November 27, 2022

WHAT A DRAG: Marco Rubio tops list of Republican transphobia advocates

WHAT A DRAG: Marco Rubio tops list of Republican transphobia advocates

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Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has spent more money than any other Republican candidate on anti-transgender attack ads. The GOP squish has spent over $7 million throwing transgender youth under the bus, fearmongering, and promoting false right-wing talking points.

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In a $4 million dollar ad titled “The Radical Left,” Rubio says “The radical left will destroy America if we don’t stop them. They indoctrinate children and try to turn boys into girls.”

This is a baseless accusation that has been debunked many times over by physicians and medical organizations, which have repeatedly defended gender-affirming care as safe and effective.

Mailers spreading anti-transgender propaganda have been distributed by anti-LGBTQ right-wing groups.

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Republican candidates and groups have spent over $50 million in anti-trans ads spreading harmful misinformation, according to a report released by the LGBTQ rights organization Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Several million has been spent on radio ads targeting Black and Spanish-speaking voters in Arizona, Georgia, Ohio, Nevada, and Texas. According to VICE:

“Across the country, extremist candidates are shamelessly using their final days on the campaign trail to advance grotesque and outrageous lies attacking and maligning LGBTQ people, designed to scare voters into supporting their campaigns,” said Human Rights Campaign interim president Joni Madison in a statement.

“These extremist groups are presenting themselves as fierce defenders of children, when we know that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Madison said. “Instead of using their final pitch with voters to outline policies on the issues that voters actually care about, they’re trying to create mass hysteria and fear—and doing so at the expense of LGBTQ+ people and, especially, transgender youth.”

America First Legal – founded by anti-immigrant Trump loyalist Stephen Miller and former White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows – has spent millions in anti-LGBTQ ads and mailers. It was recently reported that the same organization is behind racially charged radio and television promos in battleground states like Georgia.

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Conservative group, American Principles has been airing political attack ads against U.S. Senator Mark Kelly (R-AZ), accusing him of promoting “transgenderism,” while spreading the false claim that a Nevada Democratic candidate “supports radical sexual mutilation and sterilization procedures that permanently harm kids.”

The majority of the ads are pushing baseless and outlandish disinformation designed to scare parents, advancing grotesque and craven narratives that falsely assert the Biden administration is mandating “sex-change surgeries on minors” and promoting “chemical and surgical castration of boys and girls,” HRC wrote.

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America First Legal, the group behind many of these ads, is an extremist organization founded by Stephen Miller, the architect behind some of former President Trump’s xenophobic and racist policies. America First Legal’s board of directors also includes Trump cronies like Mark Meadows and Matthew Whittaker. Another extremist and staunchly anti-LGBTQ+ organization running ads is the American Principles Project — a group which not only “echoes the conspiracy theories of the radical right” (according to the Southern Poverty Law Center), but which received 80% of its donations from billionaire Richard Uihlein, who has a long history of backing anti-transgender candidates, including accused pedophile Roy Moore.

Florida is home to the controversial Parental Rights in Education Act, widely known as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” which makes Rubio’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric less than shocking. The bible verse quoting lawmaker hasn’t been shy about his extreme right-wing views.

In another ad attacking his Democratic opponent, former police chief Val Demings, Rubio refers to his challenger as “dangerously radical,” juxtaposing Demings against a Drag Queen Story Hour backdrop.

“Val Demings even voted to allow transgender youth sports and teach children radial gender identity,” Rubio claims.

There is no bottom for the GOP. Punching down on one of society’s most vulnerable and marginalized communities is unfortunately on brand.

Original reporting by Anya Zoledziowski at VICE. 

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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