Conservatives have denounced a “transgender” slur that was used to attack Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, but left the Republican Party feeling “shocked” and “troubled.”
In a post on Facebook on Thursday, Conservative commentator Mike Cernovich wrote, “It’s not just the GOP that has been shaken by the inappropriate use of this word: Transgender people have also been targeted, insulted, bullied, and worse.”
The word transgender, a slang term referring to people who identify with neither male nor female genders, has been used to describe LGBT people since the 1970s.
It was coined in the 1960s by the gay activist Ralph Abernathy, who was then in the U.S. Air Force.
In 1987, Abernath introduced the term “transvestites” to describe the LGBTQ community, and many LGBT people, including LGBT activist Scott Lively, have since used the term to describe themselves.
The RNC had previously apologized for the term in a statement issued in March, but Cernovitz said in the post that the RNC “did not intend to create a ‘safe space’ for those who use the trans-phobic term.
Rather, the RNC has called for an end to its use, calling it an inappropriate use that does not reflect the values of the RNC and its values.”
The RNC, however, defended its use of the term, saying that it was in no way meant to denigrate transgender people.
“Transgender is a non-denominational term, and we do not intend for anyone to use it to disparage anyone,” RNC communications director Amanda Carpenter said in a news release.
“In fact, we encourage our members to use words of the most positive connotations.”
Cernovich said that “there’s a difference between the use of a slur, and the use to express contempt for another, but it’s still offensive to trans people.”
“We’re shocked and upset that the GOP would use a slur to attack Huckabee,” Cernovsky said.
“We’re surprised that they didn’t just stand up for the rights of all LGBT people.
But it’s also upsetting to hear that a GOP official who has a history of making offensive and harmful comments, and who is trying to use the word transgender to attack a former president of the party, would use it in the way that he did.”
Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee speaks at a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, on Feb. 2, 2020.
The term transgender has been in use for decades, and Cernóvitz said the RNC’s use of it was “an extremely disturbing move” by the party.
“It shows that they don’t care about LGBT people,” he said.
“The RNC is using the term transgender to bully and threaten transgender people, to make them feel unsafe.
Cameron McBride, an LGBT rights activist and former RNC member, also blasted the RNC for using the slur.
“This is so offensive to the trans community,” McBride said in an email.
“It makes trans people feel like they’re second-class citizens in the Republican party, and I think this kind of language is a direct attack on the transgender community.”
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel issued a statement calling the RNC, which has held a number of official events in support of Huckabee, a “strong leader on behalf of LGBT Americans” and the “most inclusive and inclusive party in the country.””RNC stands firmly behind our LGBTQ communities and we will continue to be committed to working with them in the fight against discrimination and oppression,” McDaniel said.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee also condemned the RNC in a press release.
“There are many Republicans across the country who are fighting for LGBT equality, and in the last few weeks, Mike Huckabee’s remarks about our community have only added to our cause,” NRSC Communications Director Jessica Mack said.