After the transgender mixed-martial-arts fighter Fallon Fox began—literally—smashing opponents’ heads, Rogan said this on his podcast:
Look, [Fox is] huge! She’s not just huge, she’s got a fucking man’s face. I mean, you can wear all the lipstick you want. You want to be a woman and you want to take female hormones, you want to get a boob job, that’s all fine. I support your life to live, your right to live as a woman.
Fight guys, yes. She has to fight guys. First of all, she’s not really a she. She’s a transgender, post-op person. The operation doesn’t shave down your bone density. It doesn’t change. You look at a man’s hands and you look at a woman’s hands and they’re built different. They’re just thicker, they’re stronger, your wrists are thicker, your elbows are thicker, your joints are thicker. Just the mechanical function of punching, a man can do it much harder than a woman can, period.
Many Democrats would find the above opinion, and the people who would uphold or express it, abhorrent.
Read: As Bernie Sanders leans into socialism, his rivals laugh
But Sanders is a Marxist of the old school of dialectical materialism, from the land that time forgot. Class relations are foundational; everything else is epiphenomenal. Sanders may have outgrown the revolutionary socialism of his youth. He seems to think in terms of ameliorating bourgeois hegemony rather than overthrowing it. He is not necessarily hostile to transgender claims. He has co-sponsored the current version of the Equality Act, which includes transgender people in the classes to be provided equal public accommodation and to be protected from job discrimination. But Sanders certainly does seem to think that such concerns are secondary. Compare and contrast the answers that he and Elizabeth Warren gave at the December 19 Democratic debate in Los Angeles.
Yamiche Alcindor of PBS asked:
Senator Sanders, at least 22 transgender people were killed in the United States this year, [most] of them transgender women of color. Each of you has said you would push for the passage of the Equality Act, a comprehensive LGBTQ civil-rights bill. But if elected, what more would you do to stop violence against transgender people?
Sanders’s answer quickly pivoted away from the cultural to the material.
We need moral leadership in the White House. We need a president who will do everything humanly possible to end all forms of discrimination against the transgender community, against the African American community, against the Latino community, and against all minorities in this country.
But above and beyond providing the moral leadership of trying to bring our people together, what we also need for the transgender community is to make sure that health care is available to every person in this country, regardless of their sexual orientation or their needs.
And that is why I strongly support and have helped lead the effort for a Medicare for All single-payer program, which will provide comprehensive health care to all people, including, certainly, the transgender community.
The question went next to Warren. She plunged directly into the question of identity.
The transgender community has been marginalized in every way possible. And one thing that the president of the United States can do is lift up attention, lift up their voices, lift up their lives.
Here’s a promise I make. I will go to the Rose Garden once every year to read the names of transgender women, of people of color, who have been killed in the past year. I will make sure that we read their names so that as a nation we are forced to address the particular vulnerability on homelessness. I will change the rules now that put people in prison based on their birth sex identification rather than their current identification. I will do everything I can to make sure that we are an America that leaves no one behind.
Sanders checked a box of support for the identity issue, then returned to regular programming. For Warren, the identity issue was the regular programming.