Democratic House nominee accused of transphobia, deepening party divisions

By Paul Oliva, The Lexington Times

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Adrielle Camuel, the Democratic nominee for Kentucky’s House District 93, is facing backlash for her alleged transphobic remarks and actions, according to a press release issued by twelve transgender advocates Thursday. The statement, signed by leaders including Rebecca Blankenship and Emma Curtis, accuses Camuel of “stoking hatred with lies” and “deliberately working to divide the LGBTQ+ community from trans people.”

The press release states: “Camuel’s behavior is unconscionably transphobic. She must fully reverse course or risk further damaging the reputation of the Kentucky Democratic Party.”

This controversy threatens to deepen divisions within the Kentucky Democratic Party (KDP), which is already under scrutiny for its nominating process. Camuel, an administrative assistant at Fayette County Public Schools, was selected over Emma Curtis, a 26-year-old transgender activist who had been the favorite to win the nomination.

The press release follows earlier concerns raised by Curtis’ campaign about the integrity of the nominating process. Rebecca Blankenship, a spokesperson for Curtis, had previously urged Camuel to recuse herself from the nomination vote, citing her position on the nominating committee. “The Democratic Party is constantly accused of corruption and of unfairly opposing minority candidates,” Blankenship said prior to the nomination.

Camuel’s nomination had already sparked disappointment and disillusionment, particularly among young, marginalized voters. The latest allegations could further erode trust in the KDP and its commitment to inclusivity and democratic principles.

The timing of this controversy is particularly sensitive for the KDP, as 2023 is a gubernatorial election year in Kentucky. Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat, is seeking re-election, and the party may be wary of controversies that could affect voter turnout and party unity.

House District 93, a Democratic stronghold that swung decisively for President Joe Biden in 2020, is an important battleground in the wider context of Kentucky politics, which is predominantly Republican. Camuel is set to face Republican candidate Kyle Whalen in the general election this fall.

As the general election approaches, the KDP faces the challenge of consolidating support within the party while also appealing to a broader electorate. The allegations against Camuel add another layer of complexity to this task, raising questions about the party’s values and its ability to engage and energize a diverse constituency.

The KDP did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. Adrielle Camuel could not be immediately reached Thursday night.

Top photo: The Kentucky State Capitol in September 2023. (The Lexington Times)