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Hillary Clinton has changed her tune on the order of importance for transgender rights ahead of the midterm elections, indicating during a recent interview that it shouldn’t be a top priority for Democrats who want to hold onto their razor-thin majorities in Congress.
“We are standing on the precipice of losing our democracy, and everything that everybody else cares about then goes out the window,” Clinton told the Financial Times in a piece Friday when asked about the “transgender debate.”
“Look, the most important thing is to win the next election,” she said. “The alternative is so frightening that whatever does not help you win should not be a priority.”
Clinton’s comments are a stark departure from what she once described as the “highest priority.”
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During her failed 2016 presidential campaign, Clinton repeatedly promised to work with Congress to pass the Equality Act, a still-stalled bill that would extend civil rights protections for transgender and other LGBTQ individuals.
“We have to pass the Equality Act,” Clinton said in October 2015, adding, “You will be able to count on me to fight for you.”
“Our fight for equality must continue to ensure transgender people are treated with equal rights and dignity,” she tweeted in January 2016.
As recently as March of this year, she tweeted, “We must stand up for trans people.”
Clinton, 74, faced backlash from the trans community in 2019 after she said it would take “a lot more time and effort” for people her age “to understand what it means to be defining yourself differently.”
She later clarified her comments and declared, “This is a moment for every single one of us to affirm that transgender people deserve equality, safety, and opportunity.”
Clinton’s comments Friday about the midterm elections come amid a heated national debate surrounding women’s sports and fairness, spurred by the rise of now-former University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, and her record-breaking wins competing on the women’s team. Thomas, who previously competed on the school’s men’s team, has insisted she doesn’t hold a competitive advantage over her female teammates.
Clinton has been noticeably silent about her position specifically on trans women competing in women’s sports.
Several Republican-led states have pushed to ban hormone treatments and gender transition surgery for minors, as well as prevent males who are transgender from competing in women’s sports and from using female bathrooms and locker rooms.
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Clinton slammed such laws as “government overreach” that endanger transgender people.
“It feels more important than ever to mark this year’s Trans Day of Visibility as laws threatening trans people pass through state legislatures around the U.S.” she tweeted March 31. “These laws represent government overreach that targets an already-vulnerable group.”
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.