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Gay Right-Winger Says Christine Hallquist Has 'Transgender Privilege'

A side profile of Christine Hallquist, who stands to the left. She is wearing glasses.

Gay conservative journalist Chadwick Moore is attributing Christine Hallquist’s victory in the Vermont Democratic gubernatorial primary to “transgender privilege.”

On Wednesday’s episode of Fox News Channel's Tucker Carlson Tonight, in a panel that included former Barack Obama campaign official Robin Biro, Carlson and Moore discussed Hallquist’s decisive win in the Tuesday primary, which will have her facing Republican incumbent Phil Scott in November. Hallquist received 48 percent of the vote for the Democratic nomination while the runner-up, James Ehlers, received only 22 percent.

Biro said that as a transgender woman, Hallquist has received a lot of criticism, to which Carlson responded with the claim that Hallquist is celebrated, which she is, among her supporters. Moore said that due to Hallquist's "transgender privilege," she can get away with more than a cisgender gubernatorial candidate can.

"While the entire country is fixated on the fact that she's transgender, nobody knows anything about her policies," Moore said. "You know that she's for Medicaid for all, she's a climate alarmist, she believes in $15 minimum wage, and that's kind of it."

However, that is not "kind of it." As far as business credentials go, Hallquist began as an engineering and technology consultant at the Vermont Electric Cooperative in 1998 and rose through the ranks, becoming the company’s CEO in 2005.

Moore was not wrong when he noted Hallquist's support for the $15 minimum wage, single-payer health care, and efforts to fight climate change. But he neglected to mention all of the other things Hallquist supports, like addressing the high rural poverty rate in Vermont, connecting homes and businesses to fiber-optic cable to enable faster internet access, enacting paid family leave, resisting privatization of schools, and creating citizen oversight boards for police.

Hallquist's other experience includes serving as a school board member, a town meeting moderator, and a member of boards relating to mental health services and economic development. She has been endorsed by Vote Pro-Choice and the LGBTQ Victory Fund.

Victory Fund CEO and president Annise Parker issued a statement criticizing Carlson and Moore, whom she called "two cisgender white men" whose comments reflect their "extraordinary ignorance."

"Christine was the chief executive of a well-respected energy utility company for more than 12 years and traveled the entire state sharing with voters her progressive vision for Vermont," Parker said. "They claimed Vermont primary voters know nothing beyond her gender identity while in fact, the opposite is true — voters chose Christine because of her experience and positions, not because of her gender identity, and it is an insult to Vermont voters to say otherwise."

"To say trans candidates have 'privilege' is simply these two pundits spewing nonsense and hate — there are only 13 trans people in elected office nationwide, hardly a privileged group," Parker continued. 

But Parker wasn't done. She called out Carlson and Moore as partly responsible for the "degradation of American political discourse," saying their decision to attack Hallquist just reflects how the two men built their careers: "on attacking people because of who they are."

To Parker's point, Carlson, who started working as a Fox News contributor in 2009, with Tucker Carlson Tonight premiering in November 2016, has a reputation for making intolerant statements. His repertoire includes painting the growth in the U.S. Latino population in a negative light, and he has won some white supremacist fans like David Duke and Richard Spencer.

Additionally, Carlson has a history of transphobia. He's invited transgender woman Jillian Weiss on his show only to repeatedly demand simplistic answers when she tried to convey the complicated reality of trans people’s self-identification and medical transition. In a separate incident, Carlson denied the existence of a transgender community and called new pronouns like "xie" and "xer" "dumber, less precise, and embarrassing."

Moore embraced conversatism in early 2017, shortly after he profiled gay alt-right provocateur and Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos for Out magazine (owned by the same parent company as The Advocate). The article, titled "Send in the Clown: Internet Supervillain Milo Doesn’t Care That You Hate Him," juxtaposed stories of Yiannopoulos's childhood with descriptions of the harassment and abuse his followers perpetrated against his targets, such as actress Leslie Jones. The piece also raised the baffling question of whether Yiannopoulos would have been left-wing had he been born in another time. After journalists condemned Out’s article as giving Yiannopoulos another avenue to express his bigotry, Moore said the negative reaction to his work made him "come out as conservative."

Since then, Moore has attacked Obama-era guidance that supported transgender students' rights to use bathrooms that corresponded with their gender identity, said that nonbinary and genderqueer people don’t exist, and gotten booted off Grindr for his anti-trans views.

Moore made his transphobia more evident when he misgendered Hallquist, using he/him pronouns in reference to the gubernatorial candidate when he commented on what he called "left-wing LGBT obsession with Christians."

"I imagine a lot of it comes from — Hallquist talks about growing up in a Catholic school and because he was an effeminate little boy, in his words, getting a bunch of garbage from the nuns and the priests," Moore said.

The "garbage" Moore referenced is the physical abuse that Hallquist had been subjected to at a Catholic school, to which her parents responded by pulling her out for her own safety

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