Meet The Transgender Republicans At CPAC

"Trump billed himself as an ally of LGBTQ rights and I want to believe him."

Caitlyn Jenner is not the only transgender Republican in America. We know this in our heads—LGBT people are part of every community, we have a horse in every race—but in our hearts, it’s hard to fathom.

It’s difficult enough to reconcile gay Republicans. Then again, these day gay Republicans are at least tolerated by Breitbart and the rest of the alt-Reichstag. Trans women in the GOP are outsiders among both groups.

That didn’t deter Jennifer Williams and Jordan Evans from attending this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in D.C. Or from carrying placards that read “Proud to be Conservative. Proud to be Transgender. Proud to be American. #SameTeam.”

Williams and Evans say they’ve remained with the party after transitioning to keep a dialogue going and to remind the Republicans that LGBT issues can’t just be swept under the rug.

“Now we’re here and we’re able to engage with people,” says Evans, who is a former state delegate, an elected library trustee, a town constable, and the Republican member of her local Registrar of Voters.

She is, in fact, the only transgender Republican elected to office in America.

Just two days after the White House announced it was rescinding Obama-era protections for trans students, she and Williams spoke with Rare at CPAC about the news. Williams, who was a delegate at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, was “very disappointed.”

Evans, who leans more Libertarian, hoped the Supreme Court ruling in the Gavin Grimm case would render the issue moot. “Trump billed himself as an ally of LGBTQ rights and I want to believe him,” she told ThinkProgress. “He gave me some good green lights—he held up the flag, he kept the LGBT envoy—but this was his first big LGBT litmus test, and he failed it.”
 

 
Executive orders and court rulings aside, Evans knows that Americans are more accepting when they can put a face to a cause. (Look at with marriage equality.) It’s her calling to show Republicans that trans women are not the bogeyman: “So many of us are average Americans. We want to make a living. We kind of want to keep to ourselves. And we want to make a difference.”

Maybe they are: An article on Williams and Evans in the arch-conservative Washington Times didn’t misgender them once.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery