News Anchor Megyn Kelly is leaving Fox News to work for NBC News. Many liberals have praised the conservative Kelly for speaking up about social issues like women’s rights in the past. But what about Kelly’s record on the LGBT community?
As far as Fox News correspondents go, Kelly was one of the better ones. She famously feuded with queerphobic fascist Donald Trump over his vulgar remarks about women. She tore into radio host Mike Gallagher over his opposition to maternity leave.
She has said good things about LGBT rights as well. She clashed with former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory over anti-trans bathroom laws. She tangled with opponents of same-sex marriage. She interviewed trans actress/activist Laverne Cox.
On Fox News, Kelly comes across as a pearl in a bed of hate-mongering oysters. But is she really that great?
Kelly’s history regarding queer rights is checkered at best. Media Matters writes:
Kelly has employed anti-trans rhetoric herself on more than one occasion. During a January 2013 edition of The O’Reilly Factor, Kelly and Bill O’Reilly criticized the appearance of Michelle Kosilek, a transgender woman serving time in an all-male prison, joking that she isn’t attractive enough to be in danger of sexual assault, and repeatedly misgendering her. Kelly went on to say, “The surgery hasn’t been performed yet. … He only has breasts and the hair now.” Kelly also repeatedly suggested that taxpayers shouldn’t be required to cover the costs of the inmate’s “elective surgery” during an April 2013 edition of America Live, and she mocked the suggestion that the inmate should be housed with other female inmates, lamenting that she would get “a get-out-of-male-prison-free card.”
Kelly also has ties to homophobic nightmares like Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled an anti-LGBT hate group. In addition, her Fox show The Kelly File gave a cozy platform to anti-gay activists like the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Benham brothers.
And though Kelly had a spat with Donald Trump, she still said, “I have high hopes for him,” and “there is much to admire about [him].”
What does Kelly’s mixed history on queer rights mean? Is she a closet homophobe, spouting hollow progressive talking points to woo moderate viewers? Is she a person with an anti-LGBT past who has grown and changed for the better over recent years? We hope it’s the latter, because she’s about to have a very big platform on NBC News.