A crowd protesting anti-transgender legislation staged a “die in” on the Kentucky Capitol grounds on March 29, 2023. (Kentucky Lantern photo by Sarah Ladd)
A Democratic candidate for State Representative apologized Thursday for a comment she made that caused transgender Kentuckians to condemn her words.
“As a longtime supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, I stand firmly in support of the rights of all LGBTQ+ Kentuckians, including transgender Kentuckians,” Adrielle Camuel said in a statement shared to social media Thursday. “I commit to you that I will always oppose any discriminatory legislation.”
She also said she would work to repeal Senate Bill 150 if elected.
Senate Bill 150, which became enforceable in July, outlawed gender-affirming medical care for transgender people under 18 in Kentucky.
Camuel is running for District 93 to fill a vacancy left by the late Rep. Lamin Swann, who died at age 45 on Mother’s Day after being hospitalized for days with what family said was a significant medical emergency.
Camuel’s ‘extremes’ statement
During an interview on WKYT in early August, reporter Bill Bryant asked Camuel about transgender rights and the new law.
Camuel responded that there are “extremes on both sides” and that “we really need to get to the meat of issues, whether it’s clean drinking water, funding education, access to mental health services.”
After the “extreme” comment, trans leaders called on the candidate to clarify her stance on the law and transgender rights.
Emma Curtis, who ran for Swann’s seat but wasn’t nominated for candidacy, rescinded her endorsement of Camuel in early September. She condemned the “genuine hostility towards people like me.”
A group of 12 transgender Kentucky leaders, including Curtis, also signed a letter on Sept. 7 saying they “fully condemn” Camuel’s “false equivocations” about SB150. That letter also stated that “she must fully reverse course or risk further damaging the reputation of the” party.
Camuel apologized “for not being clear enough recently in my support for a community that has already experienced so much pain.”
“I want the LGBTQ+ community – and anyone whose voice has been shut out – to know that they will have an ally in Frankfort if I am elected,” Camuel wrote. “My remarks about ‘extremes on both sides’ were meant to refer to our polarized politics in general. I want to be clear: I was not referring to SB 150 or its opponents. I’m sorry for any confusion and hurt my words caused.”
Several people thanked Camuel for her statement, including Rebecca Blankenship, Kentucky’s first openly transgeneder elected official, who wrote on Twitter that “Healing is a long way away, but this is a good start, and we are grateful.”
Camuel is running against Republican Kyle Whalen.
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