This Conservative Pundit Wants to Eradicate Trans People

During a recent segment on his Daily Wire podcast, Michael Knowles called for a complete banning of “transgenderism.” When advocates pointed out that such rhetoric could lead to violence and genocide, Knowles claimed that genocide against trans people is not possible because “it’s not a legitimate category of being.”

On a February 27 episode of The Michael Knowles Show, which is hosted on Ben Shapiro’s The Daily Wire network, the right-wing pundit brought up an anti-trans bill in Kansas. SB 180 seeks to ban transgender people from single-sex spaces by limiting the definition of gender to biological sex characteristics, and it passed the state legislature last week. Knowles claimed that the bill represents a complete banning of trans identity and praised it for that fact.

“This is a beautiful bill because it doesn’t just say ‘don’t trans the kids’. It doesn’t just say ‘wait till eight to introduce kids to transgenderism in schools,” Knowles said, per Media Matters.

“Once they turn nine, that’s fine. It doesn’t just say only minors can’t – it bans transgenderism for all practical purposes in the state for everybody. And it has to. In order for women to have the right to have their own bathrooms, you have to ban transgenderism entirely.”

The segment sparked an instant backlash, which Knowles acknowledged on his show the following day. “They said that I was calling for the extermination of transgender people,” he said, referring to his critics. “They said I was calling for a genocide against – I said, what? I must have missed that part of my show. When did I -– did I say that?”

In the very next sentence, he went on to suggest that even if he had advocated for such a thing, genocide against trans people is not possible. “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,” he said.

Knowles’s basis for this claim seems to rest entirely on the fact that “geno” is in the name. Putting aside the fact that the United Nations has included non-genetic groups in its definition going all the way back to its 1948 compromise, the specific legalese of the term is irrelevant. Mass violence directed against a group of people is mass violence, no matter what it’s called.

While continuing to defend his statements, Knowles went on to completely dehumanize trans people. “Nobody’s calling to exterminate anybody because the other problem with that statement is that transgender people is not a real ontological category,” he said. “It’s not a legitimate category of being.”

If there is one thing the various nuanced definitions of genocide can agree on, it’s that suggesting the victims can’t be victims because they don’t count as people is a core tenet.

There’s little hyperbole to be had here—this is one of the most chilling examples of saying-the-quiet-part-out-loud in recent memory.

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