Despite admitting that he has never met anyone who “understands” what he characterizes as the transgender “agenda,” North Carolina’s anti-LGBTQ+ Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson (R) claims that “clinics” are performing “transgender surgery” on 5-year-olds.
Robinson, who officially announced his bid to become North Carolina’s next governor, made the false claim twice over the weekend, during an appearance in Georgia at the Faith Over Fear Rally, an event hosted by gun rights activist Lucretia Hughes, WGHP reports.
“I can assure you of this,” Robinson said during his speech at the event, “if you believe that a 5-year-old should have transgender surgery, I am sorry, but you are a bad person. You are a child abuser, and you should be placed in jail. And I draw a hard line with that. If our society continues to cosign on the abusing of our children in that way, we will not have a society for long.”
In an interview with Hughes following his speech, Robinson repeated the false claim.
“I don’t care what anyone says. When you start talking about clinics allowing 5-year-olds to have transgender surgery, that is outrageous, that is abusive,” he told Hughes. “As far as I’m concerned, it should be illegal. You know that’s one of the many social issues that we’re going to try to push back against.”
Contrary to what Robinson and other anti-LGBTQ+ Republicans seem to think, gender-affirming surgery isn’t performed on minors. While every major U.S. medical organization recognizes that gender-affirming healthcare is evidence-based, safe, and effective and can be medically necessary to treat gender dysphoria in minors, gender-affirming care for very young children is usually limited to allowing them to socially transition. As WGHP notes, surgical options are largely reserved for adults.
Unsurprisingly, Robinson doesn’t seem to be aware of this. As he admitted to Hughes, “I have not met one person who agrees with that agenda or understands that agenda.”
Robinson is considered the Republican frontrunner in North Carolina’s 2024 governor’s race. According to WGHP, multiple polls show him ahead of North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell, the only other Republican to announce a run so far. The same polls have him neck-and-neck in a potential general election against state Attorney General Josh Stein, the only Democrat currently running.
Robinson’s history of unapologetically incendiary anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric long predates the April 22 announcement of his gubernatorial campaign.
As lieutenant governor, he formed a task force to investigate the supposed “indoctrination” of children in North Carolina’s public schools, claiming that teachers were “abusing” children by allowing them access to books about transgender characters. During a June 2021 address, he described “transgenderism” and homosexuality as “filth.” The following August, he made wildly offensive statements about trans people, calling the movement for transgender rights “demonic” and “full of the spirit of Antichrist.” In a November 2021 speech, he compared gay people to cow excrement and asserted that heterosexuals are “superior” to queer people.
More recently, Robinson declared this past March that God created him to battle against LGBTQ+ rights.
In a statement following Robinson’s campaign announcement, North Carolina’s state Democratic Party chair Anderson Clayton described him as “an extremist who has built a legacy of division by spewing hate toward the LGBTQ community, disrespecting women, putting culture wars ahead of classrooms, and pushing to ban abortion with no exceptions.”