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The LGBTQ+ community is “an alphabet soup” that has created “a tyranny of the minority,” long-shot Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy told a pansexual activist who approached him at the Iowa State Fair Saturday.
Video of their conversation has been viewed widely on X, formerly Twitter. During the exchange, Ramaswamy makes some false assumptions and some anti-trans statements, and he certainly implies the LGBTQ+ population has more power than it does.
The activist approached him and asked his “opinions on the LGBTQ+ community.” He replied, “Well, I don’t think it’s one community.” He expanded on this by saying, “How could it be? Just mash together an alphabet soup. Trans is fundamentally in tension with gay, if you ask me. But what’s your opinion?” The questioner, who is female-presenting, responded that she is pansexual. She then asked what Ramaswamy thinks about same-sex couples.
“I don’t have a negative view of same-sex couples, but I do have a negative view of a tyranny of the minority,” he said. “So I think that in the name of protecting against the tyranny of the majority, and there are times in this country’s history where we have had a tyranny of the majority, we have now in the name of protecting against tyranny of the majority created a new tyranny of the minority.
“And I think that that’s wrong. I don’t think that somebody who’s religious should be forced to officiate a wedding that they disagree with. I don’t think somebody who is a woman who's worked really hard for her achievements should be forced to compete against a biological man in a swim competition. I don’t think that somebody who’s a woman that respects her bodily autonomy and dignity should be forced to change clothes in a locker room with a man. That’s not freedom. That's oppression.”
For the record, clergy members are not forced to officiate weddings they oppose, whether the couple is same-sex, interfaith, or presents another conflict with the officiant’s beliefs.
“And so I believe that we live in a country where free adults should be free to dress how they want, behave how they want and that’s fine, but you don’t oppress, you don’t become oppressive by foisting that on others, and that especially includes kids because kids aren’t the same as adults,” he continued, appearing to play into the idea that children are somehow being “indoctrinated” simply by being taught that LGBTQ+ people exist. “And so I think adults are free to make whatever choices they want, but do not foist that ideology onto children before children are in a position as adults to make decisions for themselves.
“And so I think a lot of the frustration in the country, and if I’m being really honest that I also share, comes from that new culture of oppression where saying those things can actually get somebody punished. And in my case, it’s part of why it’s my responsibility to say them, and I respect that you have a different opinion. And that’s OK. Part of what makes our country great is that you and I can be civil and have this conversation and that we live in a country that still gives us, each of us, the right to speak to a presidential candidate and back and still say that we pledge allegiance to the same nation. So I think that’s the beauty of our country. And that’s my honest opinion.”
He closed by thanking the activist for her civility.
Ramaswamy is an entrepreneur who has run biotech and investment management companies. His campaign website offers a list of what he calls “truths,” including “There are two genders,” “Reverse racism is racism,” “Parents determine the education of their children,” and “The nuclear family is the greatest form of governance known to mankind.” He will join other GOP presidential candidates in the first primary debate August 23 in Milwaukee.