Longshot Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley recently said that more adolescent girls are experiencing suicidal ideation because transgender girls want to join their sports teams.
When speaking at a CNN town hall event in Iowa on Sunday, Haley said that her definition of “woke” includes “biological boys playing in girl sports.”
She’s no friend of LGBTQ people, but she’s not the worst Republican either.
She then called that “the women’s issue of our time,” even though women are still disproportionately affected by sexual violence, lower pay, and attacks on reproductive rights worldwide, according to the human rights group Amnesty International. Roe v. Wade was overturned about a year ago.
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“My daughter ran track in high school. I don’t even know how I would have that conversation with her,” Haley continued. “How are we supposed to get our girls used to the fact that biological boys are in their locker rooms? And then we wonder why a third of our teenage girls seriously contemplated suicide last year. We should be growing strong girls, confident girls.”
Haley’s suicide statistic came from a February study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Throughout her political career, Haley has opposed government recognition of legally married same-sex couples, transgender participation in sports, and LGBTQ+ content in public schools. Now that she’s a presidential candidate, she has increasingly embraced transphobia as a way to keep up with her two main anti-LGBTQ+ primary opponents, former President Donald Trump (R) and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
At Haley’s campaign kick-off rally, she had an invocation by John Hagee, an evangelical pastor who opposes same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination ordinances. Hagee has also said that the Antichrist is gay and that God sent Hurricane Katrina to punish New Orleans for holding a Pride parade.
In February 2021, she said she opposed President Joe Biden’s executive order instructing the federal government to intervene in schools that enforce anti-LGBTQ+ policies. She also supports policies banning trans students from playing on sports teams that match their gender identities.
“Across the sporting world, the game is being rigged against women and in favor of biological men,” Haley said. Biden’s order is “paving the way for a federal mandate that all schools receiving federal funding let biological men play on women’s sports teams. The order was framed as a matter of transgender rights. But really, it was an attack on women’s rights.”
On the campaign trail, Haley has also taken cheap shots at trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney by misgendering her and accusing her of “making fun of women.”
National polling averages have Haley ranking a distant third at only 4.4% voter support, far behind DeSantis’ 22.4% and Trump’s 53.2% as of Monday evening, according to Real Clear Politics.
Editor’s note: This article mentions suicide. If you need to talk to someone now, call the Trans Lifeline at 1-877-565-8860. It’s staffed by trans people, for trans people. The Trevor Project provides a safe, judgement-free place to talk for LGBTQ youth at 1-866-488-7386. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.