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GOP Louisiana gubernatorial candidate defends anti-trans campaign ad: ‘Not one discriminatory bone in my body’


Gubernatorial candidate Ralph Abraham arrives at the Louisiana Secretary of State's office to sign up to run in the upcoming election, in Baton Rouge, La., on Aug. 6. (Michael Democker/AP)

GOP gubernatorial candidate Ralph Abraham (sort of) went back on controversial comments he made on a political ad video released by his campaign last week.

He said Tuesday his comments in the ad were made about lawsuits, not hate.

In the 30-second spot, which has been seen by millions according to Abraham, he successfully conveys to voters his die-hard conservative principles by making statements he calls the “truth.”

“Facts matter more than feelings,” the three-time congressman representing Louisiana’s fifth district says, listing what he considers eight absolute and universal true statements.

They include: the exact moment when human life is formed (it “begins at conception”); the size of government (“too big”); and how much car insurance should cost (it is “too expensive”).

Abraham also affirmed that “President Trump is doing a great job,” and that, as a doctor he can affirm with authoritative weight that he knows exactly how every person in the universe should identify their individuality: “I can assure you, there are only two genders.”

Not surprisingly, his binary-exclusive gender assertion drew a great amount of criticism from people who don’t necessarily fit into his idea of either/or identity.

New Leaders Council Louisiana, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that trains “the next generation of progressive leaders,” condemned “Abraham’s outrageous and inaccurate comments that erase the identities of trans people in Louisiana and across the globe,” the organization said in a statement last week. “Trans and gender non-binary Louisianans deserve an apology.”

But how can the self-described “rural doc, farmer, pilot, vet, husband, father & grandfather” apologize if he didn’t do anything wrong?

On Tuesday, Abraham explained to Louisiana news station WAFB that he will treat LGBTQ people “as fair as anybody else in the world.”

His issue, he argued, is against Louisiana’s high insurance rates. Anti-discrimination protections create more opportunities for workers to sue their employers. So insurers can charge higher rates to businesses or people who are paying for insurance.

“I have not one discriminatory bone in my body," he said. “This is not about that at all. This is about lawsuits.”

To exemplify his non-discriminatory stance, Abraham used a personal example, which is a fairly common — if tired — argument used in anti-transgender debates.

“I have six granddaughters," Abraham said. “I don’t want a man in the dressing room with them. I don’t want a man in the bathroom with them, but from a legal aspect, we know that is about suing, suing, suing. My goodness, we have enough of that.”

Louisiana Trans Advocates President Dylan Waguespack said in response to Abraham’s “newest ad, ironically titled ‘The Truth,’” that candidate is “desperate for attention and has resorted to scraping up a few votes by mocking his constituents who are just trying to live their lives, do their jobs, and provide for their families.”

If Abraham is not interested in “improving the quality of life for everyone in Louisiana,” Waguespack added, “he has no business being in charge.”