Donald Trump’s support of trans woman in 2012 comes to light as primary heats up

Donald Trump
Donald Trump Photo: Screenshot

Fox News dug up an old pro-transgender statement from 2024 presidential candidate and former reality TV host Donald Trump (R) just after he made some extreme anti-transgender statements.

Speaking in a video that was used to kick off the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s spring event this weekend, Trump repeatedly attacked transgender rights. “God created two genders, male and female,” he said.

During his presidency, Trump was well known for his attacks on LGBTQ+ people’s — and particularly transgender people’s — rights during his time at the White House. He banned transgender people from serving in the military, his administration rolled back protections for transgender students in schools, and he tried to increase religious exemptions in multiple areas to allow even healthcare professionals to refuse to provide treatment to LGBTQ+ people if they said it violated their deeply held religious beliefs.

But in 2012, he wasn’t so adamantly opposed to trans people’s existence.

“We let her in,” he said in a 2012 video that Fox News found using the Wayback Machine. (The video’s current YouTube link says that it has been made private.)

The person he was referring to was 23-year-old Canadian model Jenna Talackova, a trans woman who wanted to compete in the Miss Universe Canada competition. At that point, the Miss Universe pageant — which Trump owned — only allowed “naturally born” women to compete.

“We’ll see what happens,” Trump continued. “Maybe she’ll do well, maybe she won’t. You have 58 different girls trying to be Miss Canada. It’ll be very interesting to see what happens. If for some reason she should win, well, then she has to win the Miss Universe contest. Everybody wants to be Miss Universe. I don’t think it’s going to be easy.” 

The Miss Universe organization announced several days later that trans women would be allowed to take part in all of its competitions starting in 2013. While Talackova didn’t win in Canada, in 2018, Ángela Ponce, who is trans, won the title of Miss Universe Spain.

But in 2023, Trump is far from supportive of trans people. At an National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Iowa last week, Trump said that he would direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to “investigate whether transgender hormone treatments and ideology increase the risk of extreme depression, aggression, and even violence.”

Hormone replacement therapy is a part of the standard of care for gender-affirming care for trans people and there is no indication that it — or “transgender ideology” — makes people violent. However, Trump said, “I think most of us already know the answer.”

“I will immediately sign a new executive order to cut federal funding for any school pushing critical race theory, transgender insanity, and other inappropriate racial, sexual, or political content on our children,” he said in the Iowa video. “As president, I will sign a new executive order instructing every federal agency to cease the promotion of sex and gender transition at any age. I will then ask Congress to send me a bill prohibiting child sexual mutilation in all 50 states, and I will keep men out of women’s sports.”

“We will defeat the cult of gender ideology, and we will reassert the timeless truth that God created two genders, male and female,” he continued. “We will defend our culture. We will reassert the Judeo-Christian values of our nation’s founding.”

In 2015, Trump sold the Miss Universe pageant to WME/IMG, which sold it in 2022 to Thai trans celebrity and businesswoman Jakapong Jakrajutatip.

The video of Trump supporting Talackova wasn’t forgotten until just now; The Daily Beast, for example, published an article on it last year. But Fox News and the conservative New York Post are reporting on it now, just as the 2024 Republican primary starts to heat up.

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