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Anti-Trans Scare Campaign Targets West Virginia Candidate

skinner

Stephen Skinner is the latest victim of an anti-LGBT robocall.

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Stephen Skinner, an gay member of West Virginia's House of Delegates who is seeking a state Senate seat, is the latest target of anti-LGBT robocalls.

The call features a 12-year-old girl who says Skinner "pushed the city councils to let men into our showers." The call references the Religious Freedom Protection Act, which Skinner supported; it included an amendment outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill did not pass, partly because "conservatives argued its nondiscrimination language would allow men to go into women's bathrooms," reports The Huffington Post.

The robocall was funded by the Family Policy Council, a state organization affiliated with the national conservative Christian group Family Research Council, reports HuffPo. The Family Research Council has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization, because of the misleading information it spreads about LGBT people.

The full robocall voters heard is this:

"Hi, my name's Courtney, and a man came into our changing room last night while I was getting dressed after swim practice. So the Family Policy Council of West Virginia paid so I could tell you why that scared me. I'm only 12. I'm not old enough to see a naked man. I know what a girl is, and it's not that. My [unintelligible] said Stephen Skinner pushed the city councils to let men into our showers. She says it's because Mr. Skinner only cares about gay activism and not common-sense safety for girls. I'm not old enough to vote yet, and no candidate or any candidate's committee authorized me to call, but please vote against Stephen Skinner. I want to feel safe."

The robocall ends with a call for voters to get behind Skinner's Republican opponent, Patricia Rucker. "Patricia Rucker has a daughter. She understands. Vote for her," says the call.

Skinner, who is endorsed by the Victory Fund in his state Senate race, was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2012, when he made history as the first out lawmaker in West Virginia.

Evan McMullin, who is running as an independent presidential candidate, was targeted by homophobic robocalls in Utah. A white supremacist supporter of Donald Trump attacked McMullin because his mother is married to another woman and also accused McMullin of being a closeted gay man.

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Yezmin Villarreal

Yezmin Villarreal is the former news editor for The Advocate. Her work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Mic, LA Weekly, Out Magazine and The Fader.
Yezmin Villarreal is the former news editor for The Advocate. Her work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Mic, LA Weekly, Out Magazine and The Fader.