With the Kentucky governor’s election a little over a month away, current polling data is unable to predict a clear winner in the race between Republican incumbent Matt Bevin and Democratic challenger Andy Beshear. Which, in the world of 2019 politics, can only mean one thing...
Get out the dog whistles, it’s time to start up the culture war!
To that effect, an independent political action committee called The Campaign for American Principles has released an ad attacking Beshear for his position that trans women be allowed to compete in women’s sports. As the ad makes clear, the PAC apparently believes equality and inclusion are to be considered optional American principles for certain citizens.
The arguments in the spot are nothing new. The trans female athletes “would destroy girls’ sports” and “what if that shot [at a scholarship] was taken away” talking points are straight out of the Title IX complaint currently being investigated by Betsy DeVos and her Department of Education civil rights office.
And when the attack ad refers to a trans athlete as “a competitor who claims they’re a girl but was born a boy,” it’s using boilerplate transphobic language reminiscent of Lance Berkman’s infamous “troubled men” phrasing.
What is different about this advertisement is the image it uses to portray trans athletes to its audience:
As you can see above, The Campaign for American Principles has chosen a cisgender male runner as a stand-in for the female trans athlete population. This is not just wrong from a competitive standpoint, it’s grotesque and insulting to trans women everywhere.
Furthermore, to add a sick punchline to all of this, the ad ends with its narrator urging viewers to “Vote against Andy Beshear. He’s too extreme for Kentucky.” As if portraying trans women as cis men should be considered as mainstream as an episode of Young Sheldon.
The Campaign for American Principles is headed by Terry Schilling, the author of the venemously anti-LGBTQ screed, “Bans on ‘Conversion Therapy’ Are Really About Locking Kids Into Transgenderism” for the Daily Caller. In a news release to accompany the campaign’s rollout, executive director Schilling declared, “We aim to present the ugly reality of Beshear’s platform to the voters of Kentucky.”
He’s presenting ugly reality, alright. But it’s the reality that his organization just dropped $250,000 to promote straight-up bigotry.