Huck­abee derides trans­gen­der rights

He jokes that as a teen he wishes he would’ve ‘felt like a woman’ to shower with the girls.

Los Angeles Times - - THE NATION - By Kur­tis Lee kur­tis.lee@la­times.com Twit­ter: @kur­tisalee

If he could go back to high school, Mike Huck­abee said, he would like to have “felt like a woman” when it came time to wash up af­ter gym class.

“I wish that some­one told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE,” the for­mer Arkansas gover­nor joked while speak­ing ear­lier this year at the Na­tional Re­li­gious Broad­cast­ers Con­ven­tion. “I’m pretty sure that I would have found my fem­i­nine side and said, ‘Coach, I think I’d rather shower with the girls to­day.’ ”

Huck­abee, who ended his show on Fox News in Jan­uary to make a sec­ond run for the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, also sug­gested the trans­gen­der com­mu­nity was a threat to so­ci­ety.

“For those who do not think that we are un­der threat, sim­ply rec­og­nize that the fact that we are now in city af­ter city watch­ing or­di­nances say that your 7year-old daugh­ter, if she goes into the re­stroom, can­not be of­fended, and you can’t be of­fended, if she’s greeted there by a 42-yearold man who feels more like a woman than he does a man,” he said.

Huck­abee’s com­ments, first re­ported Tues­day by Buz­zfeed, came a day af­ter the re­lease of a highly pub­li­cized Van­ity Fair cover fea­tur­ing Cait­lyn Jen­ner, for­merly known as Bruce Jen­ner. In­tense me­dia cov­er­age of Jen­ner’s trans­for­ma­tion drew na­tional at­ten­tion to trans­gen­der is­sues.

Huck­abee’s spokes­woman did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment Tues­day evening.

As a self-pro­claimed cul­ture war­rior and a fa­vorite of so­cial con­ser­va­tives and evan­gel­i­cals, Huck­abee has made eye­brow-rais­ing com­ments be­fore.

In his newly re­leased book, “God, Guns, Grits and Gravy,” Huck­abee as­sails rap mogul Jay Z, whom he ac­cuses of pimp­ing out his wife, singer Bey­once, in mu­sic videos in which the two per­form to­gether.

“Jay Z is a very shrewd busi­ness­man, but I won­der: Does it oc­cur to him that he is ar­guably cross­ing the line from hus­band to pimp by ex­ploit­ing his wife as a sex ob­ject?” Huck­abee, 59, wrote about the mu­si­cal cou­ple, who have wide ap­peal among younger gen­er­a­tions.

Huck­abee is a long shot for get­ting the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion. His hopes of do­ing so de­pend on win­ning heav­ily among evan­gel­i­cal con­ser­va­tives, par­tic­u­larly in South­ern states.

In speeches and books, he has made a habit of state­ments that at­tract con­tro­versy, par­tic­u­larly on is­sues in­volv­ing sex­u­al­ity. He plays to the po­si­tion many of his sup­port­ers hold that their be­liefs are un­der as­sault by popular cul­ture.

His views on so­cial is­sues, par­tic­u­larly his op­po­si­tion to same-sex mar­riage, play well with GOP pri­mary vot­ers, but ap­pear to be out of step with the broader na­tional elec­torate.

Huck­abee also faces a gen­er­a­tional chal­lenge. Some younger GOP ri­vals are urg­ing vot­ers to back younger can­di­dates in 2016.

While on the cam­paign trail, Huck­abee has pledged not to cut So­cial Se­cu­rity or Medi­care benefits and to over­haul the tax sys­tem. He has been a vo­cal sup­porter of term lim­its for mem­bers of Congress.

Huck­abee served as Arkansas gover­nor from 1996 un­til 2007, when he was termed out. He un­suc­cess­fully sought the 2008 Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, but won the first-inthe-na­tion Iowa cau­cuses with sup­port from evan­gel­i­cals and so­cial con­ser­va­tives.

Phelan M. Ebenhack As­so­ci­ated Press

GOP CAN­DI­DATE Mike Huck­abee has raised eye­brows be­fore with his com­ments on so­cial is­sues.

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