Michigan state senator and U.S. House candidate Tom Barrett (R) is taking the GOP’s war on transgender youth to an even greater extreme.
The Michigan Advance obtained fundraising texts sent by Barrett’s campaign informing the recipient that “your” child had been booked to get gender reassignment surgery.
“CONFIRMED: [Name of recipient], your child’s gender reassignment surgery has been booked,” a screenshot of one of the texts says. “If you have any issues with this operation, please view the objectives of Biden’s National Transgender Strategy here: [fundraiser link]”
The link leads to a fundraiser page that opens with “STOP BIDEN FROM DOING THIS TO OUR KIDS!” and goes on to claim that President Joe Biden is “forcing 5-year-olds to learn about gender reassignment surgeries, gender identities, and other radical ideas.”
That is, of course, absolutely not happening, and Barrett offers no evidence that it is. If you squint hard enough, it appears he is referencing at least the baseless theory behind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) “Don’t Say Gay” law, which bans discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity in classrooms third grade and under.
Another similar message Barrett’s campaign obtained by the Michigan Advance opens with “APPOINTMENT STATUS: CONFIRMED” in red letters, with details of the fake appointment underneath listing “your child” as the patient receiving “Gender Reassignment Surgery” and the date as “Tomorrow at 9 AM.”
Then, of course, comes the fundraising pitch:
“If you would like to CANCEL this appointment because you do not believe in teaching young children about dangerous transgender ideologies, please sign your name NOW,” the message says.
Barrett is running in the Republican primary to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), who blasted the messages on Thursday.
“Using scare tactics about our children’s well-being to raise money for a political campaign should be off-limits,” she told the Michigan Advance. “This is what people hate about politics: the politicians that only want to use fear to further divide us in a time where we should be coming together.”
Barrett is one of many Republicans who’ve been manufacturing outrage over gender affirmative care for trans youth and trans female athletes’ participation in student sports ahead of the 2022 midterms.
Now conservatives have begun expanding their targeting of trans people to include the rest of the LGBTQ+ community, with Republicans accusing opponents of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation (like DeSantis’ law) of being “groomers.”