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GOP donor gave lesbian transphobe Bari Weiss $500K to start an “anti-woke” non-profit

Bari Weiss Photo: CNN screenshot

It has recently come to light that Bari Weiss, the transphobic lesbian founder of the conservative outlet The Free Press, was given $500,000 by billionaire Republican donor Harlan Crow to help launch an “anti-woke” non-profit organization that opposes anti-racism education in schools, widely referred to as “critical race theory” (CRT).

The deceptively named organization, The Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR), claims to be nonpartisan, but its initial board included transphobic former Fox News host Megyn Kelly, transphobic gay writer Andrew Sullivan, and anti-LGBTQ+ activist Christopher Rufo, The New Yorker reported.

Among its activities, FAIR has developed a free ethnic studies curriculum and corporate diversity training. These teach that all humans are part of one race (“sapiens”) and encourage people not to be separated by “affinity groups.” FAIR’s 8 national chapters have tried encouraging parents to start attending school board meetings to oppose CRT. Their efforts largely haven’t worked, the aforementioned publication noted.

In 2021, FAIR started focusing on so-called “gender ideology,” a right-wing term for acknowledging the existence of transgender people. It hosted a webinar entitled “Gender Ideology: Problems and Pro-Human Solutions” which featured Abigail Shrier, an anti-trans author who regularly equates trans people with misogynists, child sex predators, and mentally ill people who have succumbed to peer pressure.

While FAIR took stands against “issues of compelled speech and gender stereotypes” — namely, “schools requiring students to state their pronouns, for example, or teaching that boys who gravitate toward dolls and princesses could be girls…. it wasn’t willing to touch other questions, such as whether kids who identify as trans should be allowed to medically transition,” The New Yorker wrote.

Over time, some of FAIR’s employees began to complain to Weiss that the organization wasn’t taking “actual positions” on CRT and trans issues. Some said that FAIR’s initial board members were just there to attract funding and dedicated workers, but didn’t reflect FAIR’s actual stances which, instead, focused on the generic and vague idea of being “pro-human.”

Though Weiss helped fundraise and attract talent to FAIR, even she eventually distanced herself from the group, saying in June 2021 that she considers the group “not straightforward” and “not muscular enough,” particularly on issues like trans women in sports.

“FAIR is pulling punches on one of the most urgent things happening,” she commented. Her publication, The Free Press, published a misleading story about a trans teen who was allegedly “bullied” into going on puberty blockers. Although the teen disavowed the story, the site still published it, and it went viral. Her site also published The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling, a podcast that defends the transphobic author.

FAIR underwent restructuring as its original leader, Bion Bartning, stepped down amid a power struggle over his management and the group’s direction. Maud Maron, a former public defender who The New Yorker says is currently helping lead FAIR, has previously written via Twitter, “Trans activists and allies need to grapple honestly with what a violent movement it has become.”

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