A QAnon flag, seen during a 2020 Virginia rally.

Those Transphobic ‘Transvestigator’ Conspiracy Theorists? One of Them Just Threatened a Congresswoman.

He later said he was sorry.

Is every politician and celebrity secretly transgender? No, of course not. But an online conspiracy theory community believes this to be the case, and one such “transvestigator” just sent a death threat to a Congresswoman because he believed she was transgender.

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QAnon conspiracy theorist Michel David Fox of Las Cruces, New Mexico admitted to sending a threatening phone call to an anonymous female representative with a Houston office. Fox agreed to a plea agreement in federal court last Thursday, NBC affiliate KTSM 9 reports, under the federal charge of sending a threatening message via interstate communications.

“Hey, you’re a man. It’s official,” Fox said, according to court documents. “You’re literally a tranny and a pedophile and I’m going to put a bullet in your [expletive] face. You [expletive]. You understand me, you [expletive].” All curse words were removed by KTSM 9 in its reporting.

To be clear, Fox was not simply threatening the Congresswoman because of your standard, run-of-the-mill right-wing political views. Fox told the FBI that he believes trans people run “governments, kingdoms, and corporations.” He also claimed that he had proof that the anonymous Congresswoman is transgender, as he claimed to have forensically analyzed her skull.

Fox apologized for his death threat while speaking with the FBI.

What is ‘transvestigation’?

The transvestigation conspiracy theory is a fringe movement that claims the world is primarily run by transgender people. Phrenological analysis is common among transvestigators, with a prominent focus on analyzing celebrities for proof that they are trans, according to Vice. While Vice claims the transvestigation conspiracy theory “shares similarities with QAnon and other extreme right-wing conspiracies,” reporter Hayden Vernon says it “is not necessarily part of them.”

Nonetheless, paranoia around trans rights is clearly at the heart of the transvestigation movement. RationalWiki notes that transvestigators commonly target Michelle Obama, and that transvestigation theories “have been observed in action as a gateway into other conspiracy movements such as QAnon and the anti-gender movement.” According to one RationalWiki source, transvestigators “share a mode of thought with the antisemitic far right without simply taking their views on trans people verbatim.”

“What is interesting about the transvestigation conspiracy is its focus on Hollywood and those in positions of power,” Workers’ Liberty’s Natalia Cassidy writes. “There is a consistent motif that transgender people are hiding in plain sight and pulling the wool over the eyes of those that are being ‘tricked,’ so that transgender people in power can exercise their influence unnoticed.”

The identity of the threatened Congresswoman remains unknown. However, given all three Houston-based U.S. Representatives are Democrats, and Fox professed QAnon leanings, it’s likely Fox targeted the anonymous Congresswoman based partially on her political affiliation — not just a bizarre conspiracy theory claiming every other person is trans.

(featured image: Anthony Crider/Flickr (CC BY 2.0))


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Author
Ana Valens
Ana Valens (she/her) is a reporter specializing in queer internet culture, online censorship, and sex workers' rights. Her book "Tumblr Porn" details the rise and fall of Tumblr's LGBTQ-friendly 18+ world, and has been hailed by Autostraddle as "a special little love letter" to queer Tumblr's early history. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her ever-growing tarot collection.