A Lone Transgender Activist Confronts Santorum

“I think that I’m scaring people, and that’s what i’m trying to do right now because I’m scared,” says Kneena Raheja.

Kneena Raheja.

MT PLEASANT, S.C. — Kneena Raheja, 20, has lived in the South her whole life and was born as a boy. She now considers herself transgender. The College of Charleston student came to Rick Santorum’s press conference this afternoon to give LGBT activists’ most-hated politician a piece of her mind. Holding a “Trans Visibility” sign, Raheja shouted “Mr. Santorum, you have spilled queer blood!” as the former senator left the podium. The crowd didn’t react much; one man snickered.

Afterwards, Raheja told BuzzFeed that “I think people like Rick Santorum are actively violent towards the queer population.”

“I’m just here to let him know that the longer he silences us, the longer he does not acknowledge that we, the trans population exist, the harder we will bash back.”

Raheja characterized her approach as an equal and opposite reaction to what she gets every day.

“I think that I’m scaring people, and that’s what i’m trying to do right now because i’m scared,” she said. “People don’t want to listen. They feel like I’m the aggressor.”

As for Santorum: “he’s talking about being hurt by the other candidates, but doesn’t realize the immense impact of his own oppressive ideologies,” she said.

None of the other Republican candidates are any better, in Raheja’s opinion. “They’re all white supremacists,” she said. “They’re all rich old white men that don’t know my experience.”

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