Randy McNally: Drag ban Republican caught ‘liking’ gay thirst traps quits social media
Tennessee Republican Randy McNally has said he will “reflect” on his social media usage after he was caught leaving flame and heart emojis under a gay man’s Instagram posts.
Lieutenant governor McNally, who as speaker of the Tennessee senate presided over the state’s recent drag ban, said on Monday (13 March) he’d “pause” his social media usage, having previously tried to explain away the interactions.
He was accused of hypocrisy after leaving comments on Franklyn McClur’s photographs – some of which show him scantily clothed.
“Finn, you can turn a rainy day into rainbows and sunshine,” McNally’s verified account wrote under a photo of the 20-year-old’s rear end.
In a statement, McNally said: “While I see now that I should have been more careful about how my comments and activity would be perceived, my intent was always engagement and encouragement.
“For this reason, I will be pausing my social media activity in order to reflect and receive more guidance on the use of social media.”
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McNally was also caught liking a a photo by McClur’s in which describes himself as not as a “whore” but a “hoe”.
The story blew up, and was even featured on Saturday Night Live.
In an interview with Nashville news station NewsChannel 5, the veteran politician apologised to his family and attempted to explain away his comments as “encouragement”.
“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 reporter Phil Williams. “It was not my intent[ion] to [embarrass them] and not my intent[ion] to hurt them.”
The station said that it found other posts by LGBTQ+ people that McNally had liked – he said he was trying to be more affirming of the community.
However, the 79-year-old has been labelled a hypocrite over his part in passing anti-LGBTQ+ bills in Tennessee.
The state has banned certain drag performances and has stopped trans children from receiving vital, gender-affirming care.
The Tennessee Senate passed a bill banning drag shows in public on 23 February, with the measure heading to the desk of Republican governor Bill Lee for his signature.
Lawmakers also voted to send a bill to the governor that bans doctors from providing gender-affirming medical treatment, such as puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgery, to transgender minors.
The drag ban could also have an impact on public Pride celebrations.
Tennessee’s efforts come among dozens of anti-LGBTQ+ laws seeking to ban gender-affirming care, drag shows, LGBTQ+ books and trans athletes across the US.
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