Summit for "female conservatives" was feast of transphobia and far-right crackpottery

Count yourself lucky to have missed Turning Point USA's Young Women's Leadership Summit, which took place this past weekend, June 9-11, 2023, in Dallas Texas. Billed on its website as the "largest event in the country for female conservatives," it featured keynote speeches by far-right darlings Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Kari Lake, Charlie Kirk, Lara Trump, Candace Owens, Laura Ingraham, and more. 

TPUSA describes the event:

Turning Point USA's Young Women's Leadership Summit will be held June 9-11th, 2023, in Dallas, TX. Thousands of female student activists between the ages of 15 and 26 will be invited to attend. Students attending this retreat will hear from guest speakers, receive first-class activism and leadership training, and participate in networking events with political leaders and top-tier activist organizations. Following a TPUSA conference, these activists return to their campuses more energized than ever and with the proper tools and training on how to defend conservatism on their campuses. Be part of the largest gathering of young, conservative students! 

Below are some highlights, which I compiled from the TPUSA Twitter feed and the Patriot Takes Twitter feed. 

Here's Lauren Boebert's transphobic rant against Target. Patriot Takes explains: "Lauren Boebert falsely claimed Target sold 'tuck-friendly swimsuits for tots' during her transphobic stage routine at TPUSA's #YWLS2023. Boebert: 'Ladies, I have one question for Target. What the tuck?'"

Here's Charlie Kirk with some more transphobia, as he encourages the audience to harass trans folks at their schools:

Here's former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines going on a transphobic rant (with audience cheers) about NCAA swimmer Lia Thomas. At least Riley uses Lia's real name, unlike TPUSA, whose tweet uses Lia's deadname.

Here's Kari Lake praising women, saying young women can have both a career and a family, and exclaiming "we're not gender confused!":

Here's Candace Owens discussing the "globalist agenda to enslave humanity": 

And here's Candace Owens ranting against "liberal college professors":

Here's Marjorie Taylor Greene saying that Satan hates women because he's jealous—he wanted to be the most beautiful one and wanted to be able to create life, so he's all mad now:

Here's Alex Clark, host of TPUSA's pop culture show, POPlitics (could they have come up with a more awkward name?), claiming that every single person who has had an abortion eventually feels guilt and shame:

This year's summit website also included a link to their official 120-song Spotify playlist, which includes many artists who would, undoubtedly, be horrified to be associated with TPUSA, including ABBA, Cyndi Lauper, Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift, Lizzo, Lil Nas X, Miley Cyrus, and Beyonce. 

In case you need a primer, here's a quick overview of Turning Point USA. According to the American Association of University Professors:

Turning Point USA is a right-wing nonprofit with the stated mission "to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government." 

Turning Point maintains the Professor Watchlist. It claims that the purpose of the watchlist is to identify professors who "discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the class- room," but most entries are not about instances of discrimination or propagandizing in the classroom. Many entries on the Professor Watchlist concern faculty members' social media posts or scholarly publications. In a number of instances, listings have led to campaigns of online harassment against faculty members. 

Turning Point's budget of over eight million dollars is funded by donors, many of whom prefer to remain anonymous. However, founder Charlie Kirk admits that donors include those "in the fossil-fuel space"— perhaps why Turning Point has organized campus opposition to calls for schools to divest from fossil-fuel companies. 

Turning Point actively recruits and provides financial support to conservative candidates running for stu- dent government positions. At several institutions, Turning Point candidates have dropped out of races after it was discovered that they had violated university spending rules. 

Turning Point claims to have "over 300 chapters on college campuses across the country." 

Turning Point may have violated federal rules prohibiting 501(c)(3) charities from engaging in political ac- tivity by aiding Republican political campaigns, according to reports in the Chronicle of Higher Education and the New Yorker. 

DeSmog also has a great overview of TPUSA.