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Gay Son of Ex-Klansman Runs for Office in Kansas

Gay Son of Ex-Klansman Runs for Office in Kansas

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The gay son of a former Ku Klux Klansman is planning to challenge a conservative Kansas legislator in the state's primary election this August.

Erich Bishop, 28, announced his plans today during a rally at the state capitol in Topeka, The Topeka Capital-Journal reports. He will run in the Democratic primary against state representative Jan Pauls of Hutchinson, who despite her party affiliation "has been as right-wing as any of her Republican colleagues on social issues," the newspaper reports. She recently has backed a bill that would allow state residents to opt out of laws that conflict with their religious beliefs, such as laws prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination.

Today's rally was a gathering of people opposed to that bill, which has been passed by the state House of Representatives and is awaiting a vote in the Senate. Bishop, announcing his candidacy while addressing the crowd, discussed experiencing bigotry firsthand.

"My father is a former member of the Ku Klux Klan," he said. "To call my household as a child racist and homophobic would be an understatement. My father rightly faced opposition from people like you."

Bishop has worked as a certified nurse assistant and last year earned a degree in philosophy from the University of Kansas, graduating with honors.

The pending legislation is a reaction to a gay rights ordinance adopted by the city of Lawrence, where the university has its primary campus. Read more here.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.