Republican wants to pull funding from Sesame Street because Billy Porter will appear in a glamorous tuxedo gown
A Republican lawmaker has threatened to defund PBS because an episode of Sesame Street features gay actor Billy Porter.
The Pose star made a guest appearance on the public broadcaster’s long-running kids’ show this month, dropping by in the iconic tuxedo gown he wore to last year’s Academy Awards.
Now one Republican lawmaker is seeking to pull all funding for public broadcasting in the wake of the row.
Republican wants to defund public broadcaster over ‘radical LGBT agenda’
Arkansas state senator Jason Rapert said on Facebook that he would seek to cut funding from AETN, the Arkansas PBS affiliate, over the episode.
Raging against “taxpayer dollars being used to promote the radical LGBTQ agenda,” he wrote: “I can pass a bill to cutoff all funding for the rebroadcast of PBS programming through AETN and also stop all funding for AETN altogether if necessary.”
He said: “If they choose to allow our state taxpayer funded platform to be politicised in this way, they are going to have to make a decision about who they really serve.”
Rapert added: “Christians do not support anti-Biblical behavior. The Bible is clear on certain sins – including homosexuality.”
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Lawmaker rages against Billy Porter on Sesame Street
The Republican lawmaker also shared a petition from anti-LGBT website LifeSiteNews, which claims that Porter is an “LGBT drag queen activist.”
The petition claims: “Transgenderism is not about ‘Love.’ It is a disorder – gender dysphoria – which has absolutely no place on a children’s program.
“By contributing to this social contagion, Sesame Street is forcing children to deal with adult concepts and notions about sexuality which are beyond their level of maturity, and which can leave psychological scars.”
Porter is a cisgender man who sometimes wears dresses, and is not transgender or a drag queen – though he did win a Tony for playing drag queen Lola in the Broadway musical Kinky Boots, as queer theatre obsessives, and apparently some anti-LGBT activists, will know.
Incredibly, Rapert is not the first Republican to be so freaked out about gay people on TV that he wants to defund it entirely.
Republican congressman Doug Lamborn launched a drive to defund PBS in June last year after an episode of Arthur featured a gay wedding.