I am writing this on Primary Election Eve. By the time you’re reading this, races across the country will be decided, for better or worse.
In Michigan, we have a clown car of right-wing Republican candidates for governor. And this comes after half of those running were disqualified for submitting fraudulent signatures on their nominating petitions. None of the remaining candidates are fit to run a Hobby Lobby, never mind the entire state of Michigan. Whitmer leads all of them in head to head polling, but we live in a nation that elected Donald Trump, so we can’t take anything for granted.
While in office, Whitmer has been an outspoken supporter of LGBTQ+ people. The Republican candidates? Not so much.
All of them attacked transgender people during their final debate on July 27, according to the Michigan Advance.
Tudor Dixon, who leads in the polls, has been endorsed by Trump. She thinks transgender people are gross and are taking away the a woman’s right to be proud of motherhood, or something. She also tweeted in June that she “will sign a bill that creates severe criminal penalties for adults who involve children in drag shows” calling it “child sex abuse.”
Jan. 6 insurrectionist and gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelly said that the “left is really good at manipulating words” and gleefully fantasized about asking Gov. Whitmer to define the word “woman” on a debate stage.
Candidate Ralph Rebandt said that transgender people and those who support them are “throwing out the laws of nature” and that our founding fathers “understood what a boy was, what a girl was” (never mind the fact that these same founders didn’t understand what a human was, i.e. they saw Black people as property, not people. Also note that none of the Republican candidates would want you to learn that in school).
To candidate Garrett Soldano, using inclusive language is “hot garbage.”
And candidate Kevin Rinke said, “in my world there’s boys. There’s girls. There’s men. There’s women. And I will not negotiate. I will not give an inch on these woke issues.”
In the real word that exists outside of a Republican’s head, transgender and gender fluid and gender queer people DO EXIST. And they are really sick and tired of being used as punching bags to hide the fact that Republicans have no plans to do anything that actually helps people and are unfit to govern. They’re not even unfit — they’re uninterested. Republicans are far more interested in trashing democracy for their own benefit than they are in whatever issues you and your family are dealing with. They don’t give a f*** about people. Period.
No matter who wins tomorrow, they’ll be in terrible company with Secretary of State candidate Kristen Karamo, a person who thinks abortion is satanic and that demonic possession is sexually transmitted.
Attorney General candidate Matthew DePerno vows that if elected he will prosecute women who have abortions and the doctors who provide them.
He also lost his mind on Twitter in response to a comment Attorney General Dana Nessel, an out lesbian who was deeply involved in the Supreme Court case that led to marriage equality who is known for her sharp wit, called for a “drag queen in every school.” DePerno issued a public statement rebuking Nessel for the comment and trying to create a link to the measures Gov. Whitmer took to save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Our students suffered through some of the most extreme measures, put in place and backed by Dana Nessel, that kept them away from the classroom and her answer is to over-sexualize elementary schools,” DePerno wrote. “Students in the third grade are behind on their reading, our test scores are some of the worst in the country thanks to these disastrous COVID lockdowns and she calls for drag shows for kindergartners.”
A couple of things. Third graders with trouble reading and low test scores isn’t something that suddenly happened during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Michigan’s legislature has been controlled by Republicans for DECADES, many of those years with Republican governors, and they have vampired funding from public schools at every turn. They have DONE NOTHING to help kids in Michigan. Again, they don’t give a f***.
Secondly, Nessel was not calling for drag queens in schools as a solution to the problems DePerno is so concerned about. That said, her plan (which is a joke, mind you) is more than Republicans have offered Michigan’s students in years.
Michigan is a state to watch in 2022. Not only do we have important races at the top of the ticket, but Democrats have the chance to flip the state senate for the first time in nearly four decades. That’s huge. Help them do it.
D’Anne Witkowski is a writer living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ+ politics for nearly two decades. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.