Head of News and Campaigns, GLAAD
Senior Director of Communications, LGBTQ Victory Fund
GLAAD AND LGBTQ VICTORY FUND CONDEMN EGREGIOUSLY FALSE AND TRANSPHOBIC ONLINE ADS AND CAMPAIGN TEXT MESSAGES FROM POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE TO VOTERS IN SWING STATES
PAC text messages to voters in Pennsylvania completely misquote Vice President Joe Biden’s answer to mother of transgender child in an ABC town hall; same PAC made online ads that Facebook removed because of their inaccuracy and harmful language; PAC tried and failed in two previous campaigns with same misleading strategy
Washington, DC and New York, NY – October 27, 2020 – GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, along with LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing openly LGBTQ people to every level of government, are condemning the latest false, homophobic and transphobic campaign text messages and ads from the political action committee, American Principles Project.
Text messages from APP, received by phone numbers in central and northern Pennsylvania, are misleading or false in every sentence. APP is a PAC that has made transphobic campaign ads posted to Twitter and Facebook and targeted to at least four states – North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan and Wisconsin.
The texts to voters in Pennsylvania read: “Hi, I’m a Democratic volunteer with APP PAC. During a recent Town Hall, Joe Biden endorsed giving 8 and 10 year olds sex change treatments. This is way too extreme for me. I can’t support him. Watch the video. Reply STOP to opt-out.”
Facebook posts with a similarly inaccurate quote were shared thousands of times, prompting fact checks from Reuters, The Associated Press and USA Today – all found the quotes to be false and fabricated. GLAAD has also alerted Facebook about APP ads falsely quoting VP Biden’s town hall comments and running in Michigan.
Here are the facts about what was said in the town hall on October 15 in Philadelphia. Vice President Biden was asked by a mother of a transgender child about the Trump administration’s attacks against the transgender community, accurately describing President Trump’s ban on transgender military service and how the Trump administration has weakened discrimination protections (GLAAD has tracked 181+ negative policies and rhetoric against LGBTQ people from the Trump administration in our Trump Accountability Project.)
The mother, Mieke Haeke from State College, PA, asked, “How will you as President reverse this dangerous and discriminatory agenda and ensure that the lives and rights of LGBTQ people are protected under U.S. law?”
VP Biden replied: “I will flat out just change the law. Eliminate those executive orders.” VP Biden went on to describe an encounter early in his life with LGBTQ men and how it shaped his acceptance of LGBTQ people, then said, “The idea that a 10 year old or 8 year old child says, I decided, I’d like to be transgender. That’s who I’d like to be, make my life a lot easier. There should be zero discrimination.” VP Biden goes on to discuss the epidemic of violence against transgender women of color, and how his son created the first transgender protections in the state of Delaware. The transcript does not include any mention of transitioning or sex change treatments.
See the full exchange here: https://twitter.com/abc/status/1316911794770890752
“The concerted effort to fabricate and disseminate false quotes to voters is irresponsible and shameful,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “The video and the transcript clearly show what was said, and what voters in Pennsylvania value: truth, respect and dignity for all people. These inaccurate and misleading texts and made-up quotes misrepresent a candidate’s words and fail to support transgender children and people, a community that needs our empathy and protection.”
Research shows affirming a young person’s authentic gender identity and pronouns, which happens well before discussions about transition, reduces self-harm and thoughts of suicide. In addition to being the first presidential candidate to be asked about transgender people in a nationally-televised election forum, VP Biden has also released a plan to address the job, housing and other forms of discrimination that place transgender people at greater risk of violence:
The false text campaign follows inaccurate online ads from APP, released on Facebook in September, targeted to Michigan voters and later, voters in Wisconsin. Two ads were removed because they violated Facebook Advertising Policies. As Politico reported in August, APP has attempted similar transphobic ads in North Carolina and Kentucky. Both campaigns failed to achieve APP’s goal of electing its preferred candidates.
LGBTQ Victory Fund says a growing number of transphobic attacks are targeting both LGBTQ candidates and allies this election cycle. Millions of dollars from PACs — both large and small — have been spent on transphobic TV and digital ads, in addition to the APP text received this past Sunday.
“Throughout this election cycle, cynical operatives who thrive on the politics of bigotry have attempted to weaponize trans issues for electoral gain,” said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. “Their disregard for the truth – much less the impact it has on the lives and health of trans Americans – is an insult to voters and to anyone who demands decency in our political discourse. The good people on both sides of the partisan divide must condemn these tactics, whether aimed at the presidential candidates or the dozens of courageous trans candidates running nationwide.”
APP says it is a group “that works to advance human dignity.” Its ongoing efforts against transgender people, and its campaigns to mislead voters, are in conflict with its own mission statement.
GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.
About LGBTQ Victory Fund:
LGBTQ Victory Fund works to achieve and sustain equality by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government while ensuring they reflect the diversity of those they serve.