The Log Cabin Republicans of Colorado recently announced that Lady MAGA, a conservative drag artist, will perform at their 10th annual Summer BBQ later this month near Lakewood.
The Log Cabin Republicans are a national organization of Republicans that says it is “dedicated to representing LGBT conservatives and allies.”
Lady MAGA is a character performed by Ryan Woods, who is the president of the Log Cabin Republicans’ Utah chapter.
Woods was featured on Newsmax this January after being fired from his job at Delta Airlines. He claimed that Delta had unfairly discriminated against him for being a Trump supporter.
“I feel it is obvious they began their investigation [about me] the day after the riots while it was socially acceptable to target Trump supporters and claim we’re dangerous,” Woods said.
Lady MAGA’s twitter account has expressed numerous far-right views, including one tweet saying, “The Democrat party is of Satan.”
During his tenure as president of the Log Cabin Republicans of Utah, Woods led his organization in pushing for a bill that would have made it illegal for a doctor to treat transgender children with hormone therapy.
Woods claimed that the effects of puberty blockers on children are “irreversible.”
This runs contrary to a writeup by the Mayo Clinic, which states that “use of [puberty blockers] doesn’t cause permanent changes in an adolescent’s body. Instead, it pauses puberty, providing time to determine if a child’s gender identity is long-lasting. … If an adolescent child stops taking [puberty blockers], puberty will resume.”
The Log Cabin Republicans of Utah also claimed that “the “FDA has documented thousands of deaths linked to puberty-blocking drugs.” However, these deaths belonged not to trans children, but to cancer patients taking hormone-blocking medication as treatment for hormone-sensitive cancers.
The Utah State Legislature ultimately did not pass the bill.
The Lady MAGA Twitter account also argued that nonbinary people should not be allowed to have accurate gender markers on passports and other documents, stating that “Biological sex matters. Countries need to know who is traveling in and out of their borders. Criminals will take advantage of this.”
Beyond anti-trans legislation, several tweets by Lady MAGA reveal anti-vaccine sentiments. One recent tweet said that “the ‘unvaccinated’ are under attack.”
“I promise to teach dance classes in the covid communist camps,” the tweet continued.
Lady MAGA doubled down on this in a later tweet, which stated, “Get out your hiking boots because soon everything else you love to to [sic] will be illegal without the commie jab.”
It is unclear what Woods thinks is “communist” about mandatory COVID vaccinations. For other diseases, vaccinations are already required by several institutions, including colleges, often with exceptions for medical and religious reasons, just as COVID mandates by Colorado colleges have exceptions for medical or religious reasons.
Despite Woods identifying as a gay man, the Lady MAGA account also posted several tweets during pride month this year decrying LGBTQ pride.
“Sexuality isn’t something to be proud of tbh,” one such tweet read. “The goal of gay conservatives is to unite with our fellow Americans and stop division.”
While the tweet claims that there is no reason to be proud of one’s sexuality, the reality is that many LGBTQ people are still forced to feel shame instead. The U.S. government only legalized gay marriage in 2014, and many LGBTQ people still face discrimination based on their identity. A recent study found that 20% of LGBTQ Americans have faced discrimination in the workplace. For LGBTQ people of color, that rate reached 32%.
As of May, 2021 has set a record for the worst year for anti-LGBTQ legislation in the U.S.’s recent history. The law that Woods fought for in the Utah legislature was only one of hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced nationwide, according to PBS.
Some LGBTQ people feel that pride month gives them a rare opportunity to live authentically, according to interviews performed by the Washington Post this year.
Though Woods and the Log Cabin Republicans align themselves with the right wing, it is the Republican party that is most often working to strip away protections for the LGBTQ community.
One Colorado’s 2019 Legislative Scorecard showed that out of all Republican state representatives, only two voted in favor of critical pro-LGBTQ legislation; the rest either voted against all such bills or were excused from a vote.
Colorado Republicans’ record on LGBTQ issues is not exclusively negative, however. While many state senators had equally anti-LGBTQ votes, a handful voted yes on as many as three of the five critical bills. Additionally, in 2020, multiple pro-LGBTQ bills passed with bipartisan support, including a bill making HIV prevention medication more accessible, which was sponsored by state Sen. Kevin Priola (R-Adams).
“One Colorado is proud to be an organization that has worked across the aisle with both Democrats and Republicans for over 10 years on behalf of LGBTQ Coloradans and their families – and continues to do so,” One Colorado told the Colorado Times Recorder. “Our consistent policy efforts towards a fair and just Colorado are the product of successful, bipartisan cooperation.”
An emphasis on nationalism over identity politics, as stressed in the above Lady MAGA tweet, is indicative of a greater political trend by which LGBT identities, in becoming more mainstream, are allowed to assimilate into conservative politics. This phenomenon was termed “homonormativity” by queer feminist Lisa Duggan.
Laura Kacere, a feminist organizer, writes that homonormativity “describes the assumption that queer people want to be a part of the dominant, mainstream, heterosexual culture, and the way in which our society rewards those who do so, identifying them as most worthy and deserving of visibility and rights.”
Many of Lady MAGA’s tweets seem indicative of this desire to abandon the LGBTQ community’s roots in radical activism and join the dominant American culture.
One tweet states that “They [the ‘LGBTQIA+ radical movement’] don’t speak for me.”
Woods is signaling that his concerns are those of many well-off white conservative Americans, not those of the more left-wing LGBTQ supporters.
Kacere writes, “This [homonormative] standard privileges certain experiences — those of White, middle-class, gay, cisgender and gender normative identities — as being representative of all queer experiences.”