Anti-drag Republican Randy McNally gives baffling explanation for liking gay man’s thirst traps: ‘I want to encourage people’
An anti-drag Republican who was caught leaving heart emojis on a gay man’s saucy Instagram photographs has given a bizarre explanation as to why.
In February, Tennessee became the first US state to officially ban drag performances, when it outlawed drag in public places where it could be viewed by children.
As well as the drag ban, lawmakers also voted to outlaw doctors from providing gender-affirming medical treatment to trans youth, including puberty blockers and hormone therapy.
The legislation is part of a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ laws sweeping the US, including book bans, sports bans for trans people and “Don’t Say Gay” copycat laws.
In recent days, lieutenant governor and speaker of the Tennessee senate Randy McNally – who has supported the southern state’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws – has come under fire for “hypocrisy” after leaving cutesy comments and heart and fire emojis on a gay man’s scantily-clad photographs.
“Finn, you can turn a rainy day into rainbows and sunshine,” McNally’s verified account wrote under 20-year-old musician Franklyn McClur’s Instagram post – which was a below shot of his derrière.
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“Love it”, he also commented alongside a heart emoji on a video of McClur dancing in tight purple shorts.
McNally was also caught liking a post which was a screenshot of – what appears to be – McClur’s previous Instagram bio, where describes himself as not as a “whore” but a “hoe”.
“There is a difference! One is SLUT and the other is a PROSTITUTE! I’m the one who gets free weed for giving head!,” McClur had written alongside a stream of emojis.
As of 11 March, it appears many of the original comments have been deleted, although the “likes” remain.
Many social media users have flocked to McClur’s page to ask “where is Randy”, following the deletions.
In an exclusive interview with Nashville news station NewsChannel 5, the 79-year-old politician apologised to his family and attempted to explain away his actions.
“I’m really, really sorry if I’ve embarrassed my family, embarrassed my friends, embarrassed any of the members of the legislature with the posts,” McNally told NewsChannel 5 Investigates reporter Phil Williams, “It was not my intent to [embarrass them] and not my intent to hurt them.”
When probed by Williams as to why he liked and commented on the racy posts, he said he wants to “encourage” people.
“It’s that, you know, I, you know, try to encourage people with posts and try to, you know, help them if I can,” he told the news outlet.
Following William’s questions about the “hoe not whore” post, McNally admitted he “probably” should not have liked it as it mentioned sex work and a sex act. Although, he said he did not recalling reading the part “about the weed”.
“I don’t know that, a lot of times on some people’s posts you see the name and you see what they’ve written, and you just press the button that says like,” he said.
The Republican told NewsChannel 5 he has never had any sort of relationship with McClur, nor had he met the aspiring performer in real life.
McNally says he learned LGBTQ+ community are ‘still individuals’
During the exclusive interview, the Republican admitted he was trying to be more open in his acceptance and understanding of the LGBTQ+ community, including members of his own family.
“Initially, I was not very kind to that community, as I learned some things and met some people in that community I learned that they are still individuals and still have values,” he said.
Williams was quick to ask why he has not spoken out against the state’s LGBTQ+ laws.
“Well, it depends upon the issue,” he answered.
When approached for comment about the Instagram comments, McNally’s spokesman, Adam Kleinheider, said the politician has no intention on stopping posting on social media.
“Trying to imply something sinister or inappropriate about a great-grandfather’s use of social media says more about the mind of the left-wing operative making the implication than it does about Randy McNally,” he said.
“As anyone in Tennessee politics knows… McNally is a prolific social media commenter. He takes great pains to view every post he can and frequently posts encouraging things to many of his followers.
“Does he always use the proper emoji at the proper time? Maybe not. But he enjoys interacting with constituents and Tennesseans of all religions, backgrounds and orientations on social media.”
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