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Bailey lobs transphobic attack against Irvin in governor’s race

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State Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) accused Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin (R) of saying “he is fine with allowing boys and men to invade women’s sports competitions.”

Bailey has a long history of anti-LGBTQ comments and positions. As a state representative and state senator, he’s opposed many LGBTQ-supportive bills, including the Inclusive Curriculum Bill and a transgender-supportive state Medicaid policy.

During a TV roundtable on Tuesday, May 24, NBC Chicago’s Mary Ann Ahern asked “Should trasngender girl athletes be banned from being able to participate in women’s sports.” Irvin said that it should be left up to the sport associations. When pressed, he said, “It should be totally local. The governor should not have a say.”

In a press released that was shared by Bailey’s Twitter account, the campaign replaced “transgender” with “men.” The campaign called Irvin giving a non-answer a “extremist stance.”

“He wants to permit boys and men to ruin female sports because he subscribes to the far left, liberal agenda of the Democratic Party,” the campaign stated.

Like other lightning-rod issues, Irvin has avoided giving out a firm position. He has marched in Aurora’s Pride Parade, the largest in Illinois outside of Chicago. But he also criticized Aurora Pride asking LGBTQ police officers marching in the parade to not wear a uniform.

Bailey’s campaign celebrated the Indiana General Assembly’s recent override of Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s veto of an anti-trans bill, calling the Republican a “squish.”

Bailey isn’t the only far-right conservative in the primary race, but he is the most well-known both because of his anti-LGBTQ positions and legal battles against Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) over COVID-19 restrictions.

Bailey had declined to take part in the roundtable. Joining Irvin were fellow candidates State Sen. Paul Schimpf (R-Murphysboro) and Max Solomon.

All three were solidly against including LGBTQ in sex ed classes.

Schimpf also tried to thread the needle, saying that he doesn’t want to stop children from participating in sports, but “at the highest levels, women should have the right to compete against biological women.”

Solomon was the most anti-trans candidate, saying that not only should trans girls be barred from girls sports, but so should trans boys. He also said he doesn’t thing trans people should use public restrooms for their gender.

“Boys are boys, girls are girls. Your sex is assigned when you are born,” he said.

A WGN-TV/The Hill/Emerson College poll on May 11 showed Irvin as the frontrunner with 24.1%, Bailey is in second with 19.8%.

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