Bias Watch

Gay Republican group touts support for anti-trans legislation & mocks out singer T.J. Osborne

Donald Trump anti-lgbt
Photo: Graham Gremore

While the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) have never been held in high regard in the wider LGBTQ community, the Trump presidency ruined what little respect they had actually gained over the years.

But two recent statements from the group’s Tennessee chapter have to be among the most cringeworthy in their existence. Not only do they promote anti-trans laws, but they also oppose LGBTQ civil rights legislation and mock out country star T.J. Osborne in a tone that stereotypes a modern gay man.

Related: Tennessee Republican defends counting Black people as 3/5 of human beings

Like the wider Republican party, the national and local chapters of the group have been overrun with far-right extremists more interested in glamorizing themselves as internet celebrities than getting anything accomplished. They’ve become internet trolls; typically their schtick is that they’re anti-LGBTQ but they’re gay, so they’re not anti-LGBTQ, see?

In a year that’s seen a record number of anti-LGBTQ bills filed in state legislatures, Tennessee has been one of the worst. Dubbed a “slate of hate,” multiple bills were filed, five have been passed so far by the legislature, including some of the most vicious in the nation.

In fact, the Republican-controlled legislature is so adamantly intent on discriminating against LGBTQ people, state Rep. Jeremy Faison, chair of the chamber’s Republican caucus, blocked a resolution that would honor singer T.J. Osborne. The country star, who is part of the group Brothers Osborne, recently came out as gay.

The LCR put out a statement (on Twitter naturally) to defend Faison as a “total Daddy” with “other accomplishments to his name besides a fondness for strong jawlines and a fabulous taste in drapery.” The tweet attempt to use stereotypical gay slang to make their statement sound daring and witty.

“None of us got resolutions when we came out – and we were a lot younger than Osborne. Don’t expect rainbow confetti and a ticker tape parade just for liking boys, hunty. Shut up and sing.”

“Thank you so much for sharing your perspective. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you and the Osborne brothers [sic],” Faison responded.

Earlier this month, both chambers of the legislature passed a bill that would require businesses to post notices that say they allow transgender people to use the building’s restrooms. It would make the Volunteer State the first to adopt legislation seeking to single out trans-affirming businesses for allowing trans people to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity.

The group published an op-ed opposing the legislation, but only after repeatedly announcing their “bona fides” by insulting LGBTQ activists, opposing proposed federal civil rights legislation, and joining the Republican attacks on transgender schoolgirls.

“LGBT leftists tend to hate us because we put our principles first,” Joshua Herr, the chapter’s leader, wrote. “LGBT leftists regularly picket us, ban us, destroy our property, and call us ugly names. (Uncle Toms, traitors, self-loathing, anti-gay, anti-trans, and “ciswhite fascists” to name a few.)”

But in a stunning bit of self-fluffing, the group claims to “help Republican officials and candidates to navigate LGBT issues from a conservative perspective.” If Tennessee Republicans are getting their guidance on how to treat the LGBTQ community from the local Log Cabin Republicans, the group has been decidedly unsuccessful. Neither the GOP nor the queer community wants to associate with them.

“We believe in religious liberty, free speech, God-given human dignity, limited government, and economic opportunity,” Herr wrote. “For that reason we frequently oppose radical gender theory and leftist policies like the Equality Act. We support a nuanced, science-based approach to transgender policy issues.”

“We find the effort to let biological males play girls’ sports anti-science and offensive.”

Herr apparently forgot how much “fun” it was to be mocked, but it adequately sums up the influence and seriousness of the gadfly GOP “activists.” It’s all fun and games.

The Log Cabin Republicans only continue to demonstrate why no one from either side of the aisle takes them seriously.

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