Anti-LGBT+ Republican’s election bid descends into brazen bigotry as vile campaign materials take aim at trans people

Bob Good. (Parker Michels-Boyce for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Bob Good, a self-described “biblical conservative” Republican running for a seat in the Virginia House of Representatives, fuelled alarm Sunday morning (August 16) when it emerged his bid for election involves a lot of transphobia.

Good, a Trump supporter and staunch opponent of marriage equality, is hoping to drum up support for his campaign by attacking a new state law prohibiting discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity, which his campaign claims offends “religious liberty”.

Invitations from the Good campaign directed at clergy members and Republican county leaders for an event this week show how his team aims to leverage anti-LGBT+ sentiment in the widely conservative Central Virginia district, by targeting trans people.

One invitation, obtained by the New York Times, was crammed with anti-trans language. With the subject heading “Re: when a man becomes a woman”, the invite asked: “What happens when a male member of your congregation goes on vacation and returns four weeks later as a female?

“What happens when a male member of your congregation goes on vacation and returns four weeks later as a female?”

The invitation was reportedly signed by Travis Witter, a former Virginia Tea Party official and Faith Coalition leader for Good’s team.

Republican Bob Good organises event rallying against ‘assault’ on religious liberty.

Good won the Republican nomination over incumbent Denver Riggleman, whose caucus defeat was attributed to his decision to officiate a same-sex wedding last year.

The Virginia Republicans’ descent into blatant anti-LGBT+ sentiment means that Riggleman’s seat is now on the Democrats’ radar – but Good’s strategy appears to veer even farther right.

His campaign has organised a series of “Virginia Liberty Summits for Pastors”.

“Religious liberty in America is under assault like never before,” said an Eventbrite page for an upcoming summit at a Charlottesville church. The “assault” refers to the statewide law protecting LGBT+ people from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations. and credit.

One of the US’ top LGBT+ rights organisations, the Human Rights Watch, denounced Good’s actions. “The 1.3 million Equality Voters across Virginia have no patience for this type of divisiveness and hate,” said Alphonso David in a statement.

“Bob Good might have been able to win a low-turnout party caucus by attacking LGBTQ people, but Virginia voters showed in 2018 and 2019 that attacking LGBTQ people is no winning strategy.

“Transphobia and anti-LGBTQ attacks are unacceptable.”

Good is a graduate and former athletics director for Liberty University, an institution which bans LGBT+ people from applying on the grounds of “morality”.