Republican Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert has said that the LGBTQ rights bill known as the Equality Act is actually about the “supremacy of gays and lesbians and transvestites” above all other Americans.
The Equality Act, which passed the House last week, would add sexual orientation and gender identity to existing federal civil rights laws. It would ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination in employment, education, housing, public accommodations, jury selection, credit and federal programs.
Boebert mentioned the bill during a Wednesday interview on Real America’s Voice, a right-leaning media network.
Calling the bill “the so-called Equality Act,” Boebert said, “We all know that that’s just the Democrats using a play on words. There’s nothing about equality in that act. If anything, it’s supremacy of gays and lesbians and transvestites.”
Transvestite is a term from the early 1900s that refers to cross-dressers, people who wear clothes typically associated with a different gender. In the past, the word has been used as both a mental illness and a criminal offense.
The “T” in LGBTQ stands for transgender, people whose gender identity doesn’t correspond to the sex they were assigned at birth. Members of the transgender community do not consider themselves “transvestites” and find the word offensive and inaccurate when applied to them.
In her interview, Boebert said the Equality Act is “about putting [LGBTQ people] higher than anyone else.” She also said that the bill is unnecessary because the 14th Amendment of the Constitution already ensures “that all men are equal under the law.”
“We need to hold that supreme rather than woke ideologies,” she added.
Despite the fact that the 14th Amendment has existed since 1868, only last year did the Supreme Court rule that it’s unconstitutional to fire someone for being LGBTQ. Supporters of the Equality Act say it mostly seeks to nationalize LGBTQ rights that already exist in 23 U.S. states.
However, Boebert is just one of numerous Republican Congress members who oppose the legislation.
Republican Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Debbie Lesko of Arizona have both claimed that the bill will unfairly allow transgender females into sports and social spaces traditionally reserved for cisgender females. Greene said the bill will put “trans rights above women’s rights.”
“The Dems’ so-called ‘Equality Act’ would force schools and women’s shelters to allow biological men into women’s spaces, including women’s bathrooms and locker rooms! This completely undermines women and girls’ privacy!” Lesko tweeted.
Many transgender people have faced discrimination in spaces traditionally designated for cisgender women, such as public locker rooms, bathrooms, domestic abuse shelters, homeless shelters, medical offices and many other places, according to the 2015 Transgender Survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality.
In some cases, discrimination and exclusion from these places subject transgender people to extreme bodily distress, physical violence and even death, the survey said.
Republican Representative Warren Davidson of Ohio and other GOP members also worry that the Equality Act will threaten religious freedoms. Specifically, the bill’s religious opponents worry that it will force people of faith to do business with LGBTQ people, even if it conflicts with a person’s sincerely held religious beliefs.
“The so-called ‘Equality Act’ imposes a modern heresy code on Americans at odds with the free exercise of religion protections of the 1st Amendment. It imposes conformity, not tolerance. Sadly, I do not trust the US Supreme Court to correctly render that as the majority opinion,” Davidson wrote on Twitter.
The bill would specifically forbid people from using the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) as a way to avoid the Equality Act’s provisions. The RFRA forbids federal laws from unnecessarily infringing upon people’s religious freedoms. Civil rights advocates worry that religious people might use the RFRA as a “license to discriminate” against LGBTQ people.
Republicans are largely expected to block the Equality Act’s passage as the bill heads to the Senate. In that congressional upper chamber, it would need a filibuster-proof 60 votes to pass, requiring 10 Republicans to support it. Thus far, no Senate Republicans have voiced support for the bill.
Newsweek contacted Boebert’s office for comment.