Hecklers relentlessly deadname Caitlyn Jenner over an extremist-heavy CPAC weekend

Caitlyn Jenner
Caitlyn Jenner Photo: Shutterstock

This year’s second Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) has gotten underway, and transphobia and bigotry have been on full display.

California gubernatorial candidate and former Olympic athlete Caitlyn Jenner attended Friday and Saturday’s portion of the conference — but not without heckling and deadnaming outside the conference, while anti-trans skits and denouncement of gay people went on inside.

Related: Marjorie Taylor Greene tells LGBTQ people to shut up about “what you like to do in the bedroom”

On Friday, a live-streaming YouTuber known as “The Black Conservative Preacher” ran close behind Jenner as she was leaving her hotel. He and another person accompanying him circled Jenner as she took pictures with other people.

The so-called “preacher” spewed derogatory remarks at her until she walked away and got into a vehicle outside. He kept pressing her, “don’t forget about Jesus!”

“What do you think of the stuff they’re teaching in schools regarding the LGBTQ?” he asked.

He repeatedly referred to her by her deadname, and then called her a “sick freak” as she left, pondering aloud as to why so-called conservatives would take pictures with “trannies.”

Jenner did not address the man, and has not responded to requests for comments from Newsweek on the matter.

Newsweek reported that Jenner completed her Friday plans as scheduled, including with an appearance on Fox News and a press conference, her first since announcing her candidacy in the recall election against incumbent California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D).

At the press conference, Jenner shared that she isn’t going to seek the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, who is delivering the keynote this evening to close CPAC.

That was not the only time that Jenner was on the receiving end of haranguing this weekend. According to the Dallas Morning News, on Saturday, the second day of the conference, one woman pointed to Jenner and referred to her as “him” while talking to her staff.

Another person reportedly called Jenner by her deadname as she was taking a selfie with her. The report indicates Jenner “didn’t appear” to react to either incident.

This CPAC, themed “America UnCanceled,” is the second installment of the annual right-wing gathering held this year.

The initial conference was held in Orlando back in February, but the American Conservative Union (ACU) decided to put on a second installation in Dallas, Texas this weekend, promoted as a response to the border “crisis” focusing on immigration policy.

Trump spoke at February’s CPAC, which was his first post-Presidential address. Still, they had to compete with the far-right America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC), which drew even more extreme and anti-LGBTQ figures from the right on the same weekend, as the future of the Republican Party seemed more uncertain following Trump’s exit from the White House.

This edition of CPAC, from July 9 until today, July 11, will similarly conclude with a speech from Trump.

The lead organizer behind AFPAC, Nick Fuentes, is a far-right commentator who was banned from Twitter this week. Fuentes is profiled as a white nationalist by both the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

Fuentes showed up at CPAC on Saturday, pledging to hold a press conference at a hotel and deliver “the most racist, the most sexist, the most anti-Semitic, the most Holocaust-denying speech” of the weekend.

He and a group accompanying him stormed the conference, chanting “America First.” It was reported that they did not actually make it into the area where the conference was ongoing.

He was subsequently removed from the conference’s site altogether after he and his group surrounded and mocked a journalist for the “far-left progressive” magazine Salon.

Jenner wasn’t the only person to become the butt of anti-trans remarks. Also on Saturday, a Saturday Night Live-style skit included a mock news show called “Socialist News Network,” as an attempt to make fun of CNN. The skit included Jesse Keller, a far right podcaster, making several transphobic jokes at the expense of women in USA Gymnastics.

According to Newsweek, Keller joked that the coach of the women’s Olympic gymnastic team said this “might not be the most feminine team on the planet,” but that the athletes “have the balls to compete.”

The ACU even invited anti-LGBTQ activists from around the world, listing Santiago Abascal, a far-right lawmaker in Spain, as a speaker this weekend. He has actively organized attempts to strip his home country of marriage equality.

Rebecca Wilhoit, who stated that she’s the niece of Tennessee Rep. Jerry Sexton (R), claimed that being proud of being gay is a sin. She also may have flashed a white supremacist hand sign during a video interview.

Wilhoit, who is known to have made racist remarks, says she plans to follow in her uncle’s trail and “run for something” soon, but is “not sure” yet of which office she will seek.

In 2019, Sexton sponsored efforts to end marriage equality in Tennessee, despite the Supreme Court making it the law of the land in 2015. For the last three years, he has tried to make the Bible the official book of the Volunteer State.

This is far from the first CPAC gathering that is chock full of anti-LGBTQ people and remarks. Just in February, Donald Trump Jr., Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) were some of the prominent figures that made a point to share anti-trans sentiments.

Trump himself concluded February’s conference by attacking trans athletes, claiming that girls and women are “forced to compete against those who are biological males.”

After the end of that weekend, out former Trump appointee Ric Grenell was blasted by his fellow conservatives for sharing the experience of a trans woman who attended, trying to paint Republicans as inclusive.

“If you support this, you are not a conservative,” one Republican stated, “this” being the existence of trans people.

Grenell spoke Saturday at this CPAC, and also appeared on FOX News throughout the weekend. Other than Trump, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R), Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), Trump’s former senior adviser Stephen Miller, and former HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson are also addressing the conference today.

If it wasn’t clear that transphobia was part of the conservative movement, CPAC once again made sure it was for at least this weekend.

If it also wasn’t overtly clear that they have an obsession with concerning themselves with other people’s genitalia, it was subtly made clear by their shape of choice for the event’s stage.

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