Twitter users and websites claim that Michelle Obama is actually a guy, citing a voter registration form from the US state of Illinois and a photo of the former first lady as proof. This is false; the image has been altered, and the Illinois State Board of Elections stated that it did not submit the alleged shared voter record online.
“Whatever happened to Big Mike, Michael LaVaughn Robinson?” reads a tweet by Simon Goddeck on June 14, 2023, whose account was already suspended for spreading misinformation about COVID-19. The post includes two pictures of Barack and Michelle Obama, one recent and one older. The claim that Michelle Obama is a man has been circulating online for years. In 2021, the Associated Press debunked an image of her loss, which was changed to read “Mike” instead of “Vote.”
Recently, a shared image has also been manipulated in a similar manner – Barack Obama posted the original version on Instagram in 2019. A 2020 Netflix documentary called “Becoming,” which is based on Michelle Obama’s autobiography of the same name, also uses the original picture. A reverse image search reveals that the altered version came from a website called The People’s Voice, which previously published false information as well.
The title of a July 22, 2022 article states, “Michelle Obama registered as a man to vote according to the Illinois State Board of Elections in 1994, including a manipulated image.” The story also makes reference to voting records that allegedly show the former First Lady of the United States in her own Illinois as a “male.” Amidst a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ misinformation, these claims have also spread on Twitter.
However, Matt Dietrich, a public information officer for the Illinois State Board of Elections, informed AP on June 20 that the agency “was not the source of the record depicted in the post and had no information about such a record.”
He further stated, “We have no record of this voter registration, which would have been from before we had an electronic database beyond 2002, and we have no record of any other gender besides female being listed in the data we have.”