A Kentucky state representative says the “LGBTQI+ community is a disease.”
That spurious claim showed up on the YouTube channel for Republican state Rep. Josh Calloway, in the description for a video podcast about the recent controversy surrounding Target’s Pride collection.
Calloway was widely condemned, then doubled down on the declaration even as he laid blame on a staffer.
“The fact is that LGBTQIA+ and gender ideology is spreading on social media as a social contagion and targeting confused children,” Calloway posted to Twitter. “I am amazed at the hypocrisy of people who promote genital mutilation, chemical castration, and the murder of unborn babies, yet ‘clutch their pearls’ when they read a description posted on YouTube by my video producer.”
Target has been under attack since early May when far-right activists began complaining about the retailer’s Pride displays and recording visits to stores. Some videos show camera-wielding customers angrily confronting Target employees.
Stores in South Carolina, Arkansas, and Georgia have reportedly relocated Pride displays to the back of outlets and removed Pride apparel from mannequins to reduce visibility.
The summer Pride merch includes designs from LGBTQ+ creators with rainbows and cartoons on t-shirts, socks and athletic items, as well as housewares with LGBTQ+ affirmations. They’ve earned accusations Target is “grooming and indoctrinating children.”
The AP reported on the false claim from right-wing agitators that the retailer was selling “tuck-friendly” swimwear for kids. Those garments are available at Target but only in adult sizes.
By Wednesday, Calloway had removed the offending description on his YouTube channel and replaced it with another: “The Trans Mind is Mutating.”
Gay Republican operative Michael Frazier commented on Calloway’s Twitter double down, claiming he knows the legislator’s heart, “and you didn’t show it in this statement.”
“I’ve seen the future of party and it’s not the words presented by Rep. Calloway. In fact, when speaking to young republicans, #LGBT is number one issue for why young people leave our party,” Frazier posted. “Language like this only inflames and dooms our future. We might be appealing to a certain base but only on borrowed time. We must think look to the future.”
Frazier’s faith in Calloway’s heart was surely tested by another of the two-term rep’s Twitter posts, in which he weighs in on one of the top banned books in public schools, This Book is Gay. Author Juno Dawson could be forgiven for worrying Calloway may be talking about her in the post, as well as her book.
“This filthy, sexually explicit, and trashy ‘book’ is meant to groom and sexualize children while perverting their minds. It has no place in our society, let alone our schools.”