Jenna Ellis, the senior legal adviser to Trump and his 2020 campaign, purposely misgendered and mocked Pennsylvania health secretary Dr. Rachel Levine in a tweet on Monday.
“This guy is making decisions about your health,” tweeted Ellis, who also shared a May 2020 article about a transphobic incident in which a reporter had repeatedly called the health secretary “sir.”
Ellis has also said HIV is “God’s moral law,” that the Stonewall Inn monument is “a celebration of sin,” and that “Christians cannot follow God and accept or condone or participate in homosexuality.”
Levine has been in the news recently after holding a press conference to respond to several acts of anti-LGBTQ and transphobic harassment against her, including a recent dunking booth at a state fair.
The Bloomsburg Fair, an annual event held for more than a century and one of the largest of its kind on the east coast, featured a dunking booth in which a man was dressed as Levine. Photos of the dunk tank, which was a benefit for a several fire departments serving communities around Bloomsburg, were posted to the fair’s Facebook page.
Said Levine at the press conference: “I want to emphasize that while these individuals may think they are only expressing their displeasure with me, they are in fact hurting the thousands of LGBTQ Pennsylvanians who suffer directly from these current demonstrations of harassment. Your actions perpetuate a spirit of intolerance and discrimination against LGBTQ individuals and specifically transgender individuals.”
Media Matters has more on Ellis: “Ellis has also worked against bans against conversion therapy, a dangerous and discredited practice that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2019, she testified at a Colorado House committee hearing against a bill protecting youth from the practice. Ellis joined the Trump campaign as a senior legal adviser in November. Axios reported at the time that ‘Trump has said he’s impressed by Ellis’ TV appearances, according to a person close to him. He indicated that he wanted to give her a bigger job, and his team briefly discussed bringing her into the White House.’”
The Daily Beast adds: “[Ellis’] book complains that the Supreme Court ‘told the LGBT community that their homosexual lifestyle was not just legal privately, but morally validated openly through government recognition and social celebration and therefore equally as valued as heterosexual unions.’ In the wake of a 2015 shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that left 49 dead, Ellis penned a column that condemned the massacre, but bemoaned that it was being used to dignify homosexuality. ‘I’m disappointed conservatives are acquiescing to the LGBT agenda,’ Ellis wrote. ‘Let me be clear—the Orlando shooting was absolutely terrible and tragic. But the response to this tragedy should not be embracing and advocating for gay rights.’ The piece was headlined, ‘Two Wrongs Do Not Make an LGBT Right.’”
Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David issued a statement following Ellis’s tweet:
“Jenna Ellis is a bigot and Dr. Levine is a patriot – plain and simple. Dr. Levine illustrates character and patriotism while Ellis cannot even define those terms. Using a person’s pronouns is a basic level of respect. Despite claims of allyship, Donald Trump, Mike Pence and their staff have gone out of their way to dehumanize and attack transgender and non-binary people simply for existing. Trump and his allies have refused to acknowledge the epidemic of violence transgender and gender non-conforming people face, attempted to strip away their access to health care, and blocked these patriotic Americans from openly serving in the military. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Levine has steered Pennsylvania through this crisis leading efforts to reduce the spread of the virus and keep Pennsylvanians safe and healthy. Our nation has and should continue to laud the frontline workers and public servants confronting this pandemic, not attack them simply for living their truth.”
Ellis responded to David in an email to The Hill, saying, “[The Human Rights Campaign] thinks it can define character and patriotism while it apparently can’t even define male and female.”
When called on her bigotry by Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel, who was comparing Ellis’s hate to the Trump campaign’s hypocritical Pride t-shirts, Ellis tweeted back: “I have a lot of pride too that Donald Trump is your President! Great shirt.”