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FAIRNESS EDUCATION FUND AND GLAAD RELEASE LGBTQ RECORDS OF KENTUCKY GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES; CALL ON MEDIA TO INCLUDE LGBTQ PEOPLE AND ELEVATE FACTS IN CAMPAIGN COVERAGE
- Last updated: October 19, 2023
Fairness Education Fund: “LGBTQ people and our right to live free from discrimination and harm are key stakes in the campaign for Kentucky governor. As LGBTQ people and issues are discussed and debated, it is more important than ever for reporters and voters to have the facts to inform their coverage and their votes. This research documents the candidates’ words and actions taken to protect, or to target, LGBTQ people, who are our family, neighbors, classmates and colleagues. Voters must use the information to decide our path forward, and choose leaders who will fight for equality, safety, and the truth on behalf of every citizen in Kentucky.”
GLAAD: “A super-majority of Americans support LGBTQ people and deserve leaders who will speak up for the truth and for everyone’s fundamental freedoms. Extremist lawmakers have proposed bills targeting and spreading disinformation about essential mainstream health care, banning books and making our schools unsafe political battlefields. Political campaigns targeting transgender people and youth have repeatedly failed because they do not reflect the truth about trans people, nor do they improve anyone’s life. Reporters must challenge candidate claims, and voters must hold leaders accountable to make their communities safer and more prosperous for all.”
(Louisville, KY and New York, NY – October 18, 2023) Fairness Education Fund, Kentucky’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) advocacy organization, and GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, are releasing research on the LGBTQ records of the candidates for governor of Kentucky, incumbent Andy Beshear, and Attorney General Daniel Camerson.
Fairness Education Fund and GLAAD urge the media to include LGBTQ people and issues in their coverage of the campaign and candidate debates, and ask the candidates about their public statements, policies and proposals for LGBTQ Kentuckians.
Statement from Chris Hartman, Fairness Education Fund:
“LGBTQ people and our right to live free from discrimination and harm are key stakes in the campaign for Kentucky governor. As LGBTQ people and issues are discussed and debated, it is more important than ever for reporters and voters to have the facts to inform their coverage and their votes. This research documents the candidates’ words and actions taken to protect, or to target, LGBTQ people, who are our family, neighbors, classmates and colleagues. Voters must use the information to decide our path forward, and choose leaders who will fight for equality, safety, and the truth on behalf of every citizen in Kentucky.”
Statement from Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD:
“A super-majority of Americans support LGBTQ people and deserve leaders who will speak up for the truth and for everyone’s fundamental freedoms. Extremist lawmakers have proposed bills targeting and spreading disinformation about essential mainstream health care, banning books and making our schools unsafe political battlefields. Political campaigns targeting transgender people and youth have repeatedly failed because they do not reflect the truth about trans people, nor do they improve anyone’s life. Reporters must challenge candidate claims, and voters must hold leaders accountable to make their communities safer and more prosperous for all.”
Media covering the campaign should note the candidates’ LGBTQ records and ask the candidates about them.
Gov. Andy Beshear’s LGBTQ record includes:
—Releasing a campaign ad to refute Daniel Cameron’s false claims about transgender youth and Beshear reaffirmed facts and his record of support for trans youth and families: “I’ve never supported gender reassignment surgery for kids—and those procedures don’t happen here in Kentucky… as parents we know what is best for our kids, not politicians.”
—Vetoing a sweeping anti-LGBTQ bill aimed at restricting the lives of transgender youth that includes banning access to gender-affirming health care and access to bathrooms. In a written veto message Beshear wrote that the bill allows “too much government interference in personal healthcare issues and rips away the freedom of parents to make medical decisions for their children.” He also warned that the bill’s repercussions would include an increase in youth suicides: “My faith teaches me that all children are children of God and Senate Bill 150 will endanger the children of Kentucky.” The veto was overridden by the Republican-controlled legislature.
—Speaking out against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and supporting a ban on so-called conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth during a historic appearance at an LGBTQ-rights rally at Kentucky’s Capitol. Addressing the crowd in the Capitol Rotunda, Beshear said: “I’m proud to be the first sitting governor to attend this fairness rally.” Announced support for legislation banning discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, which has failed to pass either chamber in each Kentucky legislative session over the past decade.
Daniel Cameron’s LGBTQ record includes:
—Focusing his campaign on targeting transgender youth and spreading disinformation about them. Trans teens make up an estimated 0.7% of Kentucky’s 13-17 population. Campaign ads for Cameron describe a “radical transgender agenda” and falsely claim: “It’s bombarding our children everywhere we turn. Child sex changes with permanent consequences.” Every major medical association supports health care for transgender people and youth.
—Falsely claiming that Gov. Beshear was “demanding that boys play in girls’ sports” and “protects transgender surgery for kids.” Gov. Beshear vetoed a bill that bans transgender girls from girls’ school sports, and vetoed another bill that banned essential health care that’s supported by every major medical association and that removes parents’ rights to make healthcare decisions for their children. 71% of Kentucky voters opposed the state bill overruling parents’ rights when it comes to medical decisions for their transgender children.
—In a debate on Oct. 16, Cameron baselessly claimed: “I think it’s crazy to have this governor who fails to protect women’s sports from biological males.” There is no evidence of transgender girls and women harming women’s sports and “biological males” is an inaccurate term to describe gender identity. In announcing a policy to include transgender people in sports as their authentic selves, The International Olympic Committee determined that no athlete should have a presumed advantage based on sex assigned at birth.
—Appealing a federal judge’s ruling that blocked Kentucky’s ban on health care for transgender youth, falsely calling the care “child mutilation.” Health care for transgender youth follows clinical protocol and guidelines established by WPATH Standards of Care, created with the best available science and expert professional consensus.
—Mischaracterizing health care for transgender youth as “experimental” in a statement following a judge blocking Kentucky’s ban on health care for trans youth. The judge accurately noted that treatments “have a long history of safe use in minors for various conditions” and that Kentucky’s ban, SB 150, unconstitutionally singles out transgender youth by blocking access to health care that cisgender youth can still receive.
—Choosing running mate, State Sen. Robby Mills, one of the chief architects of Kentucky’s anti-LGBTQ legislative movement, including a bill to baselessly ban transgender students from school sports and cosponsoring a bill targeting LGBTQ students, their pronouns, and privacy in school. Cameron noted in his running mate announcement that Mills “was the first person in Frankfort to sound the alarm about radical gender ideology,” a term used to dehumanize transgender people and question their existence.
—Defending Kentucky’s abortion ban to the U.S. Supreme Court, which bars the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy, including for children who get pregnant, and all cases of rape and incest. Research shows lesbians are more likely to have experienced an unwanted pregnancy (at 39%) than heterosexual (27%) and bisexual (29%) peers.
—Endorsed by former President Donald Trump, whose administration and campaign targeted LGBTQ Americans with more than 200 attacks in policy and rhetoric. Cameron reiterated that he was honored to receive the endorsement, even after Trump was found liable for sexually assaulting E. Jean Carroll.
—The Office of Attorney General, which Cameron leads, is accused of a toxic work environment and gender discrimination by an active-duty detective. Charges include employment discrimination, hostile work conditions, workers’ compensation retaliation, workplace violations including “immoral conduct,” “use of intoxicants off-duty,” and capturing “zoomed in” photos of a detective’s breast as well as “unprofessional and bullying behavior.”
—Joining other attorneys general in a lawsuit against the FDA over a policy prohibiting the discrimination against LGBTQ children regarding school lunch.
—Signed an inaccurate letter about Pride merchandise sold at Target. The letter baselessly claims the signatories are compelled to “enforce state laws protecting children.” No obscenity charges have been filed against Target, nor have any fiduciary complaints been reported.
—Campaigned with former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, who has built a career spreading disinformation about transgender people, including falsely comparing being transgender with the racist caricature of white people wearing blackface. Gaines recently encouraged retaliation against libraries and library staff that refused to allow speakers to misgender people, a violation of library policy. A bomb threat later forced evacuation of the library and an elementary school.
- Approximately 144,000 LGBTQ people live in Kentucky
- 26% of LGBTQ people in Kentucky are raising children
- 68% of teens ages 13-17 identify as transgender in Kentucky, approximately 2,000 out of the total population of 4.5 million
- 2023 Mason-Dixon poll shows 71% of Kentucky voters opposed Kentucky overruling parents’ rights when it comes to medical decisions for their transgender children.
- Kentucky has no statewide protections for LGBTQ people against discrimination in access to credit, and recently enacted laws restricting health care for transgender youth, bans on transgender students using bathroom and shower facilities that match their gender, and a version of a “don’t say LGBTQ” bill that limits bars or explicitly restricts educators from discussing LGBTQ people or issues in schools.
- Voters in the 2022 midterm elections elected governors who vetoed or opposed anti-trans legislation including Laura Kelly of Kansas, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Janet Mills of Maine, Tony Evers of Wisconsin, Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania, Katie Hobbs of Arizona.
- GLAAD’s Accelerating Acceptance Study 2023 found 91% of non-LGBTQ Americans agree that LGBTQ people should have the freedom to live their life and not be discriminated against. 96% of non-LGBTQ Americans agree that schools should be a safe and accepting place for all youth.
About Fairness Education Fund:
The Fairness Education Fund’s mission is to initiate and develop projects that broaden community awareness and understanding of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and expression in Kentucky. Educational efforts focus on reducing prejudice against LGBTQ people by providing accurate, truthful information to counter societal myths and stereotypes.
About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.
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