While Progress Has Been Made, LGBTQ Candidates Still Face Prejudice on the Campaign Trail

I've written about a potential rainbow wave of LGBTQ candidates running for positions in the US government which is undoubtedly a good sign as more LGBTQ are comfortable with their sexuality than in the past. But with anything, there are more than one side. Across the country, many LGBTQ candidates faced and continue to face prejudice and homophobia by their opponents according to The Daily Beast.

Democratic state legislature and openly gay man Malcolm Kenyatta found flyers in Philadelphia made of him that included a picture of him and his ex-husband with a red prohibited symbol around them with the caption "Say No!!!!!" 

This is just one of many examples of anti-LGBT campaigning taking place in the United States. A mailer was sent out in Pittsburgh by an anonymous group that goes by the name "Friends of Daryl Metcalfe" that had a picture of Daniel Smith Jr. and his husband with the caption "Wolf, Smith Jr. and the man he calls his 'husband.' " Daryl Metcalfe has definitely never been on the side of gay rights and actually halted a meeting because a man touched his arm, so it's not surprising that he or someone associated with him would make being gay into something negative. By putting the word husband, the friend of Metcalfe attempted to invalidate Smith Jr.'s marriage and imply that only heterosexual marriage is valid.

Transgender rights are also under attack, as a mailer was distributed by the Conservative Republicans of Harris County in Texas throughout Houston that asked voters to "remember when the Democrats wanted to allow men to enter into women’s public bathrooms,” a misleading statement that conflates transgender women and cisgender men. As well as the bathroom debacle, some transgender candidates, such as Amelia Marquez, have been purposely misgendered as a way to invalidate trans identities.

At a more local level, Gary Soiseth, an openly gay man who is running for reelection for the position of mayor in Turlock, California had his campaign sign vandalized with an anti-gay slur.

While these instances are all horrible, LGBTQ candidates are not discouraged by them, but instead are motivated because they recognize that their anti-LGBTQ opponents are in the minority and that people generally chose support for equal rights over hateful rhetoric.

This does not mean that anti-LGBTQ rhetoric will cease soon, but it warms my heart to see that LGBTQ people are willing to fight for what they believe is right while having such hateful opponents hurling slurs and bigotry at them. It is important, especially now in this divided political climate, that people become educated on LGBTQ issues so that bigotry will be a thing of the past. 

h/t: The Daily Beast, CBS Sacramento 

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