The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) last week said that candidates and anti-LGBTQ are funneling millions of dollars into ads attacking transgender youth ahead of midterm elections.
The civil rights organization said it had researched election spending ahead of the election. The research reveals that a significant portion of the ad spending is being targeted to reach Black and Spanish-speaking voters, including through TV, radio, digital, and direct mail.
The majority of the ads are pushing lies such as the Biden administration is mandating “sex-change surgeries on minors” and promoting “chemical and surgical castration of boys and girls.” America First Legal, the group behind many of these ads, is an extremist organization founded by Stephen Miller, the architect behind some of former President Trump’s most extreme policies. America First Legal’s board of directors also includes former Trump staffers like Mark Meadows and Matthew Whittaker.
Another organization running ads is the American Principles Project, a group which “echoes the conspiracy theories of the radical right,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. HRC said the organization received 80% of its donations from Illinois GOP megadonor Richard Uihlein, who is also backing anti-LGBTQ governor candidate Darren Bailey and far-right group Awake Illinois.
“Across the country, extremist candidates are shamelessly using their final days on the campaign trail to advance grotesque and outrageous lies attacking and maligning LGBTQ+ people, designed to scare voters into supporting their campaigns,” said Joni Madison, Interim President of the Human Rights Campaign. “These ads are part of a coordinated effort by anti-equality candidates and their extremist allies to secure votes through fear-mongering and division.”
Madison said it was “truly perverse” that these groups are presenting themselves as defending children.
Sampling of ads from American Principles Project:
- Attacking Gender Affirming Care in Arizona
- Spreading Lies Targeting Transgender Children
- Spewing Anti-LGBTQ+ Grooming Narrative
Sampling of ads and mail from American First Legal and Stop the Insanity:
- Promoting Dangerous Lies About Transgender Children
- “Not Anymore” radio ad (version 1) (version 2)
- English-language mail piece (side 1) (side 2)
- Spanish-language mail piece (side 1) (side 2)
HRC said ads have run in at least 25 states across the country, including Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Candidates and groups like American Principles Project and America First Legal, have spent at least $50 million in airing anti-trans ads across these states.