“Give them just an inch for managing your child and we could have a drag show up here tonight. Are you really willing to give them that inch and lose that mile?” Republican state Sen. Dennis Linthicum said while giving a speech to People’s Rights Oregon 5 members behind closed doors, “Are you willing to give that inch and have your little boy want to become a little girl?”
Linthicum stressed in his Oct. 18 speech how important it is for more common-sense, rural Oregonians to get involved in local elections by comparing what they are currently doing to a war for both Oregon’s and the country’s future.
However, most of the content in his “motivational speech” was cheap, reused jokes aimed at transgender people and gender-affirming care.
The speech took place at Aspen Lakes Golf Club in Sisters, Oregon four days before right-wing protesters gathered across the street from Old Nick’s Pub. The public house was specifically targeted for hosting a drag storytime event that was to involve an 11-year-old girl reading to audience members.
Linthicum’s speech’s main purpose was to encourage members of the far-right People’s Rights network to get involved in local elections and inform others about issues. The network has been linked with paramilitary and right-wing militias according to a past report done by Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights.
People’s Rights Oregon 5 (PRO5) is Central Oregon’s local group of the nationwide People’s Rights network. They meet every Tuesday to discuss topics like monitoring legislation, natural medicine and election integrity.
In his speech, Linthicum wasted no time attacking transgender members of the LGBTQIA community, exclaiming how the traditional, nuclear family unit must be kept strong in America. “We don’t need anybody who’s spent their entire life in law and can’t answer the question: What’s a woman?” Linthicum said.
Linthicum used God as evidence to invalidate both queer and especially trans people. “I don’t know if this is a person who thinks they’re in the wrong body, could they be in the wrong body?” Linthicum said, while chuckling through the microphone, “Lord, please answer. I don’t know. I didn’t get an affirmative. I didn’t get a negative, but it’s awfully weird and it’s only happened in the last five years.”
The state senator then jested about the fact that while he and his constituents will be “polite, decent, kind and courteous” to queer people in public, they’ll also be making bigoted jokes like the ones Linthicum is making behind closed doors.
He also attacked Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, “Doernbecher Hospital is going to teach boys how to tuck their testicles up into the cavities to hide their ‘private parts,’” he said.“This is an agenda. It’s dangerous. It’s ugly. It’s evil and we should stop these guys cold.”
When asked to comment on the remarks the hospital said, “Oregon Health & Science University proudly offers gender-affirming health care to patients of all ages, including children and adolescents,” in an emailed statement. “Providers follow established, evidence-based medical standards, and employ a thoughtful, multidisciplinary process that involves both patients and their support systems.”
OHSU said it was not previously aware of the comments by the senator.
Whenever the senator made a statement at transgender people’s expense, it was met with raucous laughter from the crowd and a percussive sting like a comedy routine on a drumset offscreen, plus an awkward wheeze and chuckle from the senator himself.
He did not stop at attacking trans people. He targeted married queer couples too, “[Marriage] would be a male on one side and a female on the other side. They go together in pairs. It works really cool this way,” Linthicum said.
The full, bigoted speech, is on a People’s Rights-affiliated Vimeo page.
Linthicum began his career in politics when was elected to the Klamath County Board of County Commissioners in 2008. He currently represents Oregon state District 28 which includes rural counties Jackson, Klamath, Lake, Deschutes and Crook. He is up for reelection in 2025.