Republicans Have Stopped Hiding Anti-Trans Bigotry

There have been 474 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced across the U.S. this year and Kelly Craft's campaign in the Bluegrass State illustrates the attacks on transgender people.

Published: May 22, 2023  |  

Transgender film and TV critic


The Republicans are no longer even trying to hide their hateful bigotry. As Kentucky gubernatorial candidates finished their campaigning before the May 16 primary, their bigotry was in full force, particularly from former U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft.

On the campaign trail, Craft said the line that you’re not supposed to say. Not in public, anyway. Her most recent comments came during a telephone town hall.

Answering a question about the transgender agenda—which really comes down to just wanting to live—Craft’s answer was: “Under a Craft-Wise administration, we will not have transgender people in our school system.” Max Wise is Craft’s running mate.

Transgender is an adjective, not a noun. The GLAAD Media Reference Guide even recommends not using such terms as “transgenders” or “transgendered.” Republican politicians continually refuse to follow this advice.

Craft is running with Wise on her ticket. The Kentucky state senator is behind many transphobic bills that will drive families out of the state and hurt the local economy by scaring away potential businesses and conventions. Put it this way: I have no intention of stepping foot in the state for my high school reunion this year. Even though my hometown is fairly liberal in politics, why should I financially support a state whose legislature has made it clear that I am not welcome as a transgender American?

Craft is the wife of Joe Craft, who is synonymous with the coal industry. The Joe Craft Center on the University of Kentucky campus, the practice facility and athletics office adjacent to Memorial Coliseum, is named for him. The Wildcat Coal Lodge, which provides accommodation for the basketball team, was also built with the aid of the businessman’s donations.

Suffice it to say, two cornerstones of Kentucky Athletics life are associated with such hateful bigotry. I can’t say for sure that the coal magnate is in 100% agreement with his wife, but I haven’t seen any statements that say otherwise.

The Craft-Wise campaign released a weak statement trying to walk back the damage. It said: “Of course, Kelly was referring to the woke ideologies being pushed in our schools. She has been advocating for the best for all children this entire campaign.”

If Craft were truly advocating for the best for all children, she would distance herself from the conservative American Principles Project (APP). They are the reason why there have been 474 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced this year. There were less than 200 in 2022. This year is the worst legislative year on record for no reason other than bigots being hateful bigots.

A recent New York Times piece illustrating how conservatives started rallying against transgender rights shows just how truly disturbing things are. They lost their fight on gay marriage, so Christian nationalists, represented by organizations such as the APP, turned their attention to children.

“We knew we needed to find an issue that the candidates were comfortable talking about,” said Terry Schilling, the president of APP. “And we threw everything at the wall.”

The Times article said that at least 20 Republican-controlled states are showing anti-trans bigotry. It isn’t just bathrooms or letting trans athletes play sports. They are now focused on taking away our healthcare—the same healthcare that allows us to live. 

They are controlling education and taking books out of libraries if they so much as dare to go against Christian nationalist teachings. Not everyone is a Christian, so forcing religious beliefs on another person is a Constitutional violation. 

Kelly Craft is not the only Republican with this foot-in-mouth problem. Alabama’s U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville does not seem to know the definition of white nationalism and what makes someone a white nationalist. He believes that they’re just Americans and that the term is how people refer to the Trump MAGA cult.

The former football coach could not be more wrong. He’s had opportunity after opportunity to clarify his comments, only to dig himself into a deeper hole. Athletes might have a certain level of fame that helps them get into elected office, but Tuberville alone is reason enough not to trust athletes running for office.

It’s not an understatement to say that Republicans are going to have blood on their hands. There are in the region of 300,000 children who identify as transgender in the U.S. If they don’t come from a privileged family with the necessary funds to move to a sanctuary state, they will be forced to detransition. This never ends well.

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