According to a prominent GOP gubernatorial candidate in Kentucky, a state with laws restricting the rights of transgender youth, schools would not allow transgender students in the classroom if she becomes governor.
“We will not have transgenders in our school system” if she’s elected, Kelly Craft said, prompting outrage from LGBTQ+ advocates.
In a telephone town hall held Monday night, the former United Nations ambassador under former president Donald Trump made the comment, the Associated Press reports.
On Tuesday, her campaign responded to questions regarding how she envisions involving transgender students in formulating policy in the future.
“Of course Kelly was referring to the woke ideologies being pushed in our schools,” said her campaign. “She has been advocating for the best for all children this entire campaign.”
Chris Hartman, the president of the Fairness Campaign, a Kentucky-based organization dedicated to advocating for the rights of LGBTQ+ people, described Craft’s remarks as “desperate and disgusting.”
The Republican gubernatorial primary is on May 16, with 12 candidates running for the nomination. Craft will face state Attorney General Daniel Cameron, one of the candidates.
Craft’s running mate, state Sen. Max Wise, sponsored a bill earlier this year that restricts the rights of transgender youth as his way to fight “a woke agenda” by Democrats and those who are affirming to people of diverse backgrounds.
In February, Wise attacked a state education policy that requires acknowledging and using a student’s personal pronouns, a gesture of respect that Republicans nationwide have railed against.
“Her claim that she and Wise will somehow purge transgender kids from Kentucky schools is nothing more than an unhinged political promise she can’t keep,” Hartman told the AP.
“None of the other candidates are railing this hard against LGBTQ youth because it won’t work except to harm trans kids,” he said.
It is expected that the Republican nominee will face off against the current governor, Democrat Andy Beshear, who is running for reelection in the conservative-leaning state.