And the whole point of transgenderism is that it has nothing to do with biology. That’s what the transgender activists say. They say, forget about biological sex. My gender expression doesn’t have to have anything to do with my biological sex. OK, well, then there can’t be a genocide. It refers to genetics.

    But furthermore, nobody’s calling to exterminate anybody because the other problem with that statement is that transgender people is not a real ontological category. It’s not a legitimate category of being. There are people who think that they’re the wrong sex, but they’re mistaken. They’re laboring under a delusion. And so we need to correct that delusion.

    Following the speech at CPAC, the Daily Wire printed the transcript on their website and Knowles released an episode reading his commentary on “transgenderism” word for word again. He continued to promote the idea that the inclusion of transgender people in society is unacceptable, saying that “if you want to deal with the transgender issue, it’s kind of all-or-nothing.” In past episodes, Knowles has also encouraged conversion therapy as a solution for keeping transgender people from appearing in public.

    Knowles’ other past statements include claims that gay couples who use egg donors are engaged in slavery and that demons are “always trans.”

    Candace Owens 

    Owens has claimed that “the trans agenda is demonic” and previously spread an anti-trans conspiracy theory about the Uvalde, Texas, shooter: 

    “Let’s not talk about any of the symptoms leading up to all of the glaring, obvious signs that this person was, perhaps, mentally unstable because right now, we’re living in a society where we have accepted the narrative that men can become women and women can be men. And what was once acknowledged formerly as a mental illness, gender dysphoria, just a few years ago, was acknowledged officially in the DSM-5 as a mental illness, is now today considered something perfectly normal.” 

    She has repeatedly stated that LGBTQ people and allies are pedophiles, even calling for parents of transgender children and parents who allow their children to attend drag queer story hour to have their children taken away. She recently stated that, if she had a trans grandchild, she would beat them with a cane. 

    Crain & Company 

    While his podcast is usually dedicated to sports commentary, Jake Crain predicted violence against trans athletes throughout a recent episode. While claiming that he was “advocating for not transgender violence” he nevertheless predicted what was “going to happen” when fathers found out that trans women were in the locker rooms with their cis daughters. While refusing to check the direct encouragements of violence from callers into the show, he cited his own male biology as the source that would eventually drive fathers to protect their cis daughters from trans women, claiming that this was “not a threat” but a “forewarning” and a “foreshadowing.” 

    From the February 15, 2023, edition of the Daily Wire’s Crain & Company: 

    Terms of service

    The Apple App Store and Apple Podcast content guidelines clearly state that objectionable content includes “defamatory, discriminatory, or mean-spirited content, including references or commentary” about sexual orientation and gender, particularly if the app or content “is likely to humiliate, intimidate, or harm a targeted individual or group.” 

    Similarly, the Google Play terms of service don’t allow “apps that promote violence, or incite hatred against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, caste, immigration status, or any other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization.” 

    Labeling members of a group “demonic” and accusing them of being “groomers,”  while platforming the idea that any public accommodation of that group would be an intolerable compromise, is a clear promotion of  hatred. That hatred bears terrible consequences: According to one study by the Williams Institute, trans people are four times more likely than cisgender people to be the victims of violent victimization, including rape and assault. By providing a platform for vile anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, Apple and Google are making themselves silent partners in this violent campaign against trans life. 


    The preceding article was previously published by Media Matters for America and is republished by permission.

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    After Club Q right-wing media dismisses possibility of hate crime

    OAN’s Real America, host Dan Ball scoffed at claims that anti-LGBTQ hatred could have influenced the shooter, instead blamed the victims



    Graphic by Andrea Austria for Media Matters

    By  Ruby Seavey & Jack Winstanley | WASHINGTON – After lawyers for the suspected Club Q shooter said last November that their client identifies as nonbinary, right-wing media emphatically claimed that the massacre could not be a hate crime because of the shooter’s gender identity. But new evidence reveals the shooter has a history of pushing anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and was entrenched in far-right, neo-Nazi online communities — and a judge this week concluded there is enough evidence to proceed with hate crime charges.

    On November 19, 2022, a person opened fire inside Club Q, a nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that primarily catered to the area’s LGBTQ community. Five people were killed with another 26 wounded before the shooter could be subdued by patrons and taken into custody.

    Despite little information being publicly known about the alleged shooter or their motivations in the aftermath of the massacre, right-wing media personalities were quick to deny that the mass shooting at an LGBTQ club could possibly be driven by hate. In fact, much of the initial coverage from both broadcast media and mainstream print and online outlets failed to properly connect the shooting to ongoing conservative and far-right campaigns of hateful anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.

    In a court filing on November 22, 2022, the suspected shooter’s attorneys said their client is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns. Conservative outlets quickly seized on these details to further downplay and dismiss the idea that the Club Q shooting was motivated by bigotry.

    But as more information has emerged, it is becoming clear that right-wing media capitalized on incomplete information to continue pushing their anti-LGBTQ agenda even after the shooting. In December 2022, NBC News reported that the FBI was investigating two websites connected to the suspect, one of which was described as a “free speech” forum that hosted racist and antisemitic content. NBC News and The Daily Beast also spoke to the alleged shooter’s former neighbor and friend who said they often made racist and homophobic statements.

    Details in those reports were seemingly confirmed this week during a preliminary hearing to decide whether to try the alleged shooter for hate crimes. A police detective testified that the suspect ran a neo-Nazi website and frequently used racist and anti-LGBTQ slurs — they even sent a photo of a gay pride parade shown through a rifle scope to a friend over Discord. Following this hearing, the judge ruled that there is enough evidence to proceed with the hate crime charges. As MSNBC’s Alex Wagner noted on February 23: “The fact of the matter is sometimes hate speech does inspire hate crimes.”

    From the February 23, 2023, edition of MSNBC’s Alex Wagner Tonight:

    Here’s a look at how right-wing media used the suspect’s gender identity in the wake of their arrest to argue that the Club Q shooting could not possibly be a hate crime.

    • While discussing the shooter’s nonbinary identity on November 23, 2022, The Federalist criticized the “left-wing media establishment” for connecting the Club Q shooting to violent anti-LGBTQ rhetoric from the right, adding that those outlets need “to have an actual ‘come to Jesus moment’ over their hysterical coverage that immediately fomented outrage, fear, and division by blaming their political opponents. Now that we actually have a few facts, their narrative appears to be falling apart.”
    • Discussing the shooter’s gender identity and pronouns during the November 28, 2022, edition of One America News Network’s Allison at Large, host Allison Steinberg said “the mainstream media continues to blame conservatives for trans hate and violence when the corporate media is twisting our words to their followers and the real hate and intolerance is being directed at conservatives, conspiracy theorists, and Trumpsters.” Steinberg later insinuated that LGBTQ individuals are engaged in “covert and overt attacks on the innocence of America’s children,” calling them “literal demons.” 
    • On the November 23, 2022, edition of OAN’s Real America, host Dan Ball scoffed at claims that anti-LGBTQ hatred could have influenced the shooter, instead deflecting responsibility to blame the victims: “Really, us telling you that ‘stop grooming our kids for the transgender agenda’ … and you can’t figure out why a crazy guy like this guy went into a bar — who thinks he’s, I don’t know, nonbinary — and shot up some of his own people, but it’s our fault?” He later said, “You know what the Democrats are going to do with this one: It’s blame, blame, blame. Blame Trump. Blame Trump supporters. Blame America first. It’s what they do.” 
    • In a November 23, 2022, article, National Review denied the possibility of violent rhetoric having any role in the attack, stating that “left-wing activists and their allies in the press have been blaming the shooting on conservatives” even though “the shooter’s attorneys also describe him as ‘non-binary’ and preferring ‘they/them pronouns.’” Repeating more baseless anti-LGBTQ talking points, the piece continued, “It is grotesque to lay the blame for this shooting at the feet of the millions of Americans who have legitimate questions about children being exposed to drag shows or undergoing irreversible sex-change surgeries.”
    • On the November 23, 2022, edition of War Room, far-right host Steve Bannon attacked mainstream media for blaming the “hard right,” “MAGA hate,” and “extremism” for the shooting. Conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec claimed the media changed the narrative about the shooter’s motivations once the suspect publicly declared they identify as nonbinary, and said, “We’re going to call it what it is. It is MAGA blood libel,” referring to an age-old antisemitic smear. Posobiec then went on a bigoted, anti-LGBTQ rant, saying, “It turns out it wasn’t Trump supporters. It was actually a nonbinary gunman — oh wait, we can’t say gunman any more.”  


    The preceding article was previously published by Media Matters for America and is republished by permission.

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    LGBTQ people of color report barriers to academic achievement

    Fewer LGBTQ people of color have completed a post-secondary degree or certificate by the age of 25 compared to their white LGBTQ peers



    Graphic courtesy of the Hogg Foundation, University of Texas, Austin

    LOS ANGELES – A new study from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, conducted in collaboration with the Point Foundation, the nation’s largest LGBTQ scholarship nonprofit, finds more than twice as many LGBTQ POC as white LGBTQ adults report that unfair treatment at school due to being LGBTQ was a barrier to their academic success (10% vs. 4%).

    Lifetime anti-LGBTQ bullying, harassment, and unfair treatment also kept them from getting the amount of education, training, or degrees that they wanted (15% vs. 7%).
    Fewer LGBTQ people of color have completed a post-secondary degree or certificate by the age of 25 compared to their white LGBTQ peers (56% vs. 70%).

    LGBTQ people of color are less likely to complete a college degree or certificate
    Using data from the Access to Higher Education Survey, a nationally representative study of adults ages 18 to 40, researchers examined the school experiences and higher education environments of LGBTQ people of color.
    Results show that one-third (33%) of LGBTQ people of color received little or no information about college applications from high school counselors and teachers. More than one-third reported that they received little or no information about college entrance exams (41%), letters of recommendation (48%), or financial aid (41%).
    “Our research shows that more LGBTQ people of color experience bullying, harassment, and assault in community college and four-year college than their non-LGBTQ peers of color, and at similar levels as white LGBTQ students. We also found that more LGBTQ people of color are first-generation college students and come from families that had fewer economic resources,” said lead author Kerith J. Conron, the Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and Research Director at the Williams Institute. “This means that colleges and universities need to improve educational environments and ensure that resources and support are in place for LGBTQ students of color—during the application process and upon admission.”
    “Places of higher education are letting our students of color down,” said Jorge Valencia, Point Foundation Executive Director and CEO. “This study shows us that LGBTQ people of color are supported by their communities to achieve their educational dreams, but when they get there, students face mistreatment that hinders their mental health and ability to succeed. We need schools across the U.S. to make a stand for the success of our students of color.”

    Additional Findings

    Socioeconomic Status and Parental Support

    More than a third (35%) of LGBTQ people of color said someone in their childhood home received public benefits, such as supplemental income and food assistance, compared to 24% of white LGBTQ people.

    LGBTQ people of color (34%) were twice as likely as white LGBTQ people (18%) to have parents with no more than a high school education.

    More than two-thirds (69%) of LGBTQ people of color were encouraged by a parent/guardian to go to college when they were in high school.

    Bullying and Harassment

    More than a quarter of LGBTQ people of color faced bullying, harassment, or assault in four-year college—nearly twice as many as non-LGBTQ people of color (26% vs. 14%).LGBTQ people of color were twice as likely as non-LGBTQ people of color to say that they had heard slurs or negative comments about LGBTQ people in four-year college programs (36% v. 14%).LGBTQ people of color were more than twice as likely as non-LGBTQ people of color to say that they had heard slurs or negative comments about racial-ethnic minorities (43% vs. 16%).Belonging and Outness LGBTQ people of color were more than three times as likely as non-LGBTQ people of color to pick a four-year college in a different city or state to get away from family (34% vs. 11%).LGBTQ people of color were four times as likely as non-LGBTQ people of color to select a college elsewhere in hopes of finding a more welcoming environment (18% vs 4%).

    Mental Health

    More than a quarter of LGBTQ people of color (29%) said that their mental health was not good all or most of the time they were in college, compared to 13% of non-LGBTQ people of color.

    One-third of LGBTQ people of color in four-year colleges reported the presence of LGBTQ-supportive counseling services or LGBTQ-informed health services at their schools.

    This study is part of a series of reports that analyze data from the Access to Higher Education Survey:

    COVID-19 and Students in Higher Education Federal Student Loan Debt Among LGBTQ People Educational Experiences of Transgender People Community College and the Experiences of LGBTQ People Experiences of LGBTQ People in Four-Year Colleges and Graduate Programs

    Read the report

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    Gallup poll shows U.S. LGBTQ+ adult population steady at 7.2% 

    The current percentage is double what it was when Gallup polling first measured LGBTQ identification a decade ago



    Photo Credit: LA Pride/Facebook

    WASHINGTON – The results of a national survey conducted by Gallup polling based on aggregated polling data from 2022 telephone surveys shows U.S. adults’ identification as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or something other than heterosexual held steady in 2022, at 7.2%.

    In each survey, Gallup asks respondents if they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or something else, allowing them to choose multiple identities. After showing perceptible increases in 2020 and 2021, the current percentage of 7.2% is double what it was when Gallup first measured LGBTQ identification a decade ago.

    The survey also found LGBTQ+ identification is higher in younger generations.

    Adult members of Generation Z, those born between 1997 and 2004 who were aged 18 to 25 in 2022, are the most likely subgroup to identify as LGBT, with 19.7% doing so. The rate is 11.2% among millennials and 3.3% or less among older generations.

    In Generation Z, 13.1% say they are bisexual, 3.4% are gay, 2.2% are lesbian, and 1.9% are transgender. Each of those percentages is higher than it is for all other generations.

    According to Gallup’s report, in addition to the 7.2% identifying as LGBTQ+, 86% of U.S. adults say they are straight or heterosexual, while another 7% chose not to answer the question. As is typically the case, the greatest share of LBGTQ adults — more than half, or 4.2% of all U.S. adults — identify as bisexual.

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    Meta has profited from 200 ads using anti-LGBTQ “groomer” slur

    Since December, at least 63 new ads using harmful “groomer” rhetoric have run on the company’s platforms of Facebook and Instagram



    Graphic by Andrea Austria for Media Matters

    By Camden Carter | WASHINGTON – Meta confirmed last July that use of the word “groomer” to baselessly describe LGBTQ people violates its hate speech policies, but Media Matters has identified over 200 ads that Meta has profited from that contain the harmful messaging — including 63 new ads that garnered nearly 1 million impressions. 

    Right-wing media’s misuse of the term “groomer” has helped fuel a recent rise in anti-LGBTQ sentiment and coincided with a conservative push to enact legislation that strips away the rights of LGBTQ people, especially transgender people. Meta publicly confirmed in July that, as The Daily Dot explained, “baselessly calling LGBTQ people or the community ‘groomers’ or accusing them of ‘grooming’ is governed under their policies prohibiting hate speech.” 

    Media Matters has previously reported on Meta’s failure to enforce its hate speech policy, identifying over 150 ads that Meta allowed to run on its platforms in 2022 even though they use “groomer” rhetoric. Following this reporting, Meta removed 47 of these ads for violating the company’s Advertising Standards. Our latest analysis found that the company has allowed another 63 ads with similar anti-LGBTQ language on its platforms since our last report was published last October. These 63 ads garnered nearly 1 million impressions and Meta earned at least $6,400 in revenue, according to data from the Dewey Square Adwatch tool set. 

    Meta continues to allow nearly 70% of the “groomer”-related ads that we identified in our previous reports including ads from politicians, who are not subject to the same level of fact-checking that applies to other content and advertisements on the platforms. The ads that Meta removed after our reporting were from numerous pages, including the anti-LGBTQ organization American Principles Project, conservative Christian group Truth & Liberty CoalitionTomball Family ValuesJeff Younger for TexasGender Critical Greens PAC, and Oklahoma state Senate candidate Jarrin Jackson

    The company has also allowed 63 new ads that push anti-LGBTQ groomer rhetoric and are similar to the ads Meta removed. These advertisements — many of which are from right-wing candidates and organizations — include the following: 

    • Eric Deters, a Kentucky Republican gubernatorial candidate, ran at least two ads saying that he “believes in no grooming and sexualization” and “no boys playing girls sports.” 

    Texas Scorecard ran at least 2 ads that included a video claiming that “if you plant the seed of transgenderism,” the “child is now sexually activated” and “now you opened the door for Satan to mess with that child’s mind.” At another point, the video asserted that “groomer has become cliche” and “they’re trying to recruit this younger generation,” which has led to a rise in children coming out.

    SoCal Daily Pulse ran at least 9 ads which falsely claimed that Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) “called pedophilia a ‘sexual orientation.’” PolitiFact, a Meta-approved third-party fact-checker, rated this claim “Pants of Fire!” false. Notably, Meta’s advertising policies state that the company does “not allow advertisers to run ads that contain content that has been debunked by third-party fact-checkers.”

    Liberty for the Kids has run at least 12 ads that claim that “Texas schools are pushing drag shows, Critical Race Theory (CRT) and sexual grooming.”

    A page called Macon Disciples ran a lengthy ad claiming that Christians should care about the sanctity of marriage and that “there is an alarming trend of sexualizing children and grooming them for all kinds of perversion. According to Scripture, marriage is between a man and a woman.” The ad also states that “homosexuality, according to Scripture is clearly a mortal sin that will lead to perdition (hell).”

    The page Resist 46 has run ads that state “yes we know the far left hates morals and christianity” and show a compilation of images that includes several drag performers with the words “this is what grooming looks like” over them. Another ad claims that Biden supporters “have no problem with drag queen grooming and grown LGBT throwing $ at children as they strip on stage.” has run at least 19 ads, including ones that state “DNA (not feelings) DETERMINES GENDER” or “STOP GROOMING OUR CHILDREN” next to an image of a rainbow. Most of these ads also link to a petition titled “Stop Grooming Our Children!” The petition goes on to say that “our children are being taught homosexuality and sexual perversion” and that “some teachers want to convince our boys they are girls, and our girls they are boys,” all of which it claims to be a “Satanic force of sexual perversion.”


    Camden Carter is a researcher at Media Matters.

    The preceding article was first published by Media Matters for America and is republished with permission.

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    Florida LGBTQ+ parents thought about moving re: Don’t Say Gay

    Of those surveyed, 56% of LGBTQ+ parents have considered moving out of Florida, and 17% have taken steps to do so




    LOS ANGELES – New research from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law and Clark University finds nearly 9 out of 10 (88%) of LGBTQ+ parents surveyed are concerned about the impact of the Don’t Say Gay bill on them and their children.

    Parents cited concerns that the bill would restrict them from speaking freely about their families and could affect their children’s sense of self and sense of safety. As a result, 56% of LGBTQ+ parents have considered moving out of Florida, and 17% have taken steps to do so.

    On March 28, 2022, the Florida Legislature passed HB 1557, the “Parental Rights in Education” bill, also known as the Don’t Say Gay bill. The bill prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity before the fourth grade. Any instruction after that must be “age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate.”

    Using data gathered from 113 LGBTQ+ parents in Florida, researchers examined the concerns and perspectives of LGBTQ+ parents regarding the state’s Don’t Say Gay bill. Almost one-quarter said they feared harassment by neighbors because of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, and 21% had been less out in their neighborhood, workplace, or community.

    “Legislation can have a negative impact on LGBTQ+ parent families by cultivating a climate of fear and insecurity,” said study author Abbie E. Goldberg, Professor of Psychology at Clark University. “For LGBTQ+ parents without the means to move or send their children to private schools, the stress that this legislation creates will be significant.”


    • LGBTQ+ parents were concerned that Don’t Say Gay would restrict their children from speaking freely about their families (e.g., showing family photos in a school-based family tree project), negatively impact their sense of worth, and encourage a hostile school climate.
    • 13% of the LGBTQ+ parents with LGBTQ+ children said that their children had expressed fears about living in Florida.
    • LGBTQ+ parents who expressed the greatest concern typically had school-aged children in public versus private schools.
    • LGBTQ+ parents reported that their children had already experienced harassment and bullying at school because they had LGBTQ+ parents and were prevented from being able to talk about their parents or their own LGBTQ+ identities.
    • LGBTQ+ parents surveyed coped by becoming more engaged in activism, avoiding the news, getting support from friends and family, and planning for the future (e.g., moving).
    • 11% of parents considered moving their children to a school that is not bound by the Don’t Say Gay law, such as a private school.

    Read the report

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    Libs of TikTok’s Raichik on QAnon show attacks LGBTQ community

    Libs of TikTok Twitter account with 1.7 million followers constantly demeans, attacks, and pushes disinformation about the LGBTQ community



    Graphic by Andrea Austria for Media Matters

    By Justin Horowitz | WASHINGTON – “Libs of TikTok” founder and anti-LGBTQ bigot Chaya Raichik appeared Tuesday on QAnon conspiracy theorist DeAnna Lorraine’s show to attack LGBTQ people.

    Raichik’s Libs of TikTok is a Twitter account with 1.7 million followers that constantly demeans, attacks, and pushes disinformation about the LGBTQ community.

    Lorraine is a far-right pundit, QAnon conspiracy theorist, former Infowars host, and a failed Republican primary candidate for Congress from California. Her show, Shots Fired with DeAnna Lorraine, is part of white nationalist Stew Peters’ media network and is streamed on Rumble.

    “We’ve got a very exclusive interview with Libs of TikTok — yes, Libs of TikTok,” Lorraine said while introducing Raichik on the January 10 edition of her show. “I feel really honored to be here and interview her.”

    From the January 10, 2023, edition of Shots Fired with DeAnna Lorraine :

    During the interview, Lorraine described LGBTQ people as “liars” and “corrupt, godless groomers.” The term “groomer” is a slur used to wrongly equate LGBTQ people with pedophilia.

    When Lorraine asked Raichik about recent headlines she had shared, Raichik described an LGBTQ organization providing free gender-affirming clothing products to trans youth as “scary” and “dangerous.”

    Later, Raichik unjustifiably conflated trans youth obtaining gender-affirming care with pedophilia and grooming. Gender-affirming care is lifesaving medical assistance that allows trans people to transition to their affirmed gender.

    This was one of Raichik’s first interviews since appearing on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Today in late December. During her media hit with Carlson, Raichik revealed her face on camera for the first time while making barbaric comments about LGBTQ people.

    Raichik also appeared on right-wing YouTuber Tim Pool’s podcast in early January. Pool often hosts anti-LGBTQ extremists like Raichik.


    Justin Horowitz is a researcher at Media Matters, where he has worked since September 2020.

    The preceding article was previously published by Media Matters for America and is republished by permission.

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