GOP rhetoric hurts transgender people, LGBTQ organization says

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — During Fancy Farm this year, a handful of Republican politicians made jokes against the LGBTQ community, particularly the transgender community, during their stump speeches. Spectrum News 1 reached out to the Fairness Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy organization in Kentucky, to hear their response. The organization’s executive director, Chris Hartman, said, “Shame on Kentucky Republicans for trying to turn Kentucky’s trans kids into political pawns for votes.”

What do you want to know

  • Held on the first Saturday in August, Fancy Farm is an annual political picnic in western Kentucky, where many political candidates vying for the upcoming election give stump speeches to raucous crowds.
  • This year, a handful of Republican politicians have turned their rhetoric against the transgender community in their speeches
  • A theme in these speeches included transgender people playing sports
  • Fairness Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy organization in Kentucky, called out those who made extreme comments and said they were hurtful

What Politicians serve every year at the Fancy Farm Picnic is why Hartman told Spectrum News 1 he intentionally avoids it.

“I mean, I’ve had enough of the ham they’re handing out at the State Capitol in Frankfort, so I generally feel like I don’t need to hear it from the Fancy Farm stage. , where the rhetoric and vitriol are so much more peaked,” Hartman explained.

The Fairness Campaign is an advocacy organization focused on legislation that prohibits LGBTQ discrimination. Since its founding in 1991, 24 of Kentucky’s 120 counties have passed equity ordinances, which prohibit LGBTQ discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Every year, Republicans and Democrats are invited to speak at Fancy Farm, but in recent years the GOP has made up the majority of the speeches. This year, three Democrats and 10 Republicans spoke at the event.

Fancy Farm emcee and Republican House Speaker David Osborne (R-59), US Congressman James Comer (R-KY), Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles (R), Auditor State Mike Harmon (R) and Kentucky lawmaker Richard Heath (R-2) were politicians who made comments against the LGBTQ community in their speeches. U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was not at Fancy Farm, but his wife, political author Kelley Paul, replaced him. His rhetoric against transgender people was the most extensive.

“Biden says, ‘Don’t worry, we’re not in a recession. Well, I wouldn’t expect a Democrat to know what a session is. They can’t even define what a session is. a woman,” she said during her speech.

During this year’s legislative session, lawmakers overruled Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of Senate Bill 83, which banned transgender girls in grades six through 12 from playing women’s sports and transgender women to play on women’s college teams.

“It’s a tactic as old as time, and these comments would have been about gay marriage ten or 20 years ago. Sadly, trans kids are the attack of the day right now for conservatives to try to talk about back to an extremist base,” Hartman said.

Hartman added that the fairness campaign has the support of some Kentucky Republican lawmakers, but he called out those who made extreme anti-LGBTQ comments and said their comments were harmful.

“These are the types of comments that cause trans children in particular to experience higher levels of depression, experience higher rates of self-harm and, sadly, suicide,” he said.

Hartman thinks candidates who use anti-LGBTQ rhetoric in their 2022 midterm election campaigns will lose votes.

“And I dare not say many of them will lose, but I think their margins won’t be as wide as they first thought they would be,” Hartman said.

Hartman said the Fairness Campaign will keep what politicians are saying in mind as the advocacy organization considers who it will endorse and support on Nov. 8.

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