Oklahoma State Senator Calls LGBTQ People 'Filth'

His remarks were in response to a question asked about anti-LGBTQ legislation and the Oklahoma nonbinary student who died earlier this month

An Oklahoma state senator called LGBTQ people “filth” on Friday in response to a question about state bills that would restrict the rights of trans people and the recent death of a local nonbinary student.

“We are a religious state and we are going to fight it to keep that filth out of the state of Oklahoma because we are a Christian state,” state Sen. Tom Woods (R) said during a public forum on Friday, as heard in audio obtained by the left-leaning group Media Matters for America.

He continued: “We want to lower taxes and let people be able to live and work and go to the faith they choose. We are a Republican state and I’m going to vote my district, and I’m going to vote my values, and we don’t want that in the state of Oklahoma.”

Woods spoke Friday on a panel with fellow Republican state Sens. Blake “Cowboy” Stephens and Dewayne Pemberton and GOP state Rep. David Hardin. His remarks were in response to audience member Cathy Cott asking the four panelists why the legislature has “such an obsession with the LGBTQ citizens of Oklahoma and what people do in their personal lives and how they raise their children,” Tahlequah Daily Press reported.

Oklahoma’s GOP-supermajority legislature introduced 35 anti-LGBTQ bills last year and 54 bills this year, according to the ACLU, including bans on gender-affirming care and restrictions on bathroom use. In the Media Matters audio, Woods is pressed on how these laws have placed a target on transgender people in the state, and on the case of Nex Benedict, a nonbinary Oklahoma high school student who was assaulted in a school bathroom and later died.

Woods said that while his “heart goes out” to Benedict, the people he represents don’t want LGBTQ “filth” in the state, according to the Tahlequah Daily Press.

Woods did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment about his remarks.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed a law requiring students to use bathrooms that match the sex listed on their birth certificate last year. Shortly after that, The Independent reported, Benedict started being bullied.

Medical examiners determined that Benedict’s death was not caused by trauma sustained in the bathroom assault, but their family is independently investigating.

The student’s death garnered attention of LGBTQ organizations, which have condemned Oklahoma and other conservative-led states amid a sweeping wave of anti-trans bills nationally.

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