Ian Mackey, a Democrat who represents parts of St. Louis County (District 87) in the Missouri House of Representatives, called out his Republican colleague Representative Chuck Basye for proposing a bill that would ban transgender athletes from participating in high school sports.
Mackey, one of the few openly gay elected officials in Missouri, criticized Basye in a speech on the House floor and reminded his audience Basye's own gay brother had been afraid to come out to him given his conservative beliefs.
You can hear what Mackey said in the video below.
When Mackey noted Basye's brother had been afraid to tell him he was gay, Basye said his brother "thought that we would hold that against him and not let my children be around him."
But when asked why his brother felt that way, Basye said he didn't know, insisting he would have accepted his brother as a member of the family regardless of his sexual orientation.
But Mackey was firm, explaining Basye's support for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation like his anti-trans bill offers plenty of evidence why his brother had not come out to him directly.
"Can I tell you, if I were your brother, I would have been afraid to tell you too... because of stuff like this!"
"This is what you're focused on, this is the legislation you want to put forward! This is what consumes your time. I would have been afraid to tell you too."
"I was afraid of people like you... For 18 years I walked around with 'nice' people like you who took me to ball games, who told me how smart I was, and they went to the ballot and voted for crap like this!"
Many have praised Mackey for speaking out.
In recent months, Republicans across the country have sponsored a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, much of it directed at transgender people.
The legislation is a further example of how transgender issues have recently galvanized the far right, taking a spot at the forefront of attacks conservatives have directed toward the LGBTQ+ community in what has become one of the more defining elements of the culture wars.
Basye proposed the prohibition on transgender students participating on sports teams as an amendment to House Bill 1141, which was drafted in response to false claims that schools have been teaching critical race theory to young children.
The legislation aims to ban teachers in Missouri from teaching The 1619 Project, which repositions the consequences and legacy of slavery as elements vital to the historical narrative.
Critical race theory is a body of legal and academic scholarship that aims to examine how racism and disparate racial outcomes have shaped public policy via often implicit social and institutional dynamics.
Although critical race theory is just one branch of an incredibly varied arena of academic scholarship, it has nonetheless galvanized critics and threatened to obfuscate nationwide discussions about racial reconciliation, equity, and justice.
Basye has defended including the amendment in a bill addressing a completely unrelated topic, saying that its inclusion is "not about ill feelings" but about "doing the right thing and protecting girls.”