LBGTQ rights groups are taking Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker to task for releasing a runoff campaign ad that says transgender women and girls should be banned from competing on women’s sports teams, according to The Hill. The ad also refers to transgender women as “biological men.”
The timing of the release of the ad is terrible, of course. Two days ago, a shooting occurred at an LBGTQ nightclub in Colorado where five people tragically died, and 25 others were wounded. Walker’s 30-second ad shows the Republican candidate alongside former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines. Gaines competed against Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer for the University of Pennsylvania.
Since then, the Kentucky swimmer has advocated for policies restricting transgender women and girls from competing in women’s sports.
“For more than a decade, I worked so hard—4:00 am practices to be the best,” she says in the ad. “But my senior year, I was forced to compete against a biological male.” She also went on to accuse Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock directly.
GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis notes how Walker’s campaign ignored the lousy timing to push an anti-LGBTQ agenda.
From The Hill:
“Airing this kind of rubbish under the guise of a political campaign was already deplorable enough—but in the wake of Saturday night’s massacre at Club Q, it’s simply unconscionable,” Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and chief executive of the LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD, said Monday.
“These ads should be pulled immediately from Georgia’s airwaves before more lives are put in danger,” she added.
Walker himself has targeted transgender athletes throughout his Senate campaign. A day after the Colorado shooting, Walker ranted about the “definition of a man and woman.”
Los Angeles Times columnist LZ Granderson spoke to CNN and didn’t understand why Walker would continue to push this to the forefront, especially considering that it’s not a main priority for voters.
“I’m confused, because as you look at the exit polls, the issues that are on voters’ minds, number one, obviously, is the economy. How do you put food on the table, paying for gas, inflation. Number two is abortion. Following down from that are issues regarding security, safety, and education. I did not see many voters stress confusion or anxiety regarding trans athletes competing in sports.”