Transgender influencer Mulvaney, 26, has been at the center of a social media storm over the past two months following her partnership with Bud Light. On April 1, Mulvaney shared a video on Instagram in which she revealed that Bud Light had sent her a can with her face on it to commemorate her 365 days of living as a woman.
Mulvaney charted the first year of her transition to female in a series of viral TikTok videos under the title 365 Days of Girlhood. She included details of the surgery she had undergone to feminize her facial features this past December.
Her partnership with Bud Light has drawn condemnation and boycott calls from various conservative figures, including Texas GOP Representative Dan Crenshaw. One of the earliest and most prominent detractors was musician Kid Rock, who reacted by sharing footage of himself opening fire on a stack of Bud Light cans.
Amid the backlash calls, other major companies in the U.S. have faced increased scrutiny. This led to Target being added to the list of companies facing boycott calls, after the release of its clothing and accessories for LGBTQ Pride Month.
Photos that have been shared online of bathing suits sold at Target include "tuck-friendly" tailoring and "extra crotch coverage."
During a recent episode of his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, Rogan, 55, weighed in on the financial fallout that Bud Light has endured, while he also took aim at Target's Pride-themed range of clothing and accessories.
"Can you imagine, you're just gonna send a f****** can to some confused person," Rogan said while speaking with his guest, comedian Theo Von. "You send that person a f****** can with their face on, and your company loses $20 billion. That is wild s***, man."
Recent figures show that Bud Light sales dropped 29.5 percent in the week ending May 20, according to data provided to Newsweek by Bump Williams Consulting and Nielsen IQ. That week was more than a month and a half since Mulvaney had announced her brief partnership with the beer.
"We're seeing that now where we never saw that before, where people are going, 'Enough. Stop shoving this down everybody's throat,'" Rogan continued on his show. "When I go to Target, I don't want to see like f****** tuck pants, where they're designed to help you tuck your d***. That's not normal, and I don't want that right in front of everybody. It's weird."
"There's a lot of just f****** real weirdness with this group of people that is trying to like change the way people view sexuality and gender and all these different things," the former Fear Factor host added. "It's like they're proselytizing."
Newsweek has contacted a representative of Mulvaney via email for comment.
Rogan previously weighed in on the Bud Light furor during an episode where he and his guests drank cans of the beleaguered beer brand. Rogan said that the backlash will "hang in there for a long time. This is gonna be one of those cultural things. There's never been a brand that got hit like this before. This is a big deal."
The TV personality and his guests then said the influx of companies showing support for LGBTQ Pride Month—which takes place every June—will likely dilute the attention on Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light's parent company.
"Do you think Bud Light's gonna bounce back?" Rogan asked his guests, who resoundingly answered that they believed it would.
The backlash reflects the anti-transgender sentiment that has been growing across the United States, with bills targeting the rights of transgender people being embraced by Republican governors and lawmakers across the country.
The number of Generation Zers identifying as transgender is almost double the number of millennials who identify as trans, according to a Gallup survey released earlier this year.
Among the previous three generations, Gen Z—those who were born between about 1997 and 2004—has the highest percentage of people, 1.9 percent, who say they identify as trans.
Among millennials, 1 percent identifies as trans, while among Generation X—those born between 1965 and 1980—and baby boomers—born between 1946 and 1964—the number plunges to 0.3 and 0.2, respectively. Among the Silent Generation—born between 1928 and 1945—those identifying as trans are less than 0.05 percent.
The two younger generations—Gen Z and millennials—have been driving the recent change in the recognition and growth of LGBTQ+ identities. The number of American adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or other nonheterosexual identities doubled in the past 10 years, according to Gallup.
But it's Gen Z that's really embracing this change. While a 2023 Gallup survey found that 7.2 percent of U.S. adults identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community, that number goes up to 19.7 percent among Gen Zers. Among millennials, by comparison, 11.2 percent identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or other.
This surge in the number of young people identifying as trans is due to a mix of increased visibility, access to information and acceptance, according to experts.
"Thanks to increases in visibility, representation, and equality, more and more LGBTQ Americans are able to come out and live as our authentic selves," Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO and president of the LGBTQ+ nonprofit GLAAD, tweeted last year in response to a Gallup survey.
The internet and social media—especially TikTok for Gen Z—have opened up a new world for trans influencers and advocates to talk about their lives and share their stories with others—something that would have been unthinkable for the Silent Generation.