Gay student president faces homophobic threats after Rick Perry claims he ‘stole’ election
A Texas university student president has been barraged with homophobic threats – after Trump official Rick Perry publicly attacked him.
Out economics student Bobby Brooks was recently elected as student President at Texas A&M University, overcoming old-fashioned homophobia in the Lone Star state.
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who strongly opposes LGBT rights, waded into the row in a newspaper column, claiming the election had been “stolen outright” in favour of Mr Brooks after another candidate was disqualified for expenses violations.
The Trump administration official claimed the election was rigged as part of a “quest for diversity”.
After the baseless public attacks from Perry, who is Donald Trump’s Energy Secretary, Mr Brooks says he has encountered a tidal wave of abuse and threats.
He cited an incident in a local store in which he was accosted by supporters of a rival candidate, who physically threatened him. After Mr Brooks left, they reportedly referred to him using homophobic slurs, according to another witness.
Emboldened, supporters of the disqualified candidate are also now claiming discrimination “based on the fact that he is a heterosexual, white, Christian male”.
Speaking to the New York Times, Mr Brooks said: “I was very curious as to why Rick Perry would have devoted his time to this, and also why he would use my full name in the story.”
He has since written to Perry requesting a meeting.
Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, said: “Young people like Bobby Brooks are the future, and should be encouraged, not harassed.
“I hope Secretary Perry takes this opportunity to meet with Bobby and learn what this student already knows – that diversity and inclusion are among our greatest strengths.”
GLAAD is also calling on Perry to meet with Mr Brooks.
Like many other members of the Trump Cabinet, Perry holds extreme anti-LGBT stances.
Perry led the charge against gay people being allowed to serve in the military, releasing a notorious ad while running for President in 2012 claiming there’s “something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas”.
While serving as Texas Governor in 2014, he compared gay people to alcoholics.
He had claimed: “Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that.
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“I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”
Running for President again last year, the former Governor launched an attack on the Boy Scouts of America after the organisation opted to end a ban on openly gay scoutmasters.
Perry had claimed: “Openly active gays, particularly advocates, present a problem. Because gay activism is central to their lives, it would unavoidably be a topic of conversation within a Scout troop. This would distract from the mission of scouting.”
Asked whether he would retract the comments, he insisted: “I believe that scouting would be better off if they didn’t have openly gay scoutmasters.”