- Cissie Graham Lynch speaks at the Republican National Convention to spread transphobic and homophobic falsehoods.
Cissie Graham Lynch – the daughter of anti-LGBT+ activist Franklin Graham – has told Christians that LGBT+ rights put religious freedom at risk.
Lynch was speaking at the Republican National Convention last night (25 August).
She is the daughter of Franklin Graham – a key supporter of Donald Trump on the religious right and a fierce anti-LGBT+ campaigner. And she’s the granddaughter of the late Christian evangelist Billy Graham, who also opposed LGBT+ equality.
In her conference speech, she used false information to claim that LGBT+ rights damaged people’s religious freedom. Moreover, she particularly attacked trans youths and LGBT+ families.
She said: ‘Democrats tried to force adoption agencies to violate their deeply held beliefs. Democrats pressured schools to allow boys to compete in girls’ sports and use girls’ locker rooms. Those are the facts.’
Not the facts
In fact, neither of those claims are objective facts.
It is true that President Trump’s administration has reversed a Barack Obama policy that blocked adoption agencies using federal funds from discriminating against LGBT+ families.
Moreover, Trump’s Justice Department is standing with religious adoption agencies in a lawsuit about whether Philadelphia – or any city – can deny funds to an agency that discriminates against same-sex parents.
That case will go to the Supreme Court on 4 November – a day after the US presidential election.
Meanwhile her other claim is also false. It is not about ‘boys’ competing in ‘girls’ sports and using girls’ locker rooms’. Rather, it is about trans girls’ rights to access sports and locker rooms that match their gender.
Trump has overturned Obama-era guidelines that let trans students use the right restrooms and other facilities.
Moreover, the evidence indicates that trans people taking part in sport don’t have an unfair advantage. By contrast, excluding trans youth from sports robs them of opportunities and may harm their health and development.
‘Little girls at risk’
Meanwhile Lynch went on to say the Barack Obama and Joe Biden administration had attacked freedom of religion. She said Trump had then come to the rescue:
‘But then we, the people, elected Donald Trump. People of faith suddenly had a fierce advocate in the White House.
‘He appointed judges who respect the first amendment, he supported religious beliefs in court. He ensured religious ministries would not be forced to violate their beliefs, he withdrew the policies that placed our little girls at risk.’
Again her comment that Obama’s policies put ‘little girls at risk’ is untrue.
This appears to refer back to the rules allowing trans people to use the correct restrooms. But there is no evidence that this endangers ‘little girls’. By contrast, research shows trans students are at risk when they can’t use the right bathrooms.
Towards the end of her speech, Lynch again tried to pit Christians against LGBT+ people. She said:
‘The Biden-Harris vision for America leaves no room for people of faith. Whether you are a baker or a florist or a football coach, they will force the choice between being obedient to God or to Caesar, because the radical left’s god is government power.’
Those professions appear to refer to multiple court cases where Christians have refused service to LGBT+ people – for example bakers refusing to create cakes for same-sex weddings.
And it is true that Biden has promised to press forward with the Equality Act. This would outlaw discrimination against LGBT+ customers across the US.
‘Particularly shameful attack on trans kids’
LGBT+ groups swiftly moved to criticize Lynch’s speech.
GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said:
‘This convention seems to be embracing a theme of weaponizing religion to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
‘Cissie Graham Lynch is sadly not alone in her bigoted, inaccurate beliefs, as the Trump administration has been working hand in hand with anti-LGBTQ activists like her from day one.’
Meanwhile Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David said:
‘We knew this rhetoric would come from allies of a president dedicated to attacking LGBTQ people at every opportunity.
‘What is particularly shameful is the targeting of some of the most vulnerable in our community: transgender kids.
‘Cissie Graham Lynch’s comments were despicable and must be widely condemned by anyone who claims to be an ally of LGBTQ people. To Trump and his allies: We fight for our community and will see you at the ballot box.’