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News News Articles Third-Party Spoiler Candidates RFK Jr. Wednesday, May 22 2024

ICYMI: RFK Jr. & Nichole Shananhan Embrace Trump’s Anti-Trans Ideology

May 22, 2024

According to reporting from CBS News, RFK Jr.’s campaign is embracing an extreme right-wing position on transgender youth and echoing transphobic talking points.

RFK Jr.’s campaign dismisses the issue as “non-existential” and on a recent podcast his running mate, Nicole Shanahan, dismissed transgender youth as merely going through “awkward years” before praising Donald Trump’s hardline transphobic ideology.

RFK Jr. isn’t new to spreading anti-LGTBQ rhetoric. In the past, he’s repeated the baseless conspiracy that environmental chemicals and pesticides can make frogs and therefore children gay or transgender. RFK Jr. also claimed the use of alkyl nitrites, or poppers, and a “gay lifestyle” were a “significant factor” in the progression of AIDS. 

In addition to spreading transphobic and homophobic conspiracies, RFK Jr. employed former campaign staffer, Angela Stanton-King, who spread homophobic and QAnon-themed rhetoric around homosexualitylinked the LGBTQ+ community to pedophilia, and called Diante Johnson, the president of the Black Conservative Federation, “an open flaming Feminine closet Gay.

Learn more about RFK Jr.’s embrace of Trump’s transphobic ideology:

  • “It’s abortion, it’s the border, it’s trans rights. These issues are all important,” RFK Jr, said at a rally in Austin last week. “None of them are the issues that really matter to you, to me, to our children.”
  • Kennedy recently called gender-affirming care a “non-existential” issue, but he has weighed in on it, backing a ban on certain treatments, including puberty blockers and hormone therapy, for minors. His running mate, Nicole Shanahan, agrees.
  • Shanahan, a former California lawyer, joined a podcast hosted by Riley Gaines, a former college swimmer who opposes allowing trans women athletes to compete in women’s sports, and said medical professionals were being reckless with puberty-blocking prescriptions.
  • “We’ve all been there,” Shanahan said on “Gaines for Girls,” downplaying the impact of gender dysphoria experienced by some children as merely the “awkward years” that are a part of any adolescence.
  • Last Saturday, Shanahan backed Kennedy’s stance, posting on X, “Just to be clear: You can be supportive of LGBTQ causes AND ALSO believe that children are too young to be able to consent to puberty blockers.”
  • While Kennedy said he sympathizes with those who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, he’s also said he’s recently become “troubled” by the idea of giving puberty blockers to minors, labeling them as “castration drugs.” He also referred to sex-change procedures as “surgical mutilation” and said that such treatments should be postponed until adulthood.
  • Kennedy has in the past spread misinformation related to LGBTQ issues, including conspiracies that chemicals in the environment could be making children gay or transgender, which has no basis in scientific research.
  • Chemicals, he said on a 2022 episode of his podcast, “are raining down on our children” that “will disrupt normal sexual development and neurological development.”
  • The Kennedy campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
  • Many medical experts from leading institutions consider gender-affirming care a medical necessity, which can be exceedingly difficult to access due to prohibitions enacted by some states. Currently, there are bans across 23 states, making comprehensive care limited and mainly available primarily in large metropolitan areas, leading to long wait times for those seeking specialized care.
  • Once seen, experts say, the decision-making process for any treatment or procedure typically involves multiple visits and consultations with medical and mental health experts, as well as the parents or guardians. As for gender-affirming surgeries for minors, experts say these procedures are extremely rare and are largely viewed as adult procedures.
  • According to Dr. Meredithe McNamara, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine who specializes in adolescent care, only about 3% of young people experiencing gender dysphoria are prescribed puberty blockers. And there is no evidence to suggest this treatment causes long-lasting or irreversible damage to a minor’s physical or cognitive development.
  • But when transgender and gender-diverse young people lack access to essential healthcare, their health and well-being suffer and families are destabilized, she said.
  • “So this candidate supposes that young people can wait until 18, but that would mean going an inordinately long period of time, without evidence-based treatment,” said McNamara. “I can’t think of a good reason for that.”

Read the entire story from CBS News here.

Published: May 22, 2024 | Last Modified: May 24, 2024

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