to his face

Mike Pence’s anti-trans stance blasted as “appalling” by tearful voter at town hall meeting

· Updated on October 4, 2023

Former Vice President Mike Pence took part in a town hall meeting in Iowa yesterday evening. It was hosted by NewsNation. One of the questions he faced from the audience concerned his stance on trans rights.

Pence took the question from Melissa McCollister, a social work professor at Grand View University. She identified herself as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and said she has trans members in her family. She appeared emotional as she began to speak, noting that anti-LGBTQ bills have been signed into law around the U.S., including Iowa.

“So far in 2023, 15 transgender individuals and gender non-conforming people have been murdered,” she said.

“What is your policy plan to protect the transgender community, specifically Black and brown trans women, from the historically high levels of violence?”

Pence said he was “deeply grieved to hear about those tragic circumstances. I hear your heart and am moved by your emotion, I truly am.

“If I’m President of the United States I’m going to see to the protection of every American and the rights of every American,” he continued. He then reaffirmed his view on denying gender-affirming care to minors.

“I’m a Bible-believing Christian and I have a particular view on this matter,” he says.

McCollister responded, “as am I.”

“I hope you would also hear my heart on this,” says Pence.

“For me, what adults do in their lives, the decisions that they make, including transgender adults is one thing. But for kids under the age of 18, I mean there’s a reason we don’t let you drive ’til you’re 16,” said Pence. He went on to say that there are also restrictions on the age you can get a tattoo.

“​​That’s because we understand that kids don’t fully understand the consequences of their actions… And so I hope you hear in my strong sentiment on this the gender ideology that’s being taught and has been taught in elementary schools and promoted among many of our kids, and when it comes to surgical or chemical procedures, I really believe we’ve got to protect our kids from decisions that will affect them for the balance of their lives,” he continued.


McCollister disagreed, pointing to her social work experience with youngsters.

“I have worked with kids as young as five years old that have gender non-conforming and identities that are transgender. And I’ve raised one,” McCollister said.

“And so to hear somebody tell me that it’s not OK for young children to make decisions about their gender identity and to ask their school officials for support, protection and help, is appalling.”

Anchor Leland Vittert then asked Pence how could parents help kids facing these sorts of issues if they didn’t seek gender-affirming care.

Pence pointed out his marriage to an elementary school teacher for many years to highlight his experience in this area.

“I just think we need to protect our kids. I’d like to put my arm around any one of those young people and just say ‘We love you but wait,’” he said.

“Wait until you reach an age of majority. Wait until you have a better idea of who you are. And then live the life that you want to live in this free country.”

Several Republican-led states have introduced legislation to block gender-affirming care for minors. Earlier this year, reports emerged that a political advocacy group founded by Pence—Advancing American Freedom—planned to run adverts in Iowa pushing back against transgender-affirming policies in schools.

A range of medical organizations support appropriate gender-affirming care for minors. This includes the likes of the Pediatric Endocrine Society, which said in a 2020 statement, “Medical intervention for transgender youth and adults (including puberty suppression, hormone therapy and medically indicated surgery) is effective, relatively safe (when appropriately monitored), and has been established as the standard of care.”

Mitt Romney claims Pence doesn’t think he’ll win

Yesterday, Utah Senator Mitt Romney announced he would not be running for reelection in 2024. In an interview with the Washington Post he gave his opinion on Pence’s bid to become the GOP Presidential nominee.

“I don’t think [Pence] has…any delusions that he’s going to become the nominee. I think he’s running for other reasons. one, to repair his legacy…What he’s saying is important to be said…I’m glad he’s running and saying those things. I respect that,” Romney said.

Pence responded to Romney’s words at last night’s town hall. He said, “I’m running for president of the United States because I think this country’s in a lot of trouble. And I’m running to win.”

In a poll this week, former President Trump registered 62% support from GOP voters. Ron DeSantis came next with 12% support, followed by Vivek Ramaswamy on 6%. Nikki Haley and Mike Pence then both garnered 5% each.

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