Vivek Ramaswamy: What has the Republican candidate said about LGBTQ+ rights?

2024 Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy stands behind a debate podium making a thumb's up sign

The United States presidential election is set to take place on Tuesday 5 November 2024, and candidates are already preparing for what is set to be a divisive race.

Current Democratic president Joe Biden announced he will be running for re-election in 2024 alongside vice president Kamala Harris, with indicted former president Donald Trump looking like the favourite on the Republican side. 

Trump and Florida governor Ron DeSantis are currently the front-running Republicans in the race, but outlier Vivek Ramaswamy is now also climbing in terms of popularity.

Here’s everything we know about entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and his record on LGBTQ+ rights. 

Who is Vivek Ramaswamy?

Multi-millionaire entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy announced he was running in the 2024 presidential election in February, becoming the youngest Republican presidential candidate at 38 years old. 

The businessman, who has previously said he believes climate change is a “hoax”, claimed he wants to be the next Donald Trump and describes himself as a “nationalist”. 

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“I’m more similar to Trump in 2015 than Trump today is to Trump in 2015,” Ramaswamy said in an interview with British comedian turned YouTube personality Russell Brand.  

Harvard and Yale graduate Ramaswamy has limited political experience, but made millions in pharmaceuticals and biotech before writing a book in 2021 titled Woke, Inc, which raged against what he called the “modern woke-industrial complex”.

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After its publication, Ramaswamy began appearing on right-wing media, including Fox News, before announcing his bid for the 2024 presidential campaign. 

In an appearance on The NPR Politics Podcast, the entrepreneur claimed: “Maybe you would classify me as a nationalist. I think it’s a label I’m willing to wear, I don’t think that it has to be a bad word.

“As long as it’s a nationalism built around the ideas that set a nation into motion, that can actually unite us as a country.”

Announcing his intention to run for president in February, he said: “We’re in the middle of a national identity crisis. Faith, patriotism and hard work have disappeared, only to be replaced by new secular religions like Covidism, climatism and gender ideology.”

He continued: “Today, the woke left preys on that vacuum and tells Americans that their race, gender and sexual orientation govern who you are, what you can achieve and what you are allowed to think.”

Republican 2024 presidential candidates including Vivek Ramaswamy take part in the first debate of the GOP primary season. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

What has the 2024 candidate said about LGBTQ+ rights?

Several Republicans running for president in 2024 have divisive records on LGBTQ+ rights, and it appears Vivek Ramaswamy is no different, having publicly stated his opposition to gender-affirming care and trans people taking part in sports. 

On his 2024 campaign website, the entrepreneur has a section entitled ‘TRUTHS’ listing 10 of his beliefs, which include: “There are two genders” and “the nuclear family is the greatest form of governance known to mankind”. 

In a tweet on 6 April, Ramaswamy explained that if he is elected to lead he will shut down the Department of Education “without apology” after it proposed a rule barring schools from enforcing policies that ban trans students from playing sports on teams that match their gender.

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A separate tweet from June saw the 2024 candidate describe the trans community as a “cult”, and claim he is against LGBTQ+ equality training in schools and workplaces.

“I’ve also been clear about my position on the trans cult in America: transgenderism is most often a mental health disorder and should be treated accordingly,” Ramaswamy wrote.

“We live in a free country and that means you’re free to act how you want as an adult, but you can’t foist your views onto everyone else.”

He echoed this view during an appearance on NBC’s Meet The Press, claiming: “This LGBTQIA+ movement has become [a cult].”

Ramaswamy has also railed against gender-affirming care for trans youth – which several states have clamped down on in recent years – despite its safety being proved time and time again.

He tweeted: “Ban genital mutilation and puberty blockers before age 18. Treat gender dysphoria as a mental health disorder.”

At the Iowa State Fair in August, Ramaswamy explained that he is also against universal same-sex marriage, claiming: “I don’t think that somebody who’s religious should be forced to officiate a wedding that they disagree with.”

“I don’t have a negative view of same-sex couples, but I do have a negative view of a tyranny of the minority,” he added.

“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.”

What is Ramaswamy’s likelihood of winning the Republican nomination?

According to business intelligence company Morning Consult, Ramaswamy holds support from 10 per cent of potential Republican voters.

The entrepreneur seemed to garner support after the first Republican debate, with 72 per cent of Republican primary voters believing he performed “very” or “somewhat” well. This is slightly higher than Ron DeSantis, with 65 per cent believing the Florida governor performed “very” or “somewhat” well. 

Currently, Morning Consult reports Donald Trump leading in the polls, with 58 per cent of Republican primary voters saying they would vote for him. DeSantis came in second, with 14 per cent in favour.

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