The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was once considered the epitome of mainstream Republican thought. But today, as the GOP has doubled down on its base–enabling special interest groups ranging from gun nuts to anti-gay activists–it has moved so far right it has gone right out of the country.
So perhaps it’s not surprising that CPAC’s lineup of speakers this year are a rogue’s gallery of anti-gay activists and government officials from the Trump administration.
“The Trump White House is leading a multi-front culture war against the LGBTQ community by continuously addressing large gatherings of anti-LGBTQ activists, fighting for the discriminatory transgender military ban, and pushing religious exemptions to legalize discrimination against LGBTQ people,” said GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis.
Vice President Pence, along with other White House officials, share the stage with once fringe right-wingers such as Rep. Barry Loudermilk who compared the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision to the Dred Scott opinion upholding slavery, and Laura Ingraham who, despite having an openly gay brother, likens medical necessary transgender healthcare to “child abuse.” Trump is schedule to address the conference today.
Our friends at GLAAD came up with this extremely comprehensive and handy list of speakers hostile to the equality agenda, starting with numero uno who has enabled a title wave of worldwide bigotry. Pay close attention to these folks. They are gunning for your hard earned rights.
President Donald J. Trump
Staffed his administration with anti-trans advocates, holds close ties to anti-LGBTQ hate groups, and recently created a new religious and conscience exemptions division in the HHS to defend health workers who refused to treat LGBTQ patients.
Vice President Mike Pence
Has been credited as the “driving force” of the transgender military ban and has supported the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy.
Secretary Betsy DeVos
Rolled back Title IX protections for transgender students and stopped investigating civil rights complaints from transgender students barred from school bathrooms that match their gender identity. The DeVos family has also funded anti-LGBTQ organizations ranging from Focus on the Family, which openly advocates for so-called “conversion therapy,” to Bethany Christian Services, an adoption agency that excludes LGBTQ parents and advocates for laws that allow them to do so.
Secretary Rick Perry
Wrote an op-ed directly attacking Texas A&M University for allowing a student to serve as the university’s first openly LGBTQ student body president and has compared being LGBTQ to alcoholism (multiple times)
Secretary Ryan Zinke
Opposes adoption by same-sex couples and revoked the National Park Services sponsorship of New York City’s first permanent Pride Flag, located outside of the historic Stonewall Inn.
Along with President Trump, Kellyanne Conway spoke at the Family Reseach Council’s Values Voter Summit, a convening of fringe groups united around discrimination against LGBTQ people she also suggested that referring to someone’s LGBTQ identity is comparable to referring them as a slut.
Calls transgender healthcare “child abuse” and argued that marriage equality would lead to “polyamory” and incest.
Insists “transgender is a mental disease” and attacked the U.S. Supreme Court for striking down laws criminalizing homosexuality.
Insists the Obama administration “seemed to side with the gay lobby over black moral values” in supporting marriage values.
Was fired from a local radio show for peddling extreme and derogatory myths about LGBTQ people including that LGBTQ people are “prone to disease” and that homosexuality is like “playing in a sewer.”
Cosponsor of the so-called First Amendment Defense Act, designed to allow anti-LGBTQ people to discriminate for religious without any recourse and oversaw the Trump Administration’s first budget proposal that included slashes to programs and departments critical to the LGBTQ community, including Medicaid, Planned Parenthood, and the Center for Disease Control’s HIV and AIDS programs.
Sen. Ted Cruz
Fought hard against transgender nondiscrimination protections, called federal marriage equality “both tragic and indefensible,” and has argued that homosexuality is a choice.
Gov. Paul LePage
Joined lawsuit fighting to roll back non-discrimination protections transgender youth and repeatedly attacked a political opponent with a homophobic slur.
Host of a TV show called Pawn Stars who has fear-mongered against transgender women: “You have some cities that are saying that if you have a man who feels like he’s a woman, he can use the women’s restroom. I guarantee you that will be taken advantage of by some very bad men who want to go into a bathroom where there’s young ladies.”
Kay Coles James
Former Senior Vice President of the exceedingly anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council, former dean of Pat Robertson’s Regent University, and current head of the anti-LGBTQ Heritage Foundation; reportedly compared LGBTQ people to addicts, alcoholics, adult users, and “sinful” people.
Promoted the American Family Association’s boycott of Target over transgender accommodations, insisting “that the retail giant was henceforth throwing open its restroom doors to the gender-confused”
Marion Le Pen
Staunch marriage equality opponent who spoke at anti-equality rallies in France and claims it will lead to polygamy: “Once you break away from the natural framework of a man and a woman, you could have other minorities who want their form of love recognised by the state. If you endorse homosexuality [in marriage], why not polygamy?”
Sheriff David Clarke Jr
Said transgender people “suffer from mental disorders” and are “freakish, accused supportive parents of transgender youth of being guilty of “child abuse,” andcalled on Americans to “rage, then revote” in response to marriage equality.
Pushed the derogatory myth that being transgender is a “mental illness” and mocked transgender protections as creating a “crazy world” and compared being a transgender youth to her own childhood wish to be a flower.
Referred to SCOTUS marriage ruling as “direct assault on our entire American heritage and our constitutional process”
Condemned the idea of a gay Supreme Court justice as “identity politics gone wild” and accused the Obama Administration and accused the Obama Administration of “collusion with homosexual activists” after Eric Holder spoke at a LGBTQ career fair.
Mocked the Obama administration for furthering trans rights: “And where has this White House put its full weight? In the toilet. In bathrooms in North Carolina and school districts all over the country. You know, the University of North Carolina used to think its biggest enemy was Duke. Now it’s Loretta Lynch. Think about that. Rising ISIS attacks, terrorism in Europe, innocent children being slain in our cities by murderers the White House refuses to take off the streets before they kill, ever-growing serious threats to our nation and the president’s biggest concern is school bathrooms?”
Gov. Matt Bevin
Openly supports a company’s right to turn away LGBTQ customers and signed into law a religious exemptions bill that allows student groups at high schools and public colleges to openly discriminate again LGBTQ classmates, citing religious beliefs.
Said marriage equality was “opening up a very big can of worms” with “some very big risks;” Supported viciously anti-LGBTQ candidate AL senate candidate Roy Moore
Called California’s transgender rights bill “social engineering run amok” while pushing false myths about the transgender community and said that those who pressured boy scouts to change their anti-gay policy were waging a “politically correct jihad.”
Insists that GLAAD is “rabidly anti-Christian” and that Phil Robertson’s extremely anti-LGBTQ comments are simply “pro-Bible.”
One of the most anti-LGBTQ congressmen of our recent times; Said marriage equality is meant to destroy marriage and that the world is “twisted” becausetransgender is in but trans fats are out.
Rep. Mark Walker
Insisted that the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling served to “overrule our democratic process and our foundational individual freedoms;” led the charge againstthe Obama administration’s transgender guidance.
Attempted to delegitimize the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling, insisting that “there’s no legal justification for what they did here.”
Cathy McMorris Rodgers
As a member of the US House, voted against LGBTQ-inclusive hate crimes legislation, voted no one protecting LGBTQ people from employment discrimination, voted against repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (once, and abstained a second time), and voted in favor a constitutional amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey
Has fought marriage equality and transgender bathroom accommodations as West Virginia Attorney General.
Gov Pete Ricketts
Pushed public schools to reject transgender accommodations, fought against marriage equality after Nebraska’s same-sex marriage ban was stuck down in federal court and said workplace non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ workers are “unnecessary”.
Dr. Larry Arnn
Argued that “the left has convinced people to ignore the moral foundations of the U.S. Constitution to embrace that same-sex marriage is real (legal) marriage thus overturning by judicial activism hundreds of anti-sodomy laws.”
Penned a column insisting that “gay marriage harms kids and democracy.”
Insisted Trump’s attempt to ban transgender soldiers from openly serving in the U.S. military showed “warmth” and was meant “to help those people.”
Attacked the BBC using an anti-trans slur, calling the outlet “tr***y-pushing media” and argued that homosexuality was directly liked to childhood abuse.
Sponsored a bill that would have invalidated LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinances throughout the state of West Virginia.
Started identifying as “His Majesty” as protest against his university’s policy on allowing and respecting students’ choice of person pronouns.
Openly gay conservative who pushes myths about Trump being pro-LGBTQ, attacks transgender rights, and claims a baker serving gay couples equally constitutes “forc[ing] artists to create art at the point of a gun”
Condemned the Obama administration’s transgender guidance and attacked the Obama administration for their policy to allow open transgender military service.
Gay conservative who rejects trans rights being included with LGB: “Shouldn’t the transgendered have had their own suffragette marches and their own Montgomery Bus Boycott before being able to nail their T to the LGB? (Transvestites participated in the Stonewall riots, although that event launched the gay-rights movement, not an appeal for transgenderism.) Also, did I miss the vote when gay men were asked whether or not we wanted to embrace, as our own, men who amputate their penises and fold them into vaginas? Were any lesbians polled to ask them to accept in sisterhood women who reject their “lady parts,” fashion artificial phalluses, and then rechristen themselves as men?”
Known more for his extreme anti-Muslim views but also has also targeted transgender service members: “The most egregious example of such social engineering is a requirement to integrate “transgender” individuals and pay for their sex change operations and other, vast healthcare requirements,” (and was a strong opponent of open LGB+ service before that).
Founder and publisher of The Federalist, one of the most anti-LGBTQ (and particularly anti-T) publications in all of conservative media
Referred to a transgender rights bill as “very scary” and a “slippery slope.”
Lt Gov Mary Taylor
In a 2018 survey, she indicated that she opposes marriage equality, opposes sexual orientation and gender identity included in Ohio’s anti-discrimination laws, and opposes transgender students using the proper restroom.
Applauded Trump admin ban on transgender soldiers and has argued that openly gay soldiers are a threat to the US military and that the Girls Scouts; decision to accept transgender girls “slaps in the face to Christian parents.”
Rep Barry Loudermilk
Staunch opponent of LGBTQ rights who has compared SCOTUS marriage equality opinion to the Dred Scott opinion upholding slavery.
Rep Jim Jordan
One of the most anti-LGBTQ members of Congress who lead the fight to try to attempt to block the city of Washington D.C. from recognizing marriage equality and once backed out of CPAC after LGBTQ group GOProud was included.
Rep Mark Meadows
Viciously anti-LGBTQ congressman who is credited as being a key figure behind Trump’s transgender military ban.
Chairman Mark Walker
Exceedingly anti-LGBTQ congressman who authored the joint letter that anti-LGBTQ conservatives sent to the Obama administration in protestation of its public school bathroom guidance.
AG Leslie Rutledge
Fought against an LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance in Fayetteville and against transgender bathroom accommodations.
Says “The left’s approach — to declare trans people to be a persecuted minority rather than confused people in need of understanding and therapy — inhibits reasonable debate.”
Below is a list of the pro-LGBT speakers at CPAC this year. (There isn’t anyone)