The strange trend of Republicans spreading rumours that Michelle Obama is transgender, explained

The strange trend of Republicans spreading rumours that Michelle Obama is transgender, explained

A former Republican congressional candidate is the latest person to fuel a re-emergence of an internet conspiracy theory that insists Michelle Obama is a trans woman.

DeAnna Lorraine, who unsuccessfully ran against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2020 elections, made barely veiled references to the conspiracy theory in tweets following the release of Obama’s documentary Becoming, on Netflix.

“Michelle Obama is releasing a documentary on Netflix called "Becoming”” Lorraine wrote on 28 April.

“I wonder what she's becoming…”

The wannabe politician followed her earlier statement with further remarks on 5 May, posting:

I honestly wonder if Michelle Obama has the 'balls' to face the scrutiny that she would come under if she signed on to be Biden's VP.

Michelle has never been truly vetted.

Replies to her tweets showed the dogwhistle was received loud and clear, with offensive remarks made speculating about Michelle’s genitals and doctored images posted that depicted the former First Lady with a beard.

There were also references to comedian Joan Rivers who peddlers of the theory believe was killed for discovering Obama's 'secret'. (Bizarre, we know)

This awful conspiracy theory isn’t new: it was first floated by InfoWars host Alex Jones in 2017 (who famously believes that the Sandy Hook school shooting never happened)

"Since the early days of the Obama administration, citizens across the board have studied videos and photos of Michelle Obama and said that she is a man," Jones said at the time, demonstrating a complete incomprehension of what being trans means.

The far-right seized on the theory with gusto as it neatly complements existing transphobia and racism within their ranks.

Firstly, those sharing the theory have conflated "being trans" with "possessing masculine features", which right-wingers often attribute to Obama as part of a racist stereotype that excludes black women from "womanhood".

Secondly, the entire "conspiracy" is predicated on the assumption that being trans is something to be ashamed of, or hide. It’s not.

So let's just get one thing clear: if Michelle Obama was a trans woman, she would still be a woman.

But the mistaken belief that being trans is somehow something lesser than being cis is why the far-right are so determined to spread this particular conspiracy theory far and wide.

DeAnna Lorraine would probably be better served minding her own business; in her failed run for Congress she racked up 4,600 votes against Pelosi’s 190,000.

Lorraine is also a "proud" men’s rights "activist" and touts herself as a "MAGA relationship-expert".

A well adjusted and clearly very happy woman, I think we can all agree.

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