Billionaire Joseph Edelman accused of ‘quietly financing’ America’s anti-trans movement

Protester holds up sign reading "trans rights are human rights"

Billionaire hedge fund CEO Joseph Edelman has been accused of “quietly financing” America’s anti-trans movement after more than $1m in donations to conservative organisations were uncovered. 

A Huffington Post investigation published on Thursday (26 October) found that Edelman and his wife donated $1 million to help launch conservative group Do No Harm, which is reportedly behind several pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation across the US. 

The group – which describes itself as a “diverse group of healthcare professionals, medical students, patients and policymakers” – claims on its website that it wishes to “protect minors from gender ideology”, specifically aiming to limit gender-affirming care for young trans people

Huffington Post uncovered a $1m donation to Do No Harm through tax filings for the Edelman Family Foundation in 2022, the same year Do No Harm was founded. The news outlet added that the donation amount is approximately the same amount that Do No Harm recorded as its 2022 revenue, meaning the Edelman Family Foundation was the group’s primary funder in its first year. 

In a note on the Edelman Family Foundation’s tax filing, it said the donation to the group was “to provide support to protect healthcare from a radical, divisive and discriminatory ideology.”

The news outlet added that since it was founded in 2017, the Edelman Family Foundation has also provided donations to other conservative organisations including the Foundation for Individual Rights and Free Expression, and Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism, which campaigns against diversity and inclusion programmes and critical race theory. 

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Since Do No Harm was founded, it has reportedly provided model language for at least two bills that have aimed to limit gender-affirming care and have become law, in Montana and Arkansas

In May this year, two trans teens sued the state of Montana over the bill – the same bill that led Missoula Representative Zooey Zephyr to tell colleagues they’d have “blood on their hands” if they passed it – claiming blocking trans healthcare is “unconstitutional”.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Montana, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the teens, claimed it was the “sixth time” they’ve sued to defend trans youth health care in a month.

Phoebe Cross, one of the teens, said: “I will never understand why my representatives are working to strip me of my rights and the rights of other transgender kids.

“Just living as a trans teenager is difficult enough, the last thing me and my peers need is to have our rights taken away.”

PinkNews has contacted Do No Harm for comment.