Anti-LGBTQ lieutenant governor leaves ‘flirtatious’ comments on 20-year-old gay man’s Instagram
Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally has been offering encouraging — and what some are even calling “flirtatious” — compliments to a young gay man on Instagram.
McNally’s comments were found under risqué photos of Franklin McClure, a 20-year-old performer from Knoxville. The comments were featured in a story published by local outlet the Tennessee Holler on Wednesday.
The Holler received an anonymous tip that led them to find comments sitting in plain sight — comments like, “Love it,” with heart emojis, under a video of McClure dancing in his underwear.
On another close-up photo of McClure’s rear-end, the lieutenant governor said, “Finn, you can turn a rainy day into rainbows and sunshine,” which he followed up with more heart and fire emojis.
McClure, whose nickname is “Finn” and who goes by “Franklyn Superstar” on social media, responded to the comments, typing “You are literally always so nice King.”
The comments have garnered attention on social media, where many are citing some inherent hypocrisy in McNally’s actions, after his state recently passed multiple bills targeting the LGBTQ community.
On Thursday, a reporter from the Tennessee Lookout asked the 79-year-old about these new allegations of hypocrisy and his recent sponsorship of a bill banning same-sex marriage.
“I thought marriage should be between a man and a woman, and I still feel that way,” McNally answered, although he added that he tries to be supportive of people, including his own family members, who identify as gay.
In regard to the flirtatious comments, McNally’s communications director Adam Kleinheider said, “As anyone in Tennessee politics knows, Lt. Governor McNally is a prolific social media commenter. He takes great pains to view every post he can and frequently posts encouraging things to many of his followers.”
“Does he always use the proper emoji at the proper time? Maybe not,” he added. “But he enjoys interacting with constituents and Tennesseans of all religions, backgrounds and orientations on social media. He has no intention of stopping.”
McNally’s record on anti-LGBTQ legislation has been mixed, says NBC News. He voted in favor of the bill that criminalized some drag performances, and he did not vote on the bill restricting gender-affirming care.
So far this year, Tennessee lawmakers have introduced a total of 26 bills targeting LGBTQ people, reports the American Civil Liberties Union.