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11 of the Worst Transphobes, Homophobes Up for Reelection
11 GOP Transphobes and Homophobes Likely to Be Reelected Tuesday
The 2022 midterms are upon us. This election cycle has included a restriction of the culture wars. This time the focus of conservative small-mindedness was the LGBTQ+ community. With sports bans, bans on classroom topics, book bans, and pronoun deletions, the right wing has had it out for the LGBTQ+ community for at least two years. Sadly, many of the leading transphobes and homophobes are likely to be reelected. There may be a few surprises among them, but here are 11 Republicans you'll likely see again spouting their anti-LGBTQ+ agenda.
Rep. Ken Calvert - California's 41st District
This race is turning into one to watch, because of redistricting. U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert's district now includes parts of LGBTQ-friendly Palm Springs, and residents there shouldn't forget his history, critics say.
Congressional Democrats hope to pick up what seems to be an increasingly attainable seat in California's 41st District. The incumbent Republican, Calvert, has a remarkably anti-LGBTQ+ policy record, and a gay and partnered Democrat is running against him.
Will Rollins, the Democratic challenger, tells The Advocate that Calvert is no friend to the LGBTQ+ community.
"Whether it was voting against gay marriage as he did in the 1990s, then voting against the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill in 2009, voting against repealing 'don't ask, don't tell,' and then 16 months ago voting against the Equality Act, essentially saying that landlords can kick out tenants for being gay, that employers can fire people for being gay, this is a vote he took last year. And when he says he has evolved, what he means is that he will do and say anything to keep power, and power has been very lucrative for him," Rollins says.
The Real Clear Politics average scores this race as leaning Republican.
Gov. Kim Reynolds - Iowa Governor
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds earlier this year signed into law legislation that bars trans girls and women from participating on female sports teams in school.
Before signing the bill in March, Reynolds repeatedly referred to trans girls and women as "males," as she spoke to those who had come to the signing ceremony.
"This is a victory for girls' sports in Iowa," Reynolds said, according to TV station WHO. "No amount of talent, training, or effort can make up for the natural physical advantages males have over females. It's simply a reality of human biology. Forcing females to compete against males is the opposite of inclusivity and it's absolutely unfair."
Gov. Reynolds is running against Democrat Deidre DeJear. Real Clear Politics scores this race as +3 Republican.
Gov. Kristi Noem - South Dakota Governor
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed a transgender-exclusionary sports bill into law in February, making the state the first one to enact an anti-trans law in 2022. Noem, a Republican, had vetoed similar legislation last year because, she said, she feared reprisal by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which allows trans women to compete alongside cisgender women if they meet certain requirements. She brought up the possibility of economic boycotts as well. So she issued executives order limiting trans participation instead, one for K-12 schools and another for higher education. She got behind the latest legislation, however.
Gov. Noem is running securely against Democrat Jamie Smith. Real Clear Politicsscores this race as +3.4 Republican.
Sen. Marco Rubio - U.S. Senate - Florida
The senator from the Sunshine State, which just had one of its worst hurricane disasters this fall, has spent much of his time attacking drag performers as far away as Germany.
In June, Rubio sent a letter to Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall in which he perpetuates the false smear that LGBTQ+ people and drag queens are somehow sexualizing children.
"It is completely insane for Ramstein AFB to use on-installation resources for rituals like 'Drag Queen Story Time,'" Rubio wrote. "These inappropriate events are extremely divisive at home for good reason; in all cases, they place young children in close proximity with adults who are intentionally and explicitly sexualized."
Rubio earned himself a 0 on the Human Rights Campaign Congressional Scorecard.
Real Clear Politicsscores this race +7.8 Republican.
Sen. Rand Paul - U.S. Senate - Kentucky
Far-right U.S. Sen. Rand Paul went on a rant against transgender female athletes, saying they'll "destroy girls' athletics," at the 2021 confirmation hearing for President Biden's then-nominee for secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona.
Additionally, while speaking at Dr. Rachel Levine's confirmation hearings to become confirmed as assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services as the first transgender official confirmed by the Senate, he also compared gender-affirming surgery to "genital mutilation."
In the closing days of the election, Paul once again took to culture war issues like transgender sports participation.
Real Clear Politics has Democrat Charles Booker losing to Paul. It scores this race +16 Republican.
Gov. Ron DeSantis - Florida Governor
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is the ultimate villain this election cycle. He has tried to out-Trump Donald Trump and, in doing so, has vilified the LGBTQ+ community. He has spearheaded the anti-LGBTQ+ legislative movement by signing Florida's "don't say gay" bill into law.
He called gender-affirming care "chemical castration" and defended the state's "don't say gay" law in a recent debate with his Democratic challenger, Charlie Crist.
DeSantis, a Republican with presidential ambitions, has taken many anti-LGBTQ+ stances. "When they say 'gender-affirming care,' they mean giving puberty blockers to teenage girls and teenage boys," he said in the debate.
His medical boards voted last week to strip MDs from providing any gender-affirming care to people under 18 and DOs from providing this care except in research settings.
Real Clear Politics rates this race as +11.6 Republican.
Sen. Ron Johnson - U.S. Senate - Wisconsin
Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson changed his stance on the Respect for Marriage Act, saying he won't support it.
In July, he announced he viewed "no reason" to oppose the bill, which would allow someone to be considered married in any state provided the marriage was valid.
Then in August, he told Axios, "I've never said I would support it. I said I didn't see a reason to oppose it."
But in September, audio obtained by Heartland Signal revealed Johnson claiming he released his July statement only "to get [the media] off my back" about the topic.
Johnson claimed that members of the congressional press corps had "hounded" him to clarify his opinion on the Respect for Marriage Act, TheWashington Postreports.
Aside from being an insurrection sympathizer and Big Lie propagator, Johnson has proven himself to be anti-LGBTQ+
Wisconsin's current lieutenant governor, Mandela Barnes, is challenging Johnson for the Senate seat and has been running neck-and-neck with him in the polls, but recently Johnson has pulled into the lead.
Real Clear Politicsscores this race at +2.8 Republican.
Gov. Greg Abbott - Texas Governor
Gov. Greg Abbott, a far-right, anti-LGBTQ+ Republican, had ordered investigations in February into parents who provide their children with trans-supportive care, based on an opinion by Attorney General Ken Paxton, another right-winger. Paxton said allowing children to receive gender-affirming care amounted to child abuse -- in an opinion that medical professionals say is based on political bias, not science. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services carries out the investigations.
Democratic superstar Beto O'Rourke is running against Abbott for the gubernatorial position. But despite much hype and a steadily growing and enthusiastic fanbase, it's likely that O'Rourke will come up short in red Texas.
Real Clear Politicsscores this race as +9.2 Republican.
Ken Paxton - Texas Attorney General
If Texas passes a law banning same-sex intimacy, Attorney General Ken Paxton would be "willing and able" to defend it in court, he told a talk show host in September, and he implied he'd challenge other hard-won rights.
The willingness to defend an anti-LGBTQ+ law is completely in keeping with Paxton's record. He has sued over the transgender-inclusive provisions of the Affordable Care Act and over the guidelines issued by President Obama's administration on equal treatment of trans students. Most recently, he issued the opinion that allowing one's trans children to receive gender-affirming health care is child abuse, and based on that, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the state's child welfare agency to investigate parents who let their kids access this care (the investigations are currently blocked by a court order).
Democrat Rochelle Garza is closer to winning a statewide race than any other Democrat, but that said, the Texas Politics Project scores this race as +14 Republican.
Rep. Lauren Boebert - Colorado's 3rd Congressional District
Anti-LGBTQ+ Congresswoman Lauren Boebert accused Tyra Banks of "grooming" due to her involvement with Generation Drag, a reality series about teen drag performers this spring. Retweeting a post from the anti-LGBTQ+ account of Chaya Raichik (a.k.a. "Libs of TikTok''), Boebert captioned her tweet "Siri, define grooming," in keeping with the right's current -- deeply cynical and homophobic -- midterm strategy of equating anything LGBTQ-related to grooming and pedophilia.
She has introduced legislation to block research into gender-affirming care for trans youth. She has also claimed that the true purpose of the Equality Act is about the "supremacy -- of gays, lesbians, and transvestites." And in April, she introduced legislation to stop upgrades to security scanners used in airports by the Transportation Security Administration because they would be more trans-friendly.
Democrat Adam Frisch says she is too extreme to represent Coloradoans in Congress and is not focused on their needs.
Real Clear Politicsscores this race as leans Republican.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene - Georgia's 14th Congressional District
Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, one of the most anti-LGBTQ+ members of Congress, wants to make it a crime to provide gender-affirming care to minors.
In August, Greene introduced the Protect Children's Innocence Act, which would make it a class C felony to provide any such care to a minor. Conviction would carry a prison sentence of 10 to 25 years, and a fine of up to $250,000, an aide to Greene told The Hill.
Procedures banned under the bill would include puberty blockers and hormone treatment as well as surgery, although genital surgery is almost never performed on minors and the effects of gender-affirming drug treatment are largely reversible.
In an appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight, however, Greene attacked gender-affirming care as "child abuse." "When it comes to 'gender-affirming care,'" she said with air quotes, "which is really child abuse, this is an assault that is actually child abuse, and this practice should never happen. It's so disgusting and appalling." She spoke of "teenage girls having their breasts chopped off, teenage boys being castrated." Carlson agreed with her, saying, "You can't sexually mutilate children."
Running against the radical right-wing ultra-MAGA Republican is cowboy hat-wearing Democrat Marcus Flowers, who according to FiveThirtyEight has a 1 percent chance of winning. FiveThirtyEight scores this race as definite Republican.