Why Won’t Tucker Carlson Say If He’s Taken the Vaccine? We’re Just Asking Questions

Illustration for article titled Why Won’t Tucker Carlson Say If He’s Taken the Vaccine? We’re Just Asking Questions

Photo: Chip Somodevilla (Getty Images)

Fox News host Tucker Carlson has spent the last few months of his show just asking questions about the coronavirus vaccines—you know, the kind of disingenuous, false pretense questions deliberately designed to undermine public confidence in the safety and efficacy of vaccines rather than get any answers. He also won’t say whether he’s gotten the jab himself or not.

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Carlson has gone to bat for anti-vaxxers, claiming that they’re not science denialists but truthseekers being unfairly banned from social media for questioning Democratic politicians and other conveniently unspecified powerful individuals. Those attacks have considerably ramped up after Joe Biden became president and most recently culminated in a segment last Wednesday where Carlson falsely interpreted data submitted to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to imply the vaccines had killed thousands of people. (Exhaustively going through his claims would be pointless, as Carlson isn’t arguing in good faith. But to summarize, the VAERS data he referred to consists of unverified reports of what may only possibly be vaccine side effects, disregarding the fact that there is no evidence the deaths are actually connected to vaccines. And he’s ignoring the reality that at least some of the 58 percent or so of adults in the U.S. who have received at least one shot were statistically guaranteed to kick the bucket because to live is to die.)

The vaccine reporting system isn’t perfect, and the mRNA vaccines currently being used to fight the novel coronavirus do have side effects. But that doesn’t change the fact that medical researchers and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been clear that evidence shows the vaccines are effective and safe, outside of extremely rare reports of a blood-clotting disorder associated with the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson versions. This brings us back to the question of whether Carlson has gotten the shot, something he has been conspicuously silent about.

“Yeah, so I think he’s really a saboteur,” George Washington University medical professor and CNN contributor Dr. Jonathan Reiner told CNN’s Jim Acosta on Sunday. “That’s what I think of Tucker Carlson.”

“Every night he has a million questions about this vaccine. Somehow, magically, he has no one on his show that can answer these questions — I’m willing to answer these questions,” Reiner added. “… I have two questions for Tucker Carlson. Number one, you have been vaccinated? Number two, why won’t you tell your audience whether you have been vaccinated? I am tired of his nonsense.”

Of course, Carlson may have swallowed his own bullshit instead of a Pfizer special—who’s to say? But if he truly believes the vaccines are dangerous and isn’t just, say, pandering to an extreme, capricious, and gullible audience that is fond of throwing their own to the wolves at the merest hint of violating ideological orthodoxy and also happens to fund his mansions, it’s a bit weird he hasn’t said so, no? Maybe he thinks that coming out and saying it would ruin his puppet-show pretext of journalistic neutrality.

The other possibility is that Carlson has actually received the vaccine, but goes on Fox News to spew various conspiracy theories and pseudoscientific lies about them because he’s confident his audience is stupid enough to lick it all up. That would be awkward for the Fox host, mostly because he’s spent his entire career railing about the perceived hypocrisy of media elites. This would also be, by far, the simplest explanation as to why he’s dodging the subject.

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A third possibility is that Carlson is going to come out during some upcoming edition of his show and address the issue, pretending it’s no big deal and turning it into some kind of morality fable where he’s the victim of some media witch hunt. He did the same thing after reports the website he founded, the Daily Caller, hired neo-Nazis, and that one of the top writers for his Fox show had been posting racist and misogynist comments online for years. If that’s the case, we’re sure Carlson thinks his plan is very clever.

Insider reached out to Fox on Monday to see whether Carlson, like his co-hosts on Fox & Friends, has in fact received the vaccine. They didn’t receive a response. Gizmodo has also asked Fox for comment. We’ll update if we hear back, though we fully expect the coward’s response—silence.

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The Weird, Unholy Alliance of Tucker Carlson and Environmentalists

Illustration for article titled The Weird, Unholy Alliance of Tucker Carlson and Environmentalists

Photo: Richard Drew (AP)

Tucker Carlson has used his platform to, among other things, undermine climate science and lie about renewable energy. Yet last week, he put out an impassioned plea to save the Maine woods, claiming that “real environmentalists” should oppose a power line connecting Quebec hydropower to the U.S. Bizarrely, he and the Sierra Club are on the same page.

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The segment and the alignment with traditional environmental groups paint a picture of how complex renewable energy projects can be for local communities—and what the upcoming culture war over renewables might look like.

The project that attracted Carlson’s wrath is a proposed 145-mile (233-kilometer) transmission line owned by local power company Central Maine Power that is intended to connect hydropower produced in Canada to the grid in Massachusetts, all in the service of helping the state meet its ambitious climate goals. Construction began in February despite numerous legal challenges from green groups and a bitter public relations war that has dragged on for years in the state.

The tone of Carlson’s segment is over-the-top dramatic, often in an unintentionally funny way. Most of it is set over a soundtrack of racing violins or pounding drums. At one point, the camera zooms in on an animal skull below footage of powerlines, as if to suggest instant death from coming into contact with a transmission line—which, in case you need reminding, are pretty normal pieces of the energy grid. The segment also seems tailor-made to appeal to people in the region. One of the interviewees is filmed in what looks like a woodland lodge bar that prominently displays a bottle of Allen’s Coffee Brandy and a can of Moxie—two drinks produced in Maine and beloved by Mainers—on the bar next to him in the shot. Another says that “there is no doubt Tom Brady is the GOAT” in a seemingly completely unrelated aside during his interview.

“The whole state of Maine will become an ugly place” with the project, one of the interviewees tells Carlson.

While this dramatic production may seem funny, it also paints a picture of how aggressive opposition to new renewable energy projects can be even though many are relatively innocuous pieces of infrastructure in the grand scheme of things—and are necessary to avert catastrophic climate change. And yet—I can’t believe I’m saying this—tone aside, Carlson does a not-terrible job of laying out some of the facts of the case. He describes the environmental issues with the proposed corridor, including how it endangers what’s among the most robust natural habitat for the trout in the U.S., as well as the failure to consult with local communities. He even technically gives the emissions calculations of the project a (very small) sliver of airtime: The segment addresses the facts that cutting down trees eliminates their ability to sequester carbon and that the reservoirs that form behind hydropower dams emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

These issues are key reasons why environmental groups have opposed the transmission project as well, including that the project wouldn’t reduce overall emissions but rather just ship clean power that would’ve been used elsewhere to Massachusetts.

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“This is a shell game,” said Sue Ely, a staff attorney at Natural Resources Council of Maine. “It’s not renewable energy, it doesn’t help Maine’s renewable energy industry, and it’s very damaging to Maine’s environment.”

NRCM filed a lawsuit last fall with the Sierra Club challenging the federal government’s environmental impact review of the project. Indeed, what’s riled up most local opposition—and what Carlson’s report focused on—is the project’s proposal to clear 53 miles (85 kilometers) of new transmission corridor in Maine’s North Woods, a 3.5 million acre chunk of wildland that borders Canada. The North Woods is the biggest undeveloped forest in the eastern U.S., and makes up more the half the state itself. It’s also a big economic driver for a state that’s been struggling in the post-industrial era, with a thriving timber industry and thousands of visitors each year. Tourism is an enormous sector of Maine’s economy; rafting, snowmobiling, and camping are all prominent sources of revenue in the North Woods that would be negatively impacted by visible power lines.

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“There are tons of transmission corridors in the state, but CMP snaked this line right in between the protected areas,” said Ely. “They slalomed through it.”

A spokesperson for Clean Energy Matters, the CMP-owned lobbying organization for the project, said in an email that these claims “were presented to and ultimately rejected by the Maine Public Utilities Commission and Massachusetts regulators.” (The group also said in a statement to the Bangor Daily News that CMP wasn’t allowed to participate in the Carlson segment, and that producers used stock footage and “false descriptions” of the project.)

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Even before Carlson—who owns a home in Maine and has even broadcast his show from the state—showed up with his cameras, there was plenty of mudslinging around the corridor project to be had on both sides. Clean Energy Matters has spent nearly $20 million in advertising on a pro-corridor campaign. Both groups like NRCM and the Sierra Club as well as Carlson in his segment repeatedly refer to CMP as “foreign-owned” (CMP is owned by Connecticut-based Avangrid, which, in turn, is owned by the Spanish energy giant Iberdrola)—a term that’s been used in other energy fights to stoke xenophobic fears and images of foreigner stealing American jobs.

The spokesperson for Clean Energy Matters pointed out in an email to Earther that some opposition efforts to the corridor project “are funded by three corporations with oil, natural gas, and nuclear generating stations in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.” Those companies are Calpine, Vistra, and NextEra, which have poured their own millions into advertising campaigns against the project. Clean Energy Matters has also attacked NRCM for what it says are ties to natural gas groups after NRCM got a donation from an anti-corridor group with murky funders.

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“It’s so vicious,” Ely said of the fight. “It really hardens people.”

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And, like many local fights, the actual issues at hand—lowering greenhouse gas emissions and figuring out how to best fit renewables into the local landscape—seem to be getting lost in the brawl. Caratunk, a 68-person town along the proposed transmission line’s route, had been working with NextEra on installing a proposed 150-megawatt solar farm. The chair of Caratunk’s selectboard said in a 2018 letter to the Maine Public Utilities Commission that the CMP corridor project would prevent the development of this project and potentially other local renewables projects in the area. The selectboard chair appeared in the Carlson segment as a voice of local opposition, with no mention of the alternative solar project. While there’s a chance the selectboard chair didn’t bring up the project with producers, it’s not out of the question to think that Carlson’s team didn’t want to spotlight how opponents of the “green energy scam,” as they called the CMP project, might be in favor of other renewable energy ventures in Maine.

The brook trout in the North Woods—or the lobster in the Gulf of Maine or any of the state’s other ecosystems for that matter—can’t hang on much longer if our planet keeps baking at the rate it’s going. Weighed out on a cosmic scale, if cutting 53 miles through a pristine section of woods could help an enormous energy-using state keep its emissions down, it might be worth it, despite the big local tradeoffs. That seems to be the attitude of some conservation and environment groups in the state who have begrudgingly signaled their support—or, at least, the end to their opposition—for the project in recent weeks.

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I asked Ely about this challenge. If the CMP project was bringing a completely uncontested source of renewable power into New England—or, perhaps, if a transmission line through the North Woods could be connected to a renewable project that serves Maine and creates renewable energy jobs in the state—would the green groups be so opposed? She sighed.

“I have felt really fortunate in this fight that I have not had to answer that question—it’s a really good question,” she said. “In Maine, if we really want to do what our governor says—reach net zero by 2045, reduce our emissions by 80% by 2050—it’s going to require this massive buildout of renewable energy resources and a massive electrification of everything we can possibly electrify. We need to grow our grid somewhere in the ballpark of three times, and that is going to require building these massive transmission structures. And this anti-transmission line fervor is really going to hinder our ability to reach our clean energy goals.”

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It’s that fervor Carlson seems intent on stoking, though based on his past body of work, it’s for reasons likely less in line with those of local environmental group.

“This corridor is more than an energy project—it’s an attack against rural America and the people who live there,” Carlson said in his segment. That is, of course, untrue, but he’s setting the stage for his audience to view all renewable energy projects with skepticism and as an attack on the environment. If conversations around renewable projects can’t stay honest—and if big companies that plan to profit off the energy transition don’t start thinking about the local impacts of what they’re doing—there will be plenty of fodder for the culture war to come.

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Matt Gaetz Reportedly Fought a Revenge Porn Law to Protect His Stash

Illustration for article titled Matt Gaetz Reportedly Fought a Revenge Porn Law to Protect His Stash

Photo: Samuel Corum (Getty Images)

An update on the metastasizing horrors from the ongoing saga of U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican reportedly under investigation for sex trafficking: It’s not looking great.

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On Monday, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Gaetz fiercely opposed a revenge porn law while in the Florida legislature. Why? Gaetz allegedly personally wished to do whatever he wanted with his stash of revenge porn. Truly sadistic. Very consistent.

Here’s former Florida Rep. Tom Goodson on Gaetz’s qualms with the 2015 legislation, which Gaetz allegedly brought up in a meeting:

Matt was absolutely against it. He thought the picture was his to do with what he wanted. He thought that any picture was his to use as he wanted to, as an expression of his rights.

This foul out-loud alleged admission to colleagues in a professional setting is borderline incriminating. Gaetz reportedly argued that he should be able to share sexually explicit images without the victims’ consent, while the argument before him was that doing so should be criminal. At the time, in some other states, sharing these sorts of images with intent to harm already could have landed him in jail. Gaetz was reportedly one of only two state representatives to vote against the law.

Then again, this is the kind of man-Klingon who refers to sex work as “pay for play,” the greasiest kind of client lingo.

Goodson doesn’t explicitly say that Gaetz wanted to share this type of explicit imagery, but CNN has reported that he has, including “while on the House floor.”

Not only did Gaetz allegedly pass his phone around, but CNN reported that he displayed the images as trophies:

The sources, including two people directly shown the material, said Gaetz displayed the images of women on his phone and talked about having sex with them. One of the videos showed a naked woman with a hula hoop, according to one source.

“It was a point of pride,” one of the sources said of Gaetz.

The Sentinel also reports that Gaetz likely stonewalled anti-revenge porn advocates’ broadly supported, years-long attempts to get a state law on the books. In 2014, the Florida state senate unanimously passed legislation to outlaw non-consensual sharing of sexually explicit images. A committee Gaetz chaired never gave it a hearing, according to the Sentinel.

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It’s usually a bad sign when 6-year-old commentary resurfaces, but we’re interested now because the professional equivalent of a 4chan shitposter has spent the past few weeks furiously denying that he had sex with a 17-year-old. Those and allegations that Gaetz paid for her travel have reportedly launched a federal sex trafficking probe by the Justice Department. The New York Times has reported that investigators also have reason to believe that Gaetz paid for sex with women trafficked by erstwhile Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg. Greenberg has been charged with 14 federal offenses, including sex trafficking a minor. Gaetz is so toxic that even Tucker Carlson appears to want a 10-foot pole.

As we’ve reported here, successfully suing people like Gaetz for sharing and exploiting nonconsensual images often demands sorting out jurisdiction and proving intent. Many victims decide to settle rather than go through re-traumatizing litigation. In the absence of federal regulation, pending possible developments, Gaetz’s constituents have to rely on weak state law because this man allegedly defends his personal right to hoard images of women he considered conquests.

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One avenue to remedying nonconsensual sharing of explicit images is to pursue a copyright claim. Gaetz is on the House Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and The Internet.

Gaetz’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On Monday, the Washington Examiner published Gaetz’s case for himself, in which he lobbed vague accusations of a conspiracy by “the swamp.” He denied that he has ever exchanged money for sex or committed statutory rape and followed that with: “And no, I am absolutely not resigning.”

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Dominion Comes for Fox News

Illustration for article titled Dominion Comes for Fox News

Screenshot: Lou Dobbs on Twitter

Dominion Voting Systems, the company which supplied voting machines for the 2020 election, has slapped Fox News with a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit. In a 443-page complaint, published by the Associated Press, the company provides reams of evidence that Fox broadcast Twitter-sourced conspiracy theories about the machines in the full knowledge that the claims were disproven. It’s requesting damages for, among other things, security expenses for siccing the hounds on the company, which claims its employees have received death threats.

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It’s also seeking damages for lost profits and enterprise value and expenses for combatting misinformation. The lawsuit adds to three previous over-billion-dollar lawsuits against Rudy Giuliani, Trump lawyer and QAnon adherent Sidney Powell, and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who’ve all spread baseless lies on Fox, often without pushback.

For instance, Fox Business Network anchor Maria Bartiromo trotted out Sidney Powell, who shared the unproven claim that Democrats conjured “massive numbers” of votes from dead people. “They had this all planned, Maria. They had the algorithms,” she said, referencing the bogus Democrat-Dominion conspiracy.

“Sidney, these are incredible charges that you are making this morning,” Bartiromo remarked. “We, of course, will be following this.”

Mike Lindell claimed to Tucker Carlson: Dominion “hired hit groups, bots and trolls” to take down MyPillow and then added: “We have all the evidence…I dare Dominion to sue me because then it will get out faster. So this is — it — you know, they don‘t— they don‘t want to talk about it.”

Carlson: “No they don‘t.”

Sean Hannity, giving Powell a little wink to spread her Dominion lies: “I have gone over everything I have been able to find out, nobody liked Dominion Voting Systems. Nobody. The professor. The three Democrats. The State of Texas. They had problems in Georgia. The New York Times. The AP. Why would we use a system that everybody agreed sucked or had problems is beyond me.”

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Jeanine Pirro, blowing past publicly-available information: “The President’s lawyers alleging a company called Dominion, which they say started in Venezuela with Cuban money, and with the assistance of Smartmatic software, a backdoor is capable of flipping votes…These are serious allegations, but the media has no interest in any of this.” Dominion states numerous times in the complaint that it is not affiliated with competitor Smartmatic and that Dominion was founded in Toronto.

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Dominion concludes that Fox sent in the clowns because its ratings had tanked after it called the election for Biden, and Trump ordered followers to abandon the network. “In the face of intense backlash and viewers beginning to flee to rival networks, Fox understood that it needed to embrace and amplify the lies that had begun to circulate about Dominion,” the complaint reads. It continues:

To fan the flames, Fox turned to Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, neither of whom were official White House spokespeople and both of whom were promoting a baseless defamatory campaign against Dominion, claiming that the election had been stolen by vote-flipping algorithms in Dominion machines that had been created in Venezuela to rig elections for Hugo Chávez. As Fox well knew, Powell and Giuliani were facially unreliable sources and their claims were ludicrous, inherently improbable, and technologically impossible. Powell was and is such an obviously unreliable source—and her claims about Dominion were so inherently improbable and outlandish—that those very same lies resulted in Tucker Carlson publicly mocking her for failing to produce evidence to support them. In private, Lou Dobbs himself “raised questions about Powell’s claims to others.”

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And here’s Lou Dobbs calling Powell a “great American,” asking her where a fancifully “removed” “Dominion server” is located, which makes absolutely no sense:

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Dominion says that the lies not only damaged its reputation but that the conspiracy theories fueled personal attacks, so much so that it encouraged employees to work from home and “protect their social media profiles” against persistent threats of violence. It quotes tweets from now-deactivated Twitter accounts, such as:

GOP DEALS IN FACTS … AND JUDGE PIRRO IS SUCH EMBODIMENT OF INTEGRITY … devilocrats and lucifers msm and dominion voter fraud will not see the light of day in TRUMP‘S WHITE HOUSE, !

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And:

Obvious fraud corrupt election, eye witnesses, computer science experts, tech experts testifying about corrupt dominion voting machines and smartmatic software, a 12th grader can see what‘s going on, the only thing transparent about this election is the fraud, to quote Lou Dobbs!

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Fox is facing a separate $2.7 billion lawsuit by unaffiliated voting system Smartmatic and filed motions to dismiss along with Maria Bartiromo, Judge Jeanine Pirro, and former host Lou Dobbs.

Smartmatic similarly alleged that “Fox joined the conspiracy to defame and disparage Smartmatic and its election technology and software.” Fox noticeably didn’t refute the charge that it broadcast false claims, but only shared “matters of public concern.”

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In a statement shared with Gizmodo regarding the Dominion suit, Fox wrote: “FOX News Media is proud of our 2020 election coverage, which stands in the highest tradition of American journalism, and will vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit in court.”

Dominion’s attorneys were not immediately available for comment.

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These Girls Just Wanted to Run; the Right Wanted a War

As a young girl in the small town of Cromwell, Connecticut, all Andraya Yearwood wanted to do was run. Born into a family that prized athleticism, she dabbled in soccer, basketball, football, and dance as a child. But one day in the sixth grade, she saw older students running around the track oval, and she was hooked. She pictured herself, like them, flying on two fast feet. In the seventh and eighth grades, Andraya competed on her school’s boys track and field team, but that increasingly felt wrong. From an early age, Andraya had been drawn to her mom’s heels, to wearing skirts and wigs with long hair. It was a therapist in middle school who gave her the words to understand who she always had been, a girl who was transgender. When she entered high school in the fall of 2016, she wanted to run on the girls’ team. She was a girl, after all. She knew that, and now she wanted the world, or at least a slightly bigger world beyond her family, her friends, and her school to acknowledge that too.

Andraya was lucky to live in Connecticut. In a report published in 2010, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Women’s Sports Foundation had recommended that trans high school students be allowed to play on teams that matched their gender identity, without any need to change their birth certificate or to undergo medical transition. But rules governing the participation of trans athletes in high school sports, which are largely determined by each state’s high school athletics association, are a patchwork that tend to reflect the dominant political leanings of each state. If Andraya had lived in a state like Kentucky, which demands that trans students undergo gender reassignment surgery in order to compete according to their gender identity, it would have been, practically speaking, impossible for her to join the girls’ team. But Connecticut’s policy, which was changed in 2013, allowed athletes to participate on teams that matched their gender identity, with no barriers like a requirement to medically or physically transition, though Andraya would start hormone therapy shortly after entering high school.

Now 19, she remembers her first track meet as a freshman on the girls’ team in the spring of 2017. “I felt very liberated, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders,” she told Jezebel. “I was finally able to compete as who I knew that I was.” Thinking back to that day, when she won both the 100-meter and 200-meter dash, her long braids tied in a ponytail, still brings a smile to her face. But it was also that day, at her very first meet in high school, when Andraya had her first inkling that she would be seen as someone more than just a good runner. The Hartford Courant, her small state’s biggest newspaper, had sent a reporter to write about her. “Even during the interview, it hadn’t hit me that what I was doing was so controversial,” she said.

That would become apparent to her soon enough. A few months later, shortly after Andraya placed third in the state’s girls’ outdoor 100-meter competition, the rightwing outrage machine zeroed in on the then-15-year-old as its next target. The New York Post and newspapers in the U.K., where a rabid transphobia pushed by groups like Fair Play for Women was flourishing, began writing about her. Adult men ranted about her in YouTube videos with titles like “How to Stop Andraya Yearwood from Beating Girls for Three More Years.” The next year, after Terry Miller—another Black trans girl in Connecticut whom Andraya would befriend—began running and at times winning races in their state, the attacks on Andraya, and now Terry as well, only intensified.

In 2018, after Terry and Andraya won gold and silver, respectively, in the state’s girls 100-meter event, Bianca Stanescu, the disgruntled mother of the girl who finished in sixth place in that race, circulated a petition during meets that called for the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference to change its policy on trans athlete participation. Though Stanescu’s daughter, Selina Soule, had lost to three other girls in addition to Andraya and Terry, Stanescu and Selina focused solely on the two trans girls. The mother-daughter duo became regular guests on Fox News and other right-wing media outlets, which was soon flooded with content that warned girls like Andraya and Terry would “destroy” girls’ and women’s sports. To rightwing fearmongers like Tucker Carlson, who devoted a segment of his show in 2018 to the topic of trans athletes, the two girls were “biological boys” who “dominated the rest of the field” and had a “massive and unfair advantage over biologically female competitors,” a wildly oversimplified argument that cloaks transphobia under the guise of so-called common sense and falls apart under scrutiny. (Those who would use biology as a method of discrimination also conveniently neglect to mention that the “science” on trans athletes they wield so eagerly is largely inconclusive, and is premised on fundamental bigotry—the belief that trans girls and women are not girls and women.)

Andraya Yearwood talks to Cromwell High School track coach Brian Calhoun, February 7, 2019.

Andraya Yearwood talks to Cromwell High School track coach Brian Calhoun, February 7, 2019.
Photo: Pat Eaton-Robb (AP)

Andraya tried to ignore the incessant attention, but it wasn’t just happening in the opinion pages of newspapers and on her television screen. At one meet, she overheard two women talking about her and repeatedly misgendering her; when they saw her, they shouted at her, telling her she shouldn’t be there. At the start of Andraya’s junior year, she contemplated quitting track altogether. “I don’t know if I can keep doing this,” she thought. Her friends convinced her to keep running, but she was frustrated by the narrative that she didn’t deserve her success—she worked just as hard to train as everyone else, and people rarely ever highlighted the races that she lost. Few people seemed to care that while she and Terry were good runners—at times very good, medal-winning runners on the state-wide level—their best times in races like the 100-meters weren’t close to cracking the top results nationwide for girls their age. Other girls, a lot of cisgender girls, were faster, were better. Even in Connecticut, Andraya and Terry weren’t the only competitors who bested Selina in races. No one was talking about the supposed “competitive advantage” of those girls, or talking about how they had “stolen” something from Selina.

Karissa Niehoff, who was the head of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference at the time and has since become the executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations, started getting hate-filled emails and letters. “Not only were they saying that those young ladies didn’t have a right to compete and win, they were saying they didn’t have a right to be who they are as people,” Niehoff said, which deeply disturbed her. To Niehoff, who had championed the state’s inclusive policy—one that she pointed out was in line with Connecticut’s broader anti-discrimination laws—high school sports were first and foremost about the benefits of participation. It was cruel and wrong to want to deny that to trans students, who already faced extreme levels of discrimination. “Let’s not talk about college. Let’s not talk scholarships. Let’s talk about a young person in the most critical, pivotal phase of their growth and development,” Niehoff said. “This is not about an advantage in sports. This is about deep, deep identity and growth and development.”

Niehoff noted that a few other trans athletes, including trans girls, were competing in Connecticut at the same time, but with far less scrutiny. “Nobody’s paying attention to the transgender student-athlete that’s not winning the medals,” she said. At competitions, she encountered parents of athletes who jeered at Andraya and Terry from the stands. “Is that the direction we want to go or do we want to be supportive and encouraging so that a young person goes through high school and comes out with some personal strength and a healthy self-esteem and a positive outlook?” Niehoff said. It was, she said, “horrible to see the lack of class, the lack of empathy, the lack of maturity by the adults.”

At the same time, Selina Soule was eagerly establishing herself as the Abigail Fisher of high school sports, an inspiration to conservatives and a symbol of entitlement, parroting false claims of reverse discrimination to others. Shortly after Selina came in eighth place—eighth!—in a state-level race at the start of 2019, the teenager was invited onto Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s show. “What happens—forget about people identifying—what happens to every sport?” Ingraham asked Selina, launching into a series of nonsensical questions. “What happens to field hockey when the soccer players start to play? What happens with girls’ basketball? What happens with girls’ volleyball? What happens with tennis?”

A calm and determined Selina, her dark brown hair in two long braids, replied: “My teammates and my fellow competitors, we are happy for these athletes, of course, but we do think it is unfair. And for us, it is upsetting when we work hard all season and put in a lot of effort only to turn up at the state meets and get beat by someone who is biologically a male and lose state championships over this.” She continued: “It’s very frustrating, because I know I have put in, and some of my friends and fellow competitors have put in, so much effort to take down our times and compete ourselves better, but we are not physically able to be competitive against someone who is biologically a male.”

By then, Selina, her mother, and the families of two other girls track athletes, Chelsea Mitchell and Alanna Smith, were working with the anti-LGBT group the Alliance Defending Freedom, an influential, well-funded conservative Christian legal organization that has pivoted in recent years towards pushing for the passage of anti-trans policies. A few months after Soule’s Fox News appearance, the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights on their behalf, claiming that Connecticut’s policy violated Title IX and that the state had discriminated against the three girls. That complaint was followed up by a lawsuit in federal court, which demanded that not only the state ban trans girls—or in the lawsuit’s words, “males” and “individuals with an XY genotype”—from girls’ competitions, but that the state and their school districts erase Andraya’s and Terry’s victories from the record and take away their medals.

Initially, Andraya had wanted to ignore it all, but then she asked herself, what message would other trans athletes take away from her story if she didn’t stand up for herself? She decided to intervene in the lawsuit, with the help of the ACLU. In a statement responding to the lawsuit, Andraya, who by then was a senior in high school, struck a note of defiance. “It is so painful that people not only want to tear down my successes but take down the laws and policies that protect people like me. I will never stop being me! I will never stop running!” Andraya wrote. “I hope that the next generation of trans youth doesn’t have to fight the fights that I have. I hope they can be celebrated when they succeed, not demonized. For the next generation, I run for you!”


None of this was happening in a vacuum. Andraya’s success came at the worst possible time for girls like her—a moment when trans girls and women competing in sports were quickly becoming the focus of the religious right’s efforts to legislate trans people out of public life, a coordinated assault that relied on a calculated partnership with so-called trans-exclusionary radical feminists and co-opting feminist rhetoric. After Christian conservatives lost their fight over marriage equality in 2015, they quickly pivoted to attacking trans rights, turning to collectively push for so-called bathroom bills in earnest the following year. When those failed, said Chase Strangio, the ACLU’s Deputy Director for Transgender Justice, “Our opponents started to shift very strategically to the areas of sports and healthcare for trans youth.”

Much like bathroom bills were framed as necessary to protect women and girls from the specter of predatory men, trans girls and women were now being deliberately painted as threats to gender equity in sports, to Title IX, to the supposed sanctity of competition. And it wasn’t only the typical conservative reactionaries who were jumping on board. At the end of 2018, Martina Navratilova, the tennis champion and longtime advocate for LGBT rights, announced that her push for inclusion stopped when it came to trans girls and women in sports. “You can’t just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women. There must be some standards, and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard,” she wrote in a tweet. A few months later, in an op-ed for the UK’s Sunday Times, she doubled down on her stance, using rhetoric that could have come straight out of the mouth of a Fox News pundit. “To put the argument at its most basic: a man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organisation is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps even a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires,” Navratilova wrote. “It’s insane and it’s cheating. I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, but I would not be happy to compete against her. It would not be fair.”

In response to her op-ed, Navratilova was dropped from the advisory board of the LGBTQ sports advocacy group Athlete Ally, which wrote in a statement that her comments were “transphobic, based on a false understanding of science and data, and perpetuate dangerous myths that lead to the ongoing targeting of trans people through discriminatory laws, hateful stereotypes and disproportionate violence.” The blowback was fierce enough that a month later, Navratilova issued an apology, though one that was still rooted, as she wrote, in her belief that if “everyone were included, women’s sports as we know them would cease to exist.” She claimed what she wanted was a “debate” based “not on feeling or emotion but science, objectivity and the best interests of women’s sport as a whole.” Navratilova concluded, “All I am trying to do is to make sure girls and women who were born female are competing on as level a playing field as possible within their sport.”

The month that Navratilova wrote her op-ed in 2019, Republicans in South Dakota, a state that has been described as a “laboratory for anti-trans legislation,” introduced bills to bar transgender high school athletes from participating in sports according to their gender identity. The sponsors of one of the bills, Lee Qualm, similarly framed his bigotry as an issue of fairness. “It’s unfair for girls to be subjected to competition against boys,” Qualm said. Around the same time, USA Powerlifting announced it would be banning trans women from its competitions, arguing it was necessary due to the “competitive advantage” trans women supposedly possessed. Perhaps inspired by that ban or by the U.K. group Fair Play for Women, Beth Stelzer, an amateur powerlifter from Minnesota, founded the group Save Women’s Sports in March of 2019, with the goal of pushing for “biology-based eligibility standards for participation in female sports.” At a Heritage Foundation panel held shortly after her group’s founding, Stelzer, along with Stanescu, were two of the featured speakers. “If biological men are allowed to compete in women’s sports, there will be men’s sports, there will be co-ed sports, but there will no longer be women’s sports,” Stelzer declared.

In April of 2019, the outlines of the onslaught that was to come were made clear at a hearing for the Equality Act, federal legislation that would broaden civil rights protections to include LGBT Americans under their umbrella. The bill’s opponents focused almost exclusively on women’s sports and the supposed threat of allowing trans girls to compete with other girls. Like with the “bathroom bills,” their arguments couched transphobia in the language of protecting and saving girls and women. Georgia Republican and then-Representative Doug Collins brought up Andraya and Terry, misgendering the teens, before approvingly quoting Navratilova. “It’s about fairness and it’s about science,” he said. In another sign of how conservatives were eager to appropriate feminist ideals, Republicans had invited Duke University law professor Doriane Coleman—a former elite runner who is a self-described women’s sports advocate but who is most known for arguing for the regulation of intersex women in elite competitions—to testify on their behalf. She framed her concern as rooted in the need for “parity of competitive opportunity,” but at one point dabbled in overt fearmongering. “This is just the beginning of a period of time in various states where trans kids are coming out as trans and are being welcomed and included for their authentic selves,” Coleman warned darkly, and falsely, before painting a scenario of “biological males” full of testosterone dominating women’s track events at the Olympics.

The ACLU’s Strangio and other advocates watched all of this—the media frenzy; the proposed legislation attacking trans children; the defense of transphobia and fear of trans bodies, especially Black trans bodies, cloaked in feminism and in dubious science—with alarm. They worried that the broader public, already fed so much misinformation about trans people, would find arguments made to exclude trans girls from sports persuasive, especially as they were grafted onto existing gendered stereotypes about boys’ inherently superior athleticism, and racist discourses about Black athletes. The need to “save” girls sports—merely the latest variation of the “save our (white) children” rhetoric that has long animated rightwing social movements—fed neatly into an existing, paternalistic moral panic about trans young people, stirred up by writers like the Wall Street Journal’s Abigail Shrier, whose book Irreversible Damage warns absurdly of the “transgender craze” that is “seducing our daughters.” “All of those things sort of came together just at the perfect time, when people were looking for that next anti-LGBTQ topic,” said Chris Mosier, a trans sports advocate and triathlete who in 2016 became the first publicly out trans athlete to compete for the U.S. at the international level. “By 2019, I’m like, this is our fight,” Strangio told Jezebel.

Strangio was right. The drumbeat that began in 2019 gained in intensity in 2020—that year alone, Republican legislators in 20 states introduced bills attempting to ban trans athletes, and specifically trans girls, from competing in high school and collegiate sports according to their gender identity. One of those, Idaho’s HB 500, or the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, ended up passing and was signed into law by the state’s Republican Governor Brad Little, before swiftly being tied up in litigation by the ACLU.

Already in 2021, similar bills have been introduced in 23 states. One of them, Minnesota’s HF 1657, goes as far as to criminalize trans girls who play sports or use the girls’ locker room, turning those activities into a misdemeanor or a fineable offense. Several are advancing rapidly, and will likely end up on the desks of their states’ governors. These nearly identical bills are given feminist-sounding names, like the Save Women’s Sports Act or the Fair Play Act, and introduced by legislators—many of whom are women—who are working hand-in-hand with groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Family Policy Alliance, Save Women’s Sports, and the Women’s Liberation Front, all of whom have joined forces to target trans kids more broadly and trans girls in particular. (In a 2019 guide targeted towards parents authored by the Heritage Foundation, the Family Policy Alliance, WoLF, and the anti-trans organizations the Kelsey Coalition and Parents of ROGD Kids, the groups warned of what they called the “transgender trend” among young people, which they described as a form of “social contagion,” and singled out sports as an arena for potential parent-led activism.)

Much like in 2016, when the ADF boasted that states used the group’s model legislation in crafting bills targeting bathroom access, the ADF’s fingerprints are everywhere on these bills, pointing to the possibility of a similar, and no less coldly efficient, roll-out. In Idaho, the sponsor of HB 500, Barbara Ehardt, credited the ADF with helping her to craft the bill’s language; WoLF paid for a poll meant to show support for the bill. According to the Human Rights Campaign’s Kate Oakley, the ADF is also behind Montana’s bill targeting trans athletes.

Federal lawmakers, too, are jumping into the fray. In a 2020 bid to revive her flagging campaign, then-Senator Kelly Loeffler introduced the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act. In December of last year, Tulsi Gabbard sponsored a similar bill. The goal of proponents of these bills, said Gillian Branstetter of the National Women’s Law Center, is “to instill in their audience in a sense that something is being taken from them or an opportunity is being taken from them, or from their daughters.” Branstetter added, “These people did not wake up and decide that suddenly they care a whole lot about women’s athletics, a topic that most of them have likely never cared about in their lives. They needed a reason for people to view trans people with the same sense of suspicion and fear that they do.”

In many states, as Republican legislators push to ban trans girls from sports, they are also simultaneously introducing bills that criminalize gender-affirming care for trans youth. Collectively, these bills represent “the most relentless legislative attacks on trans lives that I have ever seen,” according to the ACLU’s Strangio. Lately, Strangio has taken to calling them “dystopian,” a characterization that is particularly apt for the bills proposing the creation of sex verification boards that would scrutinize a young athlete’s genitals, chromosomal make-up, and hormone levels. Strangio is leading the ACLU’s challenge to Idaho’s HB 500, which included a provision that mandated a student provide proof of their eligibility based on their “internal and external reproductive anatomy,” chromosomes, and testosterone levels. Strangio is representing two clients, Lindsay Hecox, a trans college student at Boise State who hopes to try out for the cross-country team, and a cisgender girl who chose to go by Jane Doe. “Both are saying this harms all women and girls,” Strangio said, making the argument that “if you single out only women’s sports for this type of bodily scrutiny and regulation, that is another form of sex discrimination.”

The day that we spoke over Zoom, Georgia’s House held a hearing on one of its bills targeting trans athletes, and North Dakota’s bill as well as Tennessee’s passed out of committee. Strangio was multi-tasking, feeling the urgency of his work. “I”m like, we have two days to stop this Mississippi bill,” he told me. The speed with which lawmakers were introducing bill after bill reminded Strangio of the rush of bathroom bills being proposed in state legislatures around the country in 2016 and 2017. But unlike the bathroom bills, which largely went nowhere, Strangio said, the passage of this round of proposed legislation seemed imminent. “These are different in terms of the likelihood that many of them are going to move and also, especially with the healthcare bills, in the magnitude of the harm they would cause,” he said. Unlike the outcry generated in 2016 after, North Carolina passed its bathroom bill, which included a massive boycott of the state, the response to Idaho’s passage of HB 500 has been considerably more muted—a possible sign that the rhetoric of “fairness” has been as compelling to the broader public as trans rights advocates worried it would be.

To Athlete Ally’s Anne Lieberman, “these sports bills are a slippery slope to dehumanizing trans folks in other ways.” Lieberman added, “You can’t separate this conversation about sport from the wider conversation about what’s happening with trans folks in general, because it is just a microcosm of what’s happening in the rest of society.” Cut through the “fairness” rhetoric that dresses these bills up in the hopes of making them palatable, and what lies underneath is, as Strangio put it, “a fundamental dislike and anxiety about the presence of trans people in the world.” “We’re seeing a revitalization of a sort of eugenics discourse around the abolition of the trans person and the idea that transness is itself a threat,” Strangio said. He added, “The masks are off, so to speak.”

Lieberman often describes these bills as a “solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.” Since 2003, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has had a formal policy for transgender athletes, one that since 2015 requires that trans women (and notably not trans men) ensure their testosterone levels remain under a certain—and some would argue arbitrary—threshold. On the collegiate level, the NCAA has had a trans-inclusive policy since 2011. And in 2007, Washington became the first state to adopt a policy for trans high school athletes, one that, like more than a dozen other states including Connecticut, allows students to compete based on their gender identity, with no need for a medical transition. A recent study by the Center for American Progress found that states that had trans-inclusive policies for high school athletes saw no decrease in the percentage of girls who competed in sports from 2011 to 2019; for all other states without such policies, that percentage actually dropped during the same time period.

Advocates point out that no openly transgender athlete has even competed in the Olympics since the IOC’s policy was enacted almost 20 years ago, let alone win medals. “This mythical takeover of sport has not happened,” Lieberman said. For all of the fearmongering about young trans athletes, no such upheaval has occurred on the high school or college level, either. The longtime LGBT sports advocate Pat Griffin, who co-authored the 2010 report by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Women’s Sports Foundation on trans-inclusive policies, rejects arguments that claim trans girls are threats. “The thing that’s so frustrating is that in many cases, those state policies have been in effect for over 10 years, and working fine,” Griffin said. The only difference, she said, is that a few girls started winning, and “the rightwing discovered that this was a great wedge issue.”

To many women’s sports advocates, the fretting over girls’ and women’s sports is merely a convenient cover for transphobia. In 2020, the Women’s Sports Foundation, a group founded by Billie Jean King in the 1970s, released a report on the challenges and barriers facing girls and women in sports at all levels, based on surveys with more than 2,000 women’s sports leaders. According to those surveys, the most widely shared concern was the cost of competition, a barrier to entry that many parents of young girls couldn’t afford. “If we want to have a true conversation about what needs to be done to really enhance opportunities and expand opportunities, let’s have it,” said the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Sarah Axelson. “There are so many things that we could be talking about that are real concerns for women and girls in sports. The participation of trans athletes and especially trans youth, trans girls—that is not the threat to women and girls in sports.” Axelson added, “This is about sometimes a literal lifeline for children: having access to sports.”


Sports has always been an arena where broader anxieties about race, about gender, about sexuality play out, at times in extremely public ways. Sports is never just about sports. This quality, as well as its ubiquity in social life, is what gives athletics its power as a proxy for society as a whole. Sports is also the only arena of human activity where gender segregation is not only widely accepted, but praised as a necessary stricture to achieve some semblance of equality between girls and boys and men and women, an idea that the implementation of Title IX in the 1970s solidified. As athletic opportunities for girls in sports expanded, the gender binary became more entrenched. Baked into the argument for gender segregation in sports is the notion of men’s inherent physical superiority to women, a form of biological essentialism (and some would argue sexism) that has become so widespread that it is seen as common sense and used to justify discrimination, including paying women athletes less than men and now, excluding trans girls from sports competition. As the scholars Kimberly Kelly and Adam Love have noted, “Gender divisions and men’s superiority are more naturalized in sport than perhaps any other institution.”

Trans girls who wish to play sports, then, enter a gendered playing field that is already primed with ideas that are easily wielded to exclude and dehumanize them. (Tellingly, trans boys are rarely, if ever, seen as a threat to boys’ sports.) Lindsay Pieper, a professor of sport management at Lynchburg College and the author of Sex Testing: Gender Policing in Women’s Sports, sees today’s efforts to restrict and ban trans girls and women from sports as the latest attempt to regulat women athletes’ bodies, a timeline that stretches back decades in the form of invasive—and debunked—gender verification tests meant to, as she puts it in her book, “eliminate competitors” who were viewed as “too strong, too fast, too successful or too unfeminine for women’s competition.”

Pieper points out that the IOC through its history has defended the use of flawed gender verification tests as part of their goal of ensuring “fair competition”—a noble ideal that falls apart because, in her words, “genetic and physiological equality simply does not exist in sport.” Everyone has genetic variation that leads to physical advantages and disadvantages, and in one sport, what’s considered an advantage might be a disadvantage in others. A level playing field based on an athlete’s physical attributes just does not exist. As the sports scholar Jaime Schultz has written, “Why are genetic variations that affect autosomal chromosomes an advantageous endowment while those that affect sex chromosomes amount to a curse that can effectively drum one out of competitive sport?” No one ever questions, after all, if the swimmer Michael Phelps’s “biological advantage” means that he should be barred from competition.

The arguments deployed against trans athletes today, as Pieper put it to me, “are all scaffolded off of previous ideas and concerns” about women athletes, concerns that arose particularly whenever women deviated from a typically white, stereotypically feminine, Western ideal. It’s not lost on Pieper that so much rightwing frenzy has targeted Yearwood and Miller, relying on language that paints the two Black trans girls as too powerful and too muscular, despite their fairly petite size. “When anyone challenges those ideas, society tends to scrutinize them or try to cast them out and cast them aside,” Pieper said.

Pieper became interested in the history of gender verification in women’s sports when she learned about the trans tennis player Renée Richards while a graduate student. Richards transitioned as an adult and began playing in women’s tournaments shortly after. Richards never wanted to be seen as a trans pioneer; she was forced to publicly identify as a trans woman in 1976 when television anchor Dick Carlson—the father of Tucker Carlson, no less—outed her after she won a local tournament, a move that thrust her into a public spotlight that she had tried to avoid. (As Richards has recalled, she “pleaded” with Carlson not to out her: “I said, ‘You can’t do this. I am a private person.’”)

The similarities between Richards’s story and the bad-faith handwringing of today illustrate just how little has changed. Once Richards announced she would play in the U.S. Open that year, the USTA and the WTA responded by instituting a chromosome test used by other sports bodies like the IOC to ban “persons not genetically female” from competition, despite, as Pieper has written, “warnings from scientists who argued that chromosomes did not unequivocally identify sex.” The USTA defended its invasive and scientifically flawed requirement as necessary in order to prevent an “element of inequality” at the Open; Richards, in her memoir, wrote that the USTA and WTA believed “the floodgates would be opened and through them would come tumbling an endless stream of made-over Neanderthals who would brutalize” tennis stars like Chris Evert, an idea that Richards dismissed as “sheer nonsense.”

While tennis star Billie Jean King supported Richards in her quest for inclusion, other feminists of all stripes, including Gloria Steinem and the rabidly transphobic Janice Raymond, questioned Richards’s womanhood and her push to compete. In her 1979 book The Transsexual Empire, Raymond wrote that Richards “has succeeded in hitting the benefits of sex discrimination back into the male half of the court.” She added, “The new bumper stickers might well read: ‘It takes castrated balls to play women’s tennis.’” Richards sued to be able to play on the women’s circuit. She won her case, and went on to lose in the first round of the U.S. Open in 1977, retiring a few years later after an unremarkable career; the “endless stream” of trans women dominating tennis never materialized.

To Pieper, Richards’s story is just one example that shows the perils of believing science to be value-neutral, and of wielding “science” as a tool to discriminate. “Sport organizers and thought leaders have been trying to delineate this very neat and clear line between men and women, using science. And it has proven to be flawed and biased over and over and over again,” she said. She sees the same bias and flaws today in the obsessive, almost singular focus on testosterone levels, which has translated into scrutinizing girls and women’s hormone levels to either argue that trans athletes shouldn’t play at all, or to determine all girls and women’s eligibility to compete based on an arbitrary hormone threshold. “What looks like a controversy rooted firmly in science is ultimately a social and ethical one concerning how we understand and frame human diversity,” wrote Katrina Karkazis and Rebecca Jordan-Young, the authors of Testosterone: An Unauthorized Biography, in 2015 about the push to test women athletes’ testosterone levels. What they wrote could easily be extended to the move to ban or regulate trans girls and women athletes as well.

In the Guardian, Karzakis expanded on her views. Summarizing inconclusive studies of adult athletes that she wrote “fail[ed] to show consistent relationships between T and performance,” Karzakis concluded: “Labelling women ‘biological males’ draws a dubious connection between sex, testosterone, and athleticism that relies on long-discarded ideas that men and women can have a ‘true sex’, that testosterone is a ‘male sex hormone’, and that testosterone is the key to superior athleticism. None of these are true, and it’s long overdue that people stop saying they are.”

Mosier has come to a similar conclusion. “There’s a real lack of science of data around testosterone and performance in athletics,” Mosier said. “I’m not a person who would deny that testosterone has very real effects on people’s bodies, but all people have testosterone in their bodies. So this sort of positioning of testosterone as an exclusively male hormone or as the sole decider of athletic ability is just incredibly false.”

Ultimately, the outcomes of “science” are based on how it is wielded, a reflection of what one hopes to prove rather than any conclusive proof. And to many advocates and researchers, the focus on science is particularly inappropriate when it comes to high school athletes. Mosier recalled that when he was a teenager, playing sports was one of the few times he felt a level of comfort and ease in his own body. “We’re talking about high school kids here. We’re talking about middle school kids. We’re talking about college kids,” Mosier said. “And for them to hear that they are not worthy or valid, that their identities are not valid, that they’re not worthy of having the same experiences as their peers… Whether these bills pass or not, this is going to have long-lasting effects on how trans people are treated in our country.”


In May of last year, the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights publicly announced it had sided with the ADF in its complaint targeting the state of Connecticut, arguing that CIAC’s policy had “denied female student-athletes benefits and opportunities” and thus was in violation of Title IX. OCR’s decision, which threatened to revoke federal funding if the policy remained unchanged, was unsurprising. The Trump administration represented a stark departure from President Barack Obama’s relatively inclusive posture when it came to transgender rights, and no federal agency best exemplified the shift in priorities than the DOE. One of the first acts of Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education had been to rescind the previous administration’s guidance on the rights of trans students, and trans students who filed civil rights complaints with the DOE regularly had their complaints tossed out. The agency was more than eager to extend its support to students and families who were attacking trans kids, as the OCR decision demonstrated.

The advent of a new presidential administration has signaled a welcome shift when it comes to the rights of trans students. The day after Joe Biden’s inauguration, he issued an executive order that made clear that federal agencies under his tenure would work to “prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.” Notably, the executive order included the line, “Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports,” and stated that Bostock, the Supreme Court’s 2020 landmark—and surprising—ruling that expanded the definition of sex discrimination to include discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation and gender identity, should also apply to Title IX.

Asaf Orr, the director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ Transgender Youth Project, described Biden’s executive order as a “watershed moment.” “It is the federal government once again saying, ‘LGBT people, trans people, trans young people, we see you, you matter, and we’re going to take the time to to do our due diligence and figure out what policies and what regulations and what things we can implement to ensure that you have equal access to sports and equal access to your education generally,” Orr said.

When the OCR decision came down, Andraya was finishing up her senior year of high school, four years defined by a hostile Trump administration (even Don Jr. had tweeted about her) and what had felt like relentless attacks. In a deeply ironic twist, by then, Andraya’s final high school track season was over, as was Selina Soule’s—the pandemic had canceled the remainder of their meets.

At the end of February, the Biden administration moved again to demonstrate its support for trans students, announcing that it was withdrawing the previous OCR decision on Connecticut’s trans-inclusive policies; it also announced it was withdrawing the Trump administration’s statement of interest filed in the related lawsuit, as well as the brief filed over Idaho’s HB 500.

But for Andraya, these welcome actions by the Biden administration came too late. Now a freshman at North Carolina Central University, Andraya had decided not to pursue track and field in college. She wanted to explore all the other aspects of life outside of sports; focus on mastering Spanish, her major; and maybe even study abroad one year. But her experience in high school had also left deep scars, and Andraya was wary of opening herself up again to the public spotlight. “I didn’t know how I’d be able to handle another four years of either the same criticism, or even worse criticism,” she said. We were video chatting, and Andraya, dressed in an off-the-shoulder blouse, her neck ringed in thin gold chains, was in her single-occupancy dorm room, decorated on one wall with the baby blue, pink, and white trans rights flag. “When I watch track videos, I still go, ‘Oh, I wish that was me,’” she said. “I miss it.”

Selina Soule, contrary to all of her claims that girls like Andraya were taking away opportunities from her, is running competitively in college. Last May, Selina announced in an Instagram post that she would be going to the College of Charleston, and would “run at the Division I level.” When Andraya saw Selina’s post, she decided to leave a comment. “Congratulations,” she wrote, tagging her note with a heart emoji.

I asked her why she had congratulated Selina. “I felt that after everything that’s happened, I should still show her kindness,” she said. She paused for a moment, as if figuring out what she wanted to say. “That’s a big accomplishment, being able to run at a Division I university,” Andraya said. “That’s a big accomplishment.”

Hey Tucker Carlson, We Have Some Guesses About What Happened to Your Hunter Biden Docs

Illustration for article titled Hey Tucker Carlson, We Have Some Guesses About What Happened to Your Hunter Biden Docs

Screenshot: Fox News Channel/Tucker Carlson Tonight (Other)

Fox News host Tucker Carlson devoted a segment of his show on Wednesday night to damning documents supposedly proving corruption by Democratic nominee Joe Biden—except they had mysteriously vanished in transit.

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“On Monday of this week, we received from a source a collection of confidential documents related to the Biden family,” Carlson told viewers. “We believe those documents are authentic, they’re real, and they’re damning.”

“We texted a producer in New York and we asked him to send those documents to us in LA,” Carlson went on. “He shipped those documents overnight to California with a large national carrier brand … But the Biden documents never arrived in Los Angeles. Tuesday morning we received word from the shipping company that our package had been opened and the contents were missing. The documents had disappeared.”

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Carlson went on to air his suspicion that something nefarious had happened—with the obvious implication that Biden, the Democrats, deep state government agents, the carrier, or some other unnamed entity had deliberately snatched the package to prevent it from destroying Biden’s chances in the 2020 election. The carrier (later revealed to be UPS) carried out an extensive search and claimed total ignorance as to what had happened, Carlson said.

“They searched the plane and the trucks that carried it, they went through the office in New York where our producer dropped that package off, they combed their entire cavernous sorting facility,” Carlson told viewers. “They used pictures of what we had sent so that searchers would know what to look for. They went far and beyond. But they found nothing, those documents have vanished. As of tonight, the company has no idea—and no working theory even—about what happened to this trove of materials, documents that are directly relevant to the presidential campaign.”

According to Salon staff writer Roger Sollenberger, Carlson told him via text message that Fox News had made copies of the documents and “The point is, someone’s reading our texts.”

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It’s clear that Carlson, who is obviously a respected journalist and not, say, some kind of racist carnival barker known for fabricating stories and hiring white nationalists, is on to something.

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Something big and not to be laughed at, with multiple rewatches to laugh about it further. Something that will not just be a last-minute effort to manufacture disinformation before Nov. 3 and which will not conveniently never be mentioned by him again after. Something that UPS is trying to cover up: The shipping company told the Daily Beast on Thursday it had located the mysterious package and was arranging to return to Carlson as soon as possible.

Obviously, the documents were indeed stolen, and the ones UPS supposedly found are duplicates maliciously modified to remove the incriminating Biden material and discredit Carlson. That is Occam’s Razor. We’d like to help Carlson hunt for the real documents, and we have some leads he might want to investigate:

Tucker’s producer was paid off

After alerting Tucker to the existence of the Biden documents, the unnamed Fox News producer could have been approached at a bar by a man with a comically large briefcase filled with cash.

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Tucker should fire all his staff, just in case.

Antifa did it

Few people know this, but A.N.T.I.F.A. actually stands for “Ambushing News That Is Flying At-this-time.”

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UPS, FedEx, and/or DHL (I guess) could be a front for the Democratic National Committee

Think about it, people. The Democrat Party relies on “elections” to steal power from Donald Trump.

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If you were planning to win one of these so-called “elections”—perhaps with mail-in ballots—then you would do everything possible to control the flow of information and keep the people sedated in left-wing bliss. It makes logical sense that the DNC would raise billions of dollars to secretly take over UPS, FedEx, and DHL with a series of front companies without anyone knowing about it, including UPS, FedEx, and DHL. Then, when Tucker’s producer searched for “UPS store location,” agents at Google intercepted the query and told UPS when and where the package would be handed off. This all makes perfect sense.

An elite team of CIA paramilitaries parajumped onto the plane, killed the crew, wore their uniforms, and dumped the evidence

The CIA’s “Special Operations Group” is comprised of career operators from elite special forces, such as the U.S. Navy SEALs, or that guy who puts fluoride in the U.S. water supply. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to suggest they have the capability to fly black helicopters a few thousand feet above the exact flight path of a cargo jet and have a group of troops conduct a HALO (high-altitude military parachuting) jump, timed exactly so they crash through the windows like a raid.

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They then could easily have murdered the flight crew using subsonic ammunition, disposed of the bodies and incriminating Biden documents over a body of water, disguised themselves in air carrier uniforms, and simply walked off the plane at the end of the flight. Mission accomplished.

Alternately, the liberal FAA had another plane drag off the original one with giant magnets

The Department of Transportation is already suspected of involvement in the conspiracy to create the “North American Union,” a superstate consisting of Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., using superhighways. The Federal Aviation Administration is an agency under that agency. The FAA is the deep state.

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Anyhow, one can surmise that the FAA’s contacts at the National Security Agency could very well have passed on news of the package delivery. That would have given the FAA time to attach giant magnets to a C-17 military cargo jet and use it to subtly drag the plane containing the Biden package off course. The pilots would be none the wiser. If done correctly, the FAA could trick them into landing at a fake airport that looks exactly like the original destination. The FAA’s Transportation Security Agency plants could then intercept the documents in the name of “national security.”

The NSA had an agent hanging off a pipe on the ceiling lean down and steal the documents from the envelope while the Fox News producer’s back was turned and right before he sealed it

See below:

Illustration for article titled Hey Tucker Carlson, We Have Some Guesses About What Happened to Your Hunter Biden Docs

Graphic: Ubisoft/Splinter Cell box art

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The plane flew into a polar vortex

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency could have colluded to use the High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, which controls the weather, to create a polar vortex. The resulting changes in airflow and pressure could then be carefully manipulated by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory technicians with satellites to rip open Tucker’s package, after which the documents would fall out at some point. Don’t rule it out.

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The package was simply delayed, damaged, or lost in transit, and likely never contained anything credible in the first place. Tucker conspired to blame an imaginary group of Illuminati plotters as part of a desperate effort to conjure an October surprise.

Pfft. Can you imagine how many people at Tucker Carlson’s show would have had to participate in such a conspiracy? We’re talking writers, researchers, segment producers. Wouldn’t one of them have leaked something about it to the media? Why is there no evidence that such routine mail delivery errors ever happen to liberals?

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You can buy this theory if you want, sheeple.