Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy went viral following an exchange he had with a self-described “pansexual” activist who confronted him on LGBTQ issues.
Video of the exchange, which took place on Saturday at the Iowa State Fair, began with the activist asking what his “opinions on the LGBTQ+ community.”
“Well, I don’t think it’s one community,” Ramswamy responded.
“Really?” the activist reacted.
“Yeah. I mean, how could it be,” Ramaswamy continued. “Just mash together an alphabet soup. Trans is fundamentally in tension with gay if you ask me. But what’s your opinion?”
“I’m personally am pansexual,” the activist responded, referring to the sexual orientation that has attraction towards all sexes and gender identities.
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US entrepreneur and 2024 Presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy greets attendees after his Fair Side Chat with Governor Kim Reynolds, at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on August 12, 2023. (STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
The activist then asked what his views were on same-sex couples.
“I don’t have a negative view of same-sex couples, but I do have a negative view of a tyranny of the minority,” Ramaswamy said. “So I think that in the name of protecting against the tyranny of the majority, and there are times in this country’s history where we have had a tyranny of the majority. We have now in the name of protecting against tyranny of the majority created a new tyranny of the minority.
“And I think that that’s wrong. I don’t think that somebody who’s religious should be forced to officiate a wedding that they disagree with. I don’t think somebody who is a woman who’s worked really hard for her achievements should be forced to compete against a biological man in a swim competition. I don’t think that somebody who’s a woman that respects her bodily autonomy and dignity should be forced to change clothes in a locker room with a man. That’s not freedom. That’s oppression.”
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Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is now polling third in the GOP primary, according to the RealClearPolitics average. (Joseph A. Wulfsohn/Fox News Digital)
“And so I believe that we live in a country where free adults should be free to dress how they want, behave how they want and that’s fine, but you don’t oppress you don’t become oppressive by foisting that on others, and that especially includes kids because kids aren’t the same as adults. And so I think adults are free to make whatever choices they want, but do not foist that ideology onto children before children are in a position as adults to make decisions for themselves.
“And so I think a lot of the frustration in the country, and if I’m being really honest that I also share, comes from that new culture of oppression where saying those things can actually get somebody punished. And in my case, it’s part of why it’s my responsibility to say them, and I respect that you have a different opinion. And that’s okay. Part of what makes our country great is that you and I can be civil and have this conversation and that we live in a country that still gives us — each of us the right to speak to a presidential candidate and back and still say that we pledge allegiance to the same nation. So I think that’s the beauty of our country. And that’s my honest opinion.”
The activist finished the exchange by thanking Ramaswamy, who in turn thanked her “for her civility as well.”
The social media post with of their interaction received nearly 12 million views.
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GOP hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy had a viral exchange with an LGBTQ activist at the Iowa State Fair. (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
This isn’t the first time Ramaswamy went viral for embracing voters who might not have his support. At an Iowa campaign event in July, he was confronted by a liberal protester who interrupted his remarks by advocating for abortion rights. But as other attendees attempted to shout her down, Ramaswamy urged them to “let her speak” and encouraged her to come towards the front of the room to express her thoughts.
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Ramaswamy has risen in GOP primary polls according to RealClearPolitics, placing third behind former President Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with 6.4% percent support.
He is one of eight candidates who qualify for the first Republican debate on Aug. 23 that will air on Fox News Channel at 9 p.m. ET.