During this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Daily Wire commentator Michael Knowles called for the "eradication" of "transgenderism" during a speech at the conference on Saturday.
This is far from the only time that Knowles has called for "transgenderism" to be stamped out, but it is notable that he did so in front of such a large audience.
During his speech, he said:
"transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely. The whole preposterous ideology, at every level."
For obvious reasons, many consider Knowles' rhetoric here to be genocidal in nature, calling for the "eradication" of an entire group of people. Knowles had an argument ready for those, however, as he said on his show:
"I don’t know how you could have a genocide of transgender people because genocide refers to genes, it refers to genetics, it refers to biology. And the whole point of transgenderism is that it has nothing to do with biology."
Knowles also felt the need to clarify that he thinks that being trans is "not a legitimate category of being."
"Nobody’s calling to exterminate anybody because the other problem with that statement is that transgender people is not a real ontological category. It’s not a legitimate category of being."
Media Matters' Ari Drennen had a direct rebuttal for Knowles' harmful and baseless rhetoric, which she shared via TikTok and Twitter.
Drennen started the video with a bit of backstory explaining the situation.
"Daily Wire host Michael Knowles went viral over the weekend for a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference that repeated his previous remarks."
The video then shows a clip of Knowles' speech at CPAC and his statement that "transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely."
Drennen then continued, next talking about Knowles' attempts to prevent news outlets from accurately talking about his comments.
"Members of the Republican Party, including Senator Mike Lee, were quick to defend Knowles — arguing that the speech was a call to eliminate an ideology rather than a group of people."
"Threats of lawsuits from The Daily Wire forced several news outlets including Rolling Stone, The Daily Beast, and The Huffington Post to adjust their headlines to accommodate Knowles' argument."
Drennen had some criticism for news outlets too.
"And giving in to the threat of a lawsuit here is more than just cowardly, it helps anti-trans bigots reduce the very existence of our community to a matter of ideological disagreement."
She went on to clarify the real goal of those spouting anti-trans rhetoric like Knowles':
"Make no mistake: All of this quibbling is a ridiculous smokescreen meant to obscure the fact that the Republican Party's agenda for America is a country where nobody is openly trans."
"This isn't about protecting children, or sports, or detransitioners, or trans people. It is about forcing every single one of us into hiding or worse."
"We represent a complication in the world that authoritarian minds cannot handle."
"If Knowles had instead called for the eradication of Judaism, or Mormonism, or Catholicism, or any other small population within the United States, nobody would pretend that they did not understand what he meant by it.
Drennen ended with a simple statement of fact:
"So let me make one thing clear: You will never eradicate transgenderism. You will never eradicate trans people. We are sand between your fingers."
"We will forge our own identification, brew our own hormones, choose our own names."
"We were here long before you were born. And long after you have departed this earth, an angry failure, we will remain — living our own lives and telling our own stories."
The reaction to Drennen's video was incredibly positive, with the exception of a few trolls, in stark contrast to the general reactions to Knowles' statements.
Knowles is far from the only person on the right calling for the curtailing of LGBTQ+ rights. Multiple states have recently passed laws limiting rights for transgender people to access gender-affirming care or even just to exist in public as openly transgender people.