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Right-wing media melt down over Easter and Trans Day of Visibility falling on the same day

Alleging “spiritual war” and “demonic” influence, right-wing pundits and Republican politicians falsely claim Biden declared Trans Day of Visibility on Easter as an insult to Christians

Content warning: This article includes repeated references to anti-trans slurs.

President Joe Biden recognized March 31 as Trans Day of Visibility, an occasion to celebrate the lives and contributions of trans people that falls on the same day every year. Because March 31 this year was also the Christian holiday of Easter, right-wing media falsely claimed that it was “a deliberate and satanic mockery of God Himself on the holiest day of the year,” and launched into a frenzy of dehumanizing rhetoric against trans people. 

Conservative commentators and some Republican politicians suggested support for trans inclusion is “demonic” and “satanic,” while other right-wing figures mocked Trans Day of Visibility, using anti-trans slurs online and falsely claiming that former first lady Michelle Obama is trans.

  • After Biden recognized Trans Day of Visibility, right-wing media and Republicans falsely claimed it was an intentional insult to Christians

    • International Transgender Day of Visibility has taken place annually on March 31 for the last 15 years to celebrate transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals, and as Reuters noted, the holiday “was not designed intentionally to fall on Easter Sunday as claimed by some." Additionally, Vanity Fair’s Brian Stelter pointed out that “Biden has issued presidential proclamations on Trans Day of Visibility for all four years of his presidency. This year, it just happens to coincide with Easter, which is causing bad faith actors to post stuff like this instead of Googling what I just googled.” (Next year, Easter occurs on April 20.) [Reuters, 3/29/24; Advocate, 3/31/24; Twitter/X, 3/30/24]
    • Trans people continue to be at risk of violence, perpetuated by right-wing pundits and anti-trans legislation. While the death of trans high schooler Nex Benedict captured headlines in recent weeks, he is just one of at least five confirmed transgender or gender-nonconforming victims of fatal violence since the year began. Trans people are over four times more likely to suffer from violent assault than their peers. Violence and harassment often follow inflammatory claims from right-wing pundits and influencers such as Libs of TikTok’s Chaya Raichik, who push for anti-trans legislation and create an atmosphere of hostility. [Media Matters, 3/14/24, 11/02/23, 2/28/24; Human Rights Campaign, accessed 4/1/24; Williams Institute, 3/23/2021]
    • As Christian nationalism has gained popularity in the Republican Party, right-wing media personalities have increasingly spread rhetoric about “demonic” and “satanic” influence and so-called “spiritual war” as a tool to attack trans people in particular. Right-wing commentators have adopted such rhetoric to label progressive-coded issues such as abortion, LGBTQ people, and surrogacy as “demonic.” Last year, for example, then-Daily Wire personality Candace Owens called trans people “demons in our society.” Religious scholar Matthew Taylor has warned that such rhetoric risks inciting violence by depicting the right’s perceived opponents as “literally dehumanized & recast as the puppets of demons.” [Media Matters, 7/5/23, 12/7/23, 5/25/23; Twitter/X, 3/22/24, 3/22/24; Yahoo News, 2/16/23]
  • Right-wing media personalities and some Republican politicians pushed rhetoric about “demonic” influence and “spiritual war” in response to Biden recognizing Trans Day of Visibility

    • Daily Wire host Matt Walsh, a self-described “theocratic fascist,” wrote that Biden recognizing Trans Day of Visibility “is so outrageously evil,” adding, “This man is a demon.” [Media Matters, 8/7/19; Twitter/X, 3/30/24]
    • Former college swimmer turned anti-trans pundit Riley Gaines declared that the Biden administration “is evil, demonic, and wicked,” adding, “How can anyone deny that these battles are spiritual battles? The Bible warned us of this.” Gaines recently said that “of all the things to be called, I don't think a Christian nationalist is a bad thing.” [Twitter/X, 3/30/24, 3/30/24; Media Matters, 6/13/23; Victory Channel, FlashPoint, 2/1/24]
    • Fox host Laura Ingraham called the move to recognize Trans Day of Visibility on Easter Sunday “demonic,” claiming the left is “purposefully confusing children and affirming this confusion.” Ingraham’s guest, former NFL player Jack Brewer, agreed that it was “demonic” and lamented that “we’ve removed prayer from schools, we don't have the Ten Commandments in the schools anymore,” so “these kids don't have a fear of God.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 4/1/24]
  • Video file

    Citation From the April 1, 2024, edition of Fox News' The Ingraham Angle 

    • Newsmax host Eric Bolling asserted that Biden recognizing Trans Day of Visibility was evidence of a “spiritual war,” and complained “that transgenders are celebrated, told they're welcomed and accepted to be who they are.” Bolling said that “this is an all-out attack on Christian faith,” and questioned, “What message does it send to our young children who are not confused about their gender, but are Christian? That transgenders are celebrated, told they're welcomed and accepted to be who they are and allowed to express themselves as they want? Meanwhile, the Biden White House tells young boys and girls that they can’t express their faith on the most important Christian holy day.” [Newsmax, Eric Bolling The Balance, 4/1/24]
  • Video file

    Citation From the April 1, 2024, edition of Newsmax's Eric Bolling The Balance

    • On Fox News’ The Five, co-host Jesse Watters suggested that the Biden administration is “waging spiritual warfare against Christianity.” [Fox News, The Five, 4/1/24]
    • Right-wing radio host and former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis shared an article about Biden recognizing Trans Day of Visibility and wrote: “They are the Devil’s workmen.” [Twitter/X, 3/30/24]
    • Responding to Biden recognizing Trans Day of Visibility, The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis wrote that “this regime is evil and demonic.” [Twitter/X, 3/30/24]
    • Right-wing personality and Christian nationalist pastor Sean Feucht, who is connected to high-profile Republican politicians, declared that the proclamation is a “warning” to Christians to “completely separate yourselves from this demonic, blasphemous administration. They are evil.” [Twitter/X, 3/30/24; Media Matters, 9/14/23]
    • Frequent Fox News guest and Trump ally Monica Crowley wrote that Biden’s proclamation is evidence of “spiritual war.” Crowley, the former assistant secretary of public affairs for the Treasury Department in the Trump administration, has a history of virulent anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. [Twitter/X, 3/30/24; GLAAD, 4/21/23]
    • Anti-trans pundit Robby Starbuck wrote that “Biden is telling America that Easter is a day to celebrate transgenders. … This is a spiritual war.” [Twitter/X, 3/30/24]
    • Right-wing media personality Chad Prather declared that Trans Day of Visibility is a “woke, IMAGINARY, demonic holiday,” adding, “It is a DISGRACE to put a ‘TRANSGENDER DAY OF VISIBILITY’ on Easter of all days.” [Twitter/X, 3/30/24]
    • Salem Media host Eric Metaxas wrote: “The deeply evil thing Joe Biden has done in declaring today “Trans Visibility Day” is a deliberate and satanic mockery of God Himself on the holiest day of the year.” Metaxas warned, “We have NEVER seen brazen evil like this from any US leader. A line has been crossed. God is a judge. Stay tuned.” [Twitter/X, 3/31/24]
    • On X (formerly Twitter), Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) responded to Biden’s support for Trans Day of Visibility by calling the Democratic Party “a Satanic cult.” [Twitter/X, 3/30/24]
    • Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters declared that it’s “Demonic to do this on Easter but that’s exactly the point. They want to destroy Christianity and destroy our country.” After the death of trans high schooler Nex Benedict in Oklahoma, Walters came under fire for “a number of actions” that GLAAD argues “call into question his ability to properly lead Oklahoma’s students.” [Twitter/X, 3/30/24; GLAAD, 3/12/24]
    • In an interview on Fox Business, Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) responded to Biden recognizing Trans Day of Visibility by asserting, “We are in a spiritual war in our country.” [Fox News, 4/1/24]
  • Other right-wing figures lamented Trans Day of Visibility by espousing slurs and debunked conspiracy theories

    • Donald Trump Jr. posted a meme on Instagram that suggested Michelle Obama is trans, a longstanding and baseless anti-trans conspiracy theory. [Instagram, 3/31/24; USA Today, 8/25/17; Newsweek, 1/25/23]
    • Right-wing influencer account Wall Street Silver posted a picture of Michelle Obama and wrote “Happy Transgender Day of Visibility.” [Twitter/X, 3/30/24]
    • On Fox News, right-wing host Dana Loesch said the Biden White House “tried to use a mental illness to troll Christians on Easter.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 4/1/24]
    • Anti-LGBTQ account “Gays Against Groomers” posted, “There is no need for Transgender Day of Visibility,” adding, “What happened to wanting to integrate into society?” [Twitter/X, 3/30/24]
    • Right-wing personalities The Hodgetwins posted an anti-trans slur while attacking Trans Day of Visibility, adding: “I guess Easter is cancelled this year.” [Twitter/X, 3/30/24]
    • Right-wing pundit Tim Young posted that “April Fools Day should be declared ‘Trans Day of Visibility.’ That would make perfect sense.” [Twitter/X, 4/1/24]
    • Right-wing influencer Carpe Donktum, real name Logan Cook, posted: “Pretending that Christianity can be anything other than offensive to a fallen world is what got us T––––– Day on Easter.” [Twitter/X, 3/30/24]
    • Bigoted commentator Ian Smith repeated the anti-trans Michelle Obama conspiracy theory and posted “Happy trans visibility day.” [Twitter/X, 3/31/24; Media Matters, 10/16/23]
    • Right-wing personality Juanita Broaddrick referred to Trans Day of Visibility as “Biden’s t––––– trash day.” [Twitter/X, 3/30/24]