Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is the latest 2024 Republican presidential contender to tout his anti-transgender cred in a bid to win over GOP primary voters.
“Look, I have always looked at this traditionally, I am a traditionalist,” he told host Piers Morgan on Fox News, as reported by Janet Nance on her substack. “A woman is someone who is born with that biological gender at birth. I recognize now that there are folks who, you know, feel differently about that. They are free to feel differently about it. I don’t.”
Christie vetoed a bill twice when he was governor that would have made it easier for transgender people to correct the gender markers on their birth certificates, which he brought up in the interview.
“And I confronted the first edge of this when I was governor because the legislature sent me a bill that would allow people to change their gender on their birth certificate,” he said. “I vetoed it.”
His comments are a departure from some he made earlier this year opposing laws that ban gender-affirming care for minors in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
“What I believe we should be focused on most importantly in these issues is making sure there is parental involvement at every step along the way,” Christie said at the time. “I don’t think that the government should ever be stepping into the place of the parents in helping to move their children through a process where those children are confused or concerned about their gender.”
“I just would say that parents are the people who are best positioned to make these judgments. So, what I’d like to make sure the state does is require that parents be involved in these decisions,” he continued. “Folks who are under the age of 18 should have parental support and guidance and love as they make all of the key decisions of their life, and this should not be one that’s excluded by the government in any way.”
As the 2024 presidential election and its primaries shape up to be one of the most anti-LGBTQ+ – and specifically anti-transgender – elections in U.S. history, the GOP contenders are tripping over themselves to prove that they hate transgender people more than their competitors.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), currently in second place in the polls, has seen his campaign and a supporting PAC release several videos discussing his history of taking rights away from transgender and LGBTQ+ people while using a few older quotations from Donald Trump to make it seem like the most anti-transgender president in American history is secretly a supporter of transgender equality.
Trump – who banned transgender people from openly serving in the military, opposed the Equality Act, and rolled back protections for transgender students when he was in the White House – has been calling LGBTQ+ people “sickos” in speeches and promised to use his power if he wins “to stop the perverted sexualization of minor children,” which is a conservative expression that includes everything from letting kids know that some of their friends have two moms or two dads to allowing trans teens to live as their gender and not force them to present as their sex assigned at birth.
Even the third-tier candidates have felt the need to prove they oppose transgender equality. Mike Pence made it a point to say that he would “protect kids from the radical gender ideology” – which means “keep kids from knowing that trans people exist” in conservative-speak – and promised to ban puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy, even though they’ve been shown to reduce lifelong suicide risk for transgender people and are supported by mainstream medical organizations.
Former Trump administration official Nikki Haley has been trying to make her mark in the debate by accusing transgender girls of making cisgender girls suicidal.
“How are we supposed to get our girls used to the fact that biological boys are in their locker rooms? And then we wonder why a third of our teenage girls seriously contemplated suicide last year. We should be growing strong girls, confident girls,” she said at a CNN town hall event in June.
Even longshot candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said that transgender people are causing “confusion” among young people, which is “creating more gender dysphoria.”
“We’ve created a culture that teaches parents that they’re being bigoted or that they’re bad people if they don’t actually take those steps to support their transgender children,” he said in an NBC News interview in April.