Right-wing commentator Michael Knowles of the Daily Wire said that “transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely” at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday.
He added that it would be “for the good of society.”
The transphobic remark left the internet stunned and horrified but was cheered on at the conservative political summit.
"'Transgenderism' is widely recognized as an offensive term used by anti‐LGBT activists, to try and dehumanize trans people and reduce their humanity to a 'condition,'” explained the LGBTQ+ Twitter account Queer Insider.
Clips of the anti-trans comments made the rounds on Twitter.
Harvard clinical law instructor Alejandra Caraballo posted video of Knowles’s comments on Twitter. She wrote that he was “openly calling for genocide against trans people at CPAC.” She added in a follow-up tweet, “What exactly do you think ‘eradication’ entails? If you ever wondered how we get from hate speech to genocide, this is it. This isn't some fringe figure, this is a Daily Wire host speaking at CPAC.”
\u201cMichael Knowles is openly calling for genocide against trans people at CPAC. "Transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely."\n\nhttps://t.co/uW6pAw02vI\u201d
— Alejandra Caraballo (@Alejandra Caraballo) 1677955206
Caraballo’s tweet has been seen more than 3.4 million times.
Knowles has defended calling for a ban on “transgenderism” in the past, the Daily Beast reports. Then, he said it wasn’t genocidal because trans identities are “not a legitimate category of being.”
While Knowles previously said genocide is based on “biology,” the UN’s definition of genocide refers to the intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, in whole or in part.
“’Transgenderism’ is people. He's talking about eradicating people. When newspapers print scare stories about kids transitioning too early, when podcast hosts whine about girls' sports, when politicians snark about the definition of ‘woman,’ this is what they're talking around,” comedian and writer Raphael Bob-Waksberg wrote on Twitter.
\u201c"Transgenderism" is people. He's talking about eradicating people. When newspapers print scare stories about kids transitioning too early, when podcast hosts whine about girls' sports, when politicians snark about the definition of "woman," this is what they're talking around.\u201d
— Raphael Bob-Waksberg (@Raphael Bob-Waksberg) 1677946913
Knowles also took to Twitter to call out those calling his comments genocidal, including Rolling Stone, which replaced a headline that originally read “CPAC Speaker Calls for Transgender People to be “Eradicated” with “CPAC Speaker Calls for Transgenderism to Be ‘Eradicated’” after his tweet.
Media Matters’s Ari Drennan blasted the media outlet for the change.
“There is no difference between ‘transgender people’ and ‘transgenderism,’ we are all people just trying to live our lives,” she tweeted.
\u201cAnd just like that, @RollingStone rolls over for the right wing hate mob. Pathetic.\u201d
— Ari Drennen (@Ari Drennen) 1678045934
Rolling Stone changed the headline again for it to read: "CPAC Speaker Calls for Eradication of ‘Transgenderism — and Somehow Claims He’s Not calling for Elimination of Transgender People."