DES MOINES — On Saturday, March 25, State Rep. Ralph Watts attended an event at the Urbandale Chamber of Commerce sponsored by Drive With Cops. At the event, Karin Derry questioned him about his previous use of “red rider”, a derogatory term for a gay man, at a public forum. Rep. Watts’ responded to Derry’s question by saying “anything you say to a gay anymore is a gay slur.”
Youtube user “Jefferson1 IndivisibleIowa” posted a video recording of the exchange taken by Vicki Harris:
One Iowa Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel issued a statement condemning Rep. Watts’ response.
“This is an unacceptably dismissive and unapologetic response to a valid question about his previous use of a slur,” Hoffman-Zinnel said. “Words have real power to hurt and suppress marginalized communities, and Rep. Watts is failing to take responsibility for his words and shifting blame to the very community his words are hurting. Further, his use of the phrase ‘a gay’ is homophobic and dehumanizing. We ask him to apologize for his actions.”
via press release