Kevin Whitt — a cisgender man and former drag queen who appears in recent transphobic political ads — says he once considered himself a transgender woman who later “de-transitioned” when he later realized he was actually a cis man. However, his background reveals that he only started publically referring to himself as trans after he began working with the religious right.
Before that, he identified as a drag queen and used he/him pronouns. Whitt was rejected as a RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant shortly before he found Jesus.
The political ad, purchased by the American Principles Project — a Virginia-based conservative think tank that opposes same-sex marriage and transgender rights — is part of a $2 million-dollar ad buy in the swing state of Michigan meant to “target persuadable Democrats and independent voters.”
The ad buy consists of three anti-trans videos targeting Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and Democratic U.S. Senator for Michigan Gary Peters as aligned with “gender activists” who seek to harm children and female athletes.
The videos featuring Whitt use his personal story to play off of ignorance surrounding transitional medical treatment for young people. In the first video ad, Whitt says:
“As a young teen, I felt I should be a woman. Seventeen years later, I felt I should be a man again. Treatments to change gender so that you cannot go through puberty causes damage. Sex change surgeries at 15 years old. This is legal child abuse. Gary Peters and Joe Biden support gender change treatments for minors — it’s not okay.”
The ad ends with the tagline, “Call Gary Peters and tell him to protect our kids from gender activists.”
In a second ad, Whitt says:
“We all imagine what we might be when we grow up, and that can change several times. As a young teen, I felt I should be a woman. Seventeen years later, I felt I should be a man again. Treatments to change the gender of a minor are very dangerous and irreversible. Children need time, and politicians like Gary Peters who supports gender change treatments for minors, are taking that time away.”
Whitt’s claims about medical treatment for young people are untrue. Teens who identify as trans are not given “sex change surgeries at 15-years-old.” If anything, they’re given “puberty blockers,” injections that delay the irreversible physical changes of puberty so that the teen and their family can have more time to explore the child’s gender identity.
According to Mary Romano M.D. — who works in the Vanderbilt University Medical Center which specializes in trans youth and transitional care, says medical professionals have “years and years of data” to show that puberty blockers’ risks are tiny, especially compared to the mental health anguish experienced by trans children who aren’t given them.
But there are also other reasons to seriously doubt Whitt’s story.
In short, Whitt never started publicly declaring himself as a former trans person until 2019 when he became the director of Dallas Mass Resistance. Mass Resistance is a Southern Poverty Law Center-certified hate group that has supported the presidential candidacy of anti-LGBTQ politician Rick Santorum, called gay people are dangerous to kids, and accused LGBTQ activists of “trying to get legislation passed to allow sex with animals.”
In fact, up to 2011, Whitt still publicly identified as male and a drag performer. In 2010, Whitt auditioned for RuPaul’s Drag Race, and called his drag persona, Dominique O’Hara Skyy, his “alter ego” saying that Skyy is more outgoing than his “boy self.” In a separate video released the following year, Whitt is introduced by a friend using he/him pronouns.
It’s only when Whitt started working with Mass Resistance that he began publicly declaring his past trans identity. Speaking to the group, Whitt claimed that when he was a teen, his therapist told him that he was trans. Whitt later claimed that took hormones to help grow breasts and that he worked for 20 years as a “transexual prostitute” from age 16 in 1994 to age 36 in 2014.
As the director of Mass Resistance, Whitt has spoken near the site of the Pulse nightclub shooting to publicly campaign against conversion therapy bans, has called Jesus his “conversion therapist,” has protested Drag Queen Story Hour events, and has claimed that child sexual abuse and emotional neglect “cause” people to become gay or transgender.
While Whitt has aligned himself with advocates for conversion therapy — a pseudo-scientific form of psychological torture that purports to change one’s gender identity or sexual orientation — numerous leaders of that movement have later come out and apologized for the harm they caused with their past claims of conversion.
John Smid, who headed the “ex-gay” organization Love in Action, said in a 2019 video, “I’ve never seen a real success story of anyone who has changed from homosexual to heterosexual.” David Matheson, a Mormon therapist who helped develop the “ex-gay” program Journey into Manhood, said he was “starting to die” in ex-gay therapy and has since come as gay.
McRae Game, the leader for two decades of Hope for Wholeness, came out as gay and said, “Conversion therapy is not just a lie, but it’s very harmful because it’s false advertising.”
Yvette Cantu Schneider, a previous Director of Women’s Ministry for the now-defunct ex-gay organization Exodus International, said, “I’ve never seen anyone change from gay to straight ever.”
Alan Chambers, the former leader of Exodus International, also apologized for the pain he and his organization inflicted on LGBTQ people.
Whitt contacted LGBTQ Nation after publication to say this article is “full of slanderous lies and allegations.” He declined to provide a further response to the story.