By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com August 26 2013 5:57 PM ET
Daniel Hernandez Jr., the gay former intern widely credited with providing lifesaving first aid to Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords when she was shot at an event in 2011, has now himself become the target of an antigay campaign aimed at removing him from a Tucson-area school board.
Right Wing Watch reports that an unidentified source has been passing out fliers at local elementary schools that claim because Hernandez is gay, he is not a "real man," doesn't support athletics, and has no concern for children.
The blog notes that the case involves a substantial amount of head-spinning local politics, with four out of five members of the Sunnyside Unified School District board facing recall petitions, each filed by fellow school board members. The catalyst for the recall efforts seems to be each member's relationship with the district's controversial superintendent, be they ally or opponent.
But, as Right Wing Watch points out, the tactics employed against Hernandez are blatantly, unashamedly homophobic in nature. Fliers obtained by the blog from a reader in the district show an image of Hernandez in front of a banner reading "Equality Forum," with a headline exhorting members to "Put a REAL Man on the Sunnyside Board," noting that "Daniel Hernandez is LGBT," and therefore is not "someone who will support Sports [sic] and cares about our kids." The flier wraps up its homophobic message with an allegation that Hernandez is unneeded on the school board, since he "hates our values."
A second flier being distributed around the district attacks Hernandez for his work to prevent gun violence, using odd rhetoric and improper grammar to send its message. "We don't need a high flying school board member," reads the headline of the second ad, above an image of an airplane. "Daniel Hernandez cares about only one things [sic] taking your guns away."
The school district includes portions of Tucson and some adjacent areas.