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North Carolina lieutenant governor Mark Robinson is facing calls to resign after a video surfaced on social media showing him describing LGBT+ people as “filth”.
The video, shared by Right Wing Watched, showed Robinson speaking at the Asbury Baptist Church in Seagrove during a visit in June, local NBC affiliate WRAL reported.
“There is no reason anybody, anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality or any of that filth,” Robinson said.
He then doubled down on his comments, saying “yes, I called it filth” and said people who didn’t like his statement could “come see me”.
“It’s time for us to stop letting these children be abused in schools, and it’s not going to happen till the people of God stand up and demand different, same ones that established those schools to begin with,” Robinson added.
North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson says Christians must take control of public schools because children are being abused by being taught "filth": "There's no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth." pic.twitter.com/aXjCPFKTs0
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) October 6, 2021
According to LGBT+ media advocacy group GLAAD, “transgenderism” is regarded as a derogatory term and has been used by anti-trans activists to “dehumanise transgender people and reduce who they are to ‘a condition’”.
Since the footage surfaced online, Robinson has faced severe backlash for his comments about the LGBT+ community.
North Carolina senator Jeff Jackson said on Twitter that Robinson’s comments were “unacceptable” and that the lieutenant governor should resign.
“There’s no debate here,” Jackson said. “This is open discrimination”.
North Carolina's Lt. Governor, Mark Robinson, just angrily referred to the LGBTQ community as "filth."
Then he says, "Yes, I called it filth."
There's no debate here. This is open discrimination. It is completely unacceptable.
Mark Robinson should resign. pic.twitter.com/rUhzXZm8Jd
— Sen. Jeff Jackson (@JeffJacksonNC) October 7, 2021
Democratic senator Wiley Nickel agreed with his fellow party member, adding that Robinson is a “disgrace and an embarrassment to our state – he should resign immediately”.
“I stand with the LGBTQ Community and hope you will join me in condemning this hate speech from the most senior Republican in our state,” Wiley wrote on Twitter.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT+ rights organisation, has also called for Robinson’s resignation after his “disgraceful, hateful statements directed at LGBTQ+ people”.
Joni Madison, HRC interim president, said people living in North Carolina “deserve better than these dehumanising comments” from an elected official.
“This incident only reaffirms the serious need for comprehensive non-discrimination protections that would outlaw discrimination and make North Carolina a safer place for LGBTQ+ people to live,” Madison added.
Governor Roy Cooper’s office called Robinson’s comments “abhorrent” in a statement to CNN.
“North Carolina is a welcoming state where we value public education and the diversity of our people,” the statement read. “It’s abhorrent to hear anyone, and especially an elected official, use hateful rhetoric that hurts people and our state’s reputation.”
However, Mark Robinson has not backed down from his statements.
He told WRAL that he would not resign from his position, adding he was “tired” of right-wing speech being “demonised”.
“We will not be intimidated. We will not back down. We will not change our language,” Robinson said. “The language I used, I am not ashamed of it.”
He then equated LGBT+ issues to “adult topics”, saying they should “stay in an adult place” and “have no business around children”.
“Homosexuality is a sexual preference, and sexual preferences, I believe, do not need to be discussed in our schools,” he told WRAL.
In a separate interview with ABC11, Robinson said he was sorry if LGBT+ people were offended by his comments, but he doesn’t “back off of my words”.
“When you introduce these adult theme issues to children, that is filthy,” he added.