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Gay-Baiting, Trans Hate Enters Texas House Race

Gay-Baiting, Trans Hate Enters Texas House Race


A political race in Houston turns homophobic and transphobic.

An antigay, anti-trans flier defaming a conservative candidate for the Texas House of Representatives is making the rounds in Houston.

Lawyer Briscoe Cain, 31, is hoping to best 72-year-old incumbent Wayne Smith and become the Republican candidate for Houston's District 128. The younger candidate came out ahead in a March primary and the runoff election is Tuesday. The race has gotten increasingly nasty and now an anti-LGBT flier, allegedly connected to Smith, was leaked to the media.

The flier insinuates that Cain is gay and sympathetic to LGBT causes (the attorney is married to a woman and the father of three kids). The people behind the flier pulled old pictures of Cain from social media, including one where he's shirtless and wearing a snorkel; images of men kissing are super-imposed on the image.

"Briscoe Cain is well known to those who frequent Montrose area night clubs and gay bars," the ad reads.

The issue of bathroom use by transgender people is a main issue of the flier; Houston voters overturned an LGBT rights ordinance in November after conservatives stoked fears about "predators" using public restrooms.

"Houston voters want to keep men out of women's locker room and restrooms," reads the flier. "District 128 voters should keep Briscoe Cain out of the men's restrooms as well."

The flier also emphasizes Smith's resistance to allowing trans people to use restrooms corresponding with their gender identity and, next to a picture of Cain, reads, "On May 24th Say NO to indecency, Say NO to Briscoe Cain."

Smith claims the ad was not approved by his campaign. It doesn't appear to have been mailed out to voters, only leaked to the local media.

"The accusations are false, and the Wayne Smith campaign knows better," Luke Macias, Cain's campaign consultant, told the Houston Chronicle. "It doesn't surprise me they'd be willing to go that ugly ... It's a desperate politician trying to protect the power he has."

The CEO of Equality Texas condemned the ad and expressed doubt at its effectiveness.

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