The Republican who called Emma Gonzalez a ‘skinhead lesbian’ could now lose his seat
A Democrat has risen up to challenge the Republican who called school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez “a skinhead lesbian”.
Leslie Gibson was the only person in the District 57 race for a place in Maine’s House of Representatives when he lashed out at the bisexual head of Stoneman Douglas High School’s Gay-Straight Alliance.
Together with fellow students like David Hogg and Cameron Kasky, the 18-year-old activist has prompted a tidal wave of public sentiment in favour of better gun regulations following the shooting in Florida, which killed 17.
Gibson, reportedly in his 60s, targeted the teenager as all brave people do: through his Twitter account with 74 followers.
“There is nothing about this skinhead lesbian that impresses me and there is nothing that she has to say unless you’re a frothing at the mouth moonbat,” he wrote.
In another tweet, he said that Gonzalez should not be called a survivor because she “was in a completely different part of the school” when her fellow students were shot dead.
The tweets prompted outrage and a call from local organisers – as well as Hogg, who Gibson called a “bald-faced liar” – for a Democratic opponent to run against him.
Eryn Gilchrist, 28, has met that challenge.
Gilchrist, who works at a medical device company, said she wasn’t intending to throw her hat into the ring – until she saw Gibson’s inflammatory attack.
“I never thought I would run for office, and I was perfectly content with just remaining a member of the community,” Gilchrist said.
But, she added, “after reading Mr Gibson’s comments I thought that the people of Greene and Sabattus deserved a representative who will respect people and try to work through their differences to make our lives better.”
She continued: “That’s what I pledge to do if I am lucky enough to be elected, and I look forward to working hard over the next several months to earn the trust and support of people throughout my community.”
She will get the chance to prove herself in November’s election.
Gibson apologised to Gonzalez after his tweets, saying: “I would like to extend to you my most sincere apology for how I addressed you.
“It was wrong and unacceptable. You are doing work that is important to you.
“I would like to extend my hand in friendship and understanding to you.”
But it seems that the damage has been done, as he now has an opponent.
Gonzalez, who now has nearly double as many followers on Twitter as the National Rifle Association, has been honoured by LGBT group Equality Florida this week for her activism.
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She has been at the forefront of the #NeverAgain movement since her impassioned speech at a rally last month in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The high school senior powerfully repeated the phrase “We call BS” about NRA-funded politicians, gun advocates and those who don’t believe the Parkland teenagers know enough to speak up.
On Ellen DeGeneres’ TV show, Gonzalez explained that she chose the phrase because she wanted the message to be memorable and universal.
The teenager also bravely took on the NRA’s Dana Loesch at the CNN town hall on gun control last week, telling Loesch, who has two kids, that “we will support your two children in the way that you will not.”