Herschel Walker, the Republican nominee for U.S. senator from Georgia, is being blasted for delivering an anti-transgender speech and running an anti-trans ad the day after the mass shooting at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs. The five people killed at Club Q included a trans man and a trans woman.
Walker, who is up against incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in a December 6 runoff, gave the speech Sunday in Carrollton, Ga. In it, he denounced “weak leaders in Washington” who, he said, couldn’t define what a woman is and said men could get pregnant. He also said that “men shouldn’t be in women’s sport,” according to audio obtained by Jezebel.
He went on to condemn Warnock in a rant about use of correct pronouns for military personnel. “Pronouns. What the heck is a pronoun?” he said. “I can tell you right now, grenades don’t know nothing about no pronouns. Bullets don’t know what color your skin is. But yet they talking about pronouns.”
In his ad, he appeared with Riley Gaines, a cisgender woman who was on the swim team at the University of Kentucky and complained about competing against trans woman Lia Thomas of the University of Pennsylvania. He called trans women “biological males” and said it is “unfair and wrong” for them to participate in women’s sports, The American Independent reports. He said Warnock is “afraid to stand up for female athletes.”
One Colorado, a statewide LGBTQ+ rights group, and GLAAD quickly condemned Walker’s rhetoric. They urged him to remove the ad and to cease making anti-trans statements on the campaign trail.
“Shame on Herschel Walker — and shame on every politician using LGBTQ lives as political props,” Nadine Bridges, executive director of One Colorado, said in a press release. “There’s an undeniable nexus between this kind of baseless and hateful rhetoric and the violence leveled against our community this weekend in Colorado Springs and the violence being perpetrated against marginalized communities all across this country.”
“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,” added GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “These ads should be pulled immediately from Georgia’s airwaves before more lives are put in danger.”
Those killed at Club Q included Daniel Aston, 28, a trans man who was a bar supervisor there, and club patron Kelly Loving, a trans woman who was visiting from Denver. In addition to their deaths, at least 32 other trans people are known to have died by violence in the U.S. this year. Sunday was Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual observance to honor those lost.