Charmaine Yoest, the anti-choice activist recently appointed to a top government agency post by President Trump, has made a career out of disparaging and smearing transgender people and the LGBTQ community.
Blog posts published on a website co-authored by Charmaine Yoest and her husband Jack Yoest, a business and economics professor at the Catholic University of America, include transphobic language and referred to transgender people as “crazy,” labeled transgender people “creatures,” and referred to medical care for transgender people as “a joke.”
The Yoests in a 2008 blog post claimed that McDonald’s “promotes the homosexual lifestyle” and encouraged readers to send an open letter to McDonald’s corporate leadership. “Parents should ask if McDonald’s will embrace open unisex restrooms where transgenders and transvestites and cross-dressers can have proximity to the wee ones,” Yoest wrote.
Many of the blog’s more inflammatory posts have since been removed.
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Yoest, who will serve as the assistant secretary for public affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), was among Trump’s most loyal supporters during the 2016 presidential campaign and was named to Trump’s “pro-life advisory council” designed to woo anti-choice hardliners.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement that Trump seems to seek out those who have made transphobic statements. “It’s almost as if President Trump is trying to find people who say the most mean, spiteful, hateful things about transgender people to fill roles in his administration,” Keisling said.
Yoest in a 2006 appearance on Fox News said transgender people suffer from a “disorder” and claimed that people who seek to have their birth certificate match their gender identity are “attempting to change reality.”
Yoest in a February appearance on CNN defended so-called bathroom panic bills by saying that anti-transgender bills are intended to ensure “safe spaces for young women and girls in locker rooms, in bathrooms,” despite no evidence to support that claim.
“The real issue is the opening that it provides for sexual predators,” Yoest said. “This makes it much more difficult for law enforcement agencies to identify people who might be using this as a way to get access to young girls and women.”
Yoest is the former president and CEO of Americans United for Life (AUL), an anti-choice legislation mill instrumental in the passage of laws that restrict abortion access. AUL measures are opposed by the evidence-based medical and scientific communities.
Yoest was most recently hired as a senior fellow at American Values, a conservative Christian organization “deeply committed to defending life, traditional marriage and equipping our children with the values necessary to stand against liberal education and cultural forces.”