President Trump is expected to nominate Penny Nance, an anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion, and anti-feminist activist, to be the “Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues,” a position created under President Obama.
Since 2010, Nance has led the Concerned Women for America (CWA), a Christian social policy organization that has been listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBTQ hate group. She doesn’t believe that efforts to restrict health coverage for women are part of a “war on women,” but she used that term to describe the Violence Against Women Act. And she claims that legal abortion is worse than the Holocaust.
Planned Parenthood slammed the choice this weekend, with executive vice president Dawn Laguens saying the nomination “would be [like] putting an arsonist in charge of the fire department.” According to Laguens, CWA called the Office of Global Women’s Issues, which Nance would oversee, a “wasteful and unnecessary idea.”
Indeed, Nance seems more concerned about men. In 2015, she infamously took to Fox News to attack the Disney film Frozen (which had already been available on DVD for nearly a year) for framing men only as villains and fools. “We want to raise heroes,” she said. “We want to raise real men who will stick in their families and be great dads and great providers and great husbands” — as if there were no films portraying men as virtuous. She said it was great that films like Frozen empower women, but it shouldn’t come “at the cost of tearing down men.” Nance ended the interview insisting, “We want to encourage masculinity and not villainize masculinity. We’re Concerned Women for America and we’re the women’s group who love men — real men.”
The litany of of CWA’s toxic legacy is long. For example, CWA was an ardent defender of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. “Her predicament is the direct result of the lawlessness promoted by the Supreme Court of the United States itself with its unconstitutional Obergefell decision,” Nance said at the time.
CWA has also opposed transgender equality, regularly reinforcing the trope that allowing transgender people to access spaces that match their gender identity somehow endangers other people. And like other social conservative organizations, the group promotes abstinence-only education and condemns premarital sex.
Nance is also a member of the Council for National Policy, the secretive right-wing network that urged Trump to sign a sweeping executive order protecting “religious liberty,” a draft of which leaked back in February. It would have explicitly allowed for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, abortion, and premarital sex.
In September, Nance bragged in an interview that social conservative groups like hers had “unprecedented” access to the Trump White House. That access would only increase if, as expected, she is selected for the women’s ambassador position. But Nance’s history shows she’d only be speaking on behalf of a very narrow slice of the female population — straight, cisgender women who oppose abortion, reject feminism and never have sex outside of marriage.