Last week, from Thursday, October 13 through Saturday, October 15 the anti-LGBT hate group Family Research Council put on its annual Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC., A prime networking event for the Christian right where anti-LGBT and anti-Muslim rhetoric is rife, this year’s summit welcomed its first sitting president as a speaker, Donald Trump.
Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway, Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon and former Trump deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka all addressed the crowd, thanking the Christian evangelical audience for having put Trump in power.
A three-times Values Voter speaker, Trump has long been courting the support of the Christian evangelical right. The Trump administration’s explicit hostility to LGBT rights, in the name of religious freedom, has in part earned the president the unabashed support of the Values Voter attendees.
The Values Voter Summit has historically served as a meeting place for anti-LGBT groups and individuals, and this year is no exception. On Saturday, at a panel entitled “Transgender Ideology in Public Schools: Parents Fight Back,” speakers took turns offering strategies to defeat trans-friendly measures passed by various school boards.
The panel focused on Fairfax County’s school board (the 10th largest school district in the country), and its measure to add “gender identity” to their nondiscrimination policy in May 2015. The measure soon faced roiling opposition from anti-LGBT groups across the country: it was challenged in court by Andrea Lafferty, president of the anti-LGBT hate group Traditional Values Coalition,, who was represented by anti-LGBT hate group Liberty Counsel. The case was deemed to have no standing by the Virginia Supreme Court in April 2017.
The lessons from Fairfax were at the center of Saturday’s panel, with two of the panel members affiliated with Fairfax County: the first, Elisabeth Schulz, was the lone no vote on the Fairfax County school board, while the other, Meg Kilgannon is the executive director of Concerned Parents and Educators of Fairfax County.
Passing as Progressive, Feminist, and LGB-Friendly
As Right Wing Watch also mentioned in their coverage of the same panel, a trend emerged during the session, as various speakers wrapped their opposition to nondiscrimination measures in rhetoric passing as progressive: transgender rights were depicted as anti-feminist, hostile to minorities and even disrespectful to LGB individuals. This seems to be part of a larger strategy, meant to weaken transgender rights advocates by attempting to separate them from their allies, feminists and LGBT rights advocates.