Only six months ago, she purposely misgendered Pennsylvania secretary of health and President Joe Biden’s nominee for assistant secretary of health Rachel Levine. In May, Pennsylvania Real-Time News spoke to Levine, who criticized a radio host for repeatedly calling her “sir” during a live interview. Ellis retweeted the article with the caption: “This guy is making decisions about your health.”
Ellis has long been a relentless advocate against LGBTQ rights, endorsing conversion therapy and suggesting that HIV rates among gay men are the result of “God’s moral law.”
In the aftermath of the 2015 mass shooting in which 49 people were killed in a gay club in Orlando, Ellis wrote a column for the blog The Strident Conservative titled “Two Wrongs Do Not Make an LGBT Right.”
The editorial contains nuggets such as: “I’m disappointed conservatives are acquiescing to the LGBT agenda. 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.”
There’s more where that came from. Jan. 22, after her cause to undermine the results of the election yielded no results, Ellis was back once again to flaunt her values.
Keep your ophthalmologist’s number handy as the following tweet may result in an uncontrollable episode of eye-rolling: “A word on this debate over whether conservative women are ‘hotter.’ The answer is definitely yes, but not for the reason you think,” Ellis tweeted on Friday. “It’s because conservative women VALUE our femininity and our immutable differences. We aren’t TRYING to be men. God made us WOMEN. Go us and go men!”
A word on this debate over whether conservative women are “hotter.” The answer is definitely yes, but not for the reason you think. It’s because conservative women VALUE our femininity and our immutable differences. We aren’t TRYING to be men. God made us WOMEN. Go us and go men! https://t.co/XGsrr9ljHH— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) January 22, 2021
We’ve come to not expect much from the Trump administration in terms of socially responsible messaging, and Ellis’ latest statement is not even close to the worse thing she’s said, but her frighteningly childish “prettier than thou” argument is, most alarmingly, a toxic heteronormative memo delivered in the same week that President Biden issued an executive order calling for LGBTQ protections.
Now, we don’t want to get into the slippery sexist slope of countering Ellis' claim with an imagined beauty contest, but we're weak. Sooooo, Ellis seems to forget that most Hollywood actresses, pop stars and artists aren't conservative. Perhaps she’s never seen a viral Karen video, either, or has permanent beer goggles around members of her party — or maybe beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder of conservative biases.
While Ellis’ words seem beneath any dignified intellectual analysis, they recklessly perpetuate colonial ideals in addition to transphobia, says immigration activist Natalia Neira Retamal, a North Texan who now lives in California.
“I grew up in Texas and felt like the ugliest fucking person in the planet there because the beauty standards there are white, Dallas Cowboy cheerleader,” Neira Retamal says, while California's progressive culture includes a broader spectrum of beauty standards.
“Imposing conservative beauty standards as the gospel truth onto everyone is patriarchal white supremacy,” she says.
Dallas Feminist Collective member Courteny Morgan says the organization finds Ellis’ tweet "offensive and incredibly harmful in a number of ways."
"She seems determined to uphold the gender binary and reinforce gender norms, i.e. equating femininity with womanhood," Morgan says. "But as Angela Davis said, having a narrow understanding of gender identity as strictly male and female 'prevents us from understanding the fluidity and multiplicity of gender awareness, consciousness and expression.'
"Even more disturbing than her dedication to upholding the gender binary and tired gender stereotypes is the transphobia in her message," Morgan continues. "Attitudes like the one she holds are what lead to the incredible amount of violence that trans people, especially Black and brown trans women, face every single day. According to HRC [Human Right Campaign], 2020 was the deadliest year for trans folks since they began tracking violence against trans people in 2013. Comments like this one from Jenna Ellis fuel the violence, which often is deadly, against our trans and non-binary communities."