One Iowa Condemns State Rep. Ralph Watts’ Use of Gay Slur During Public Forum

On Saturday, Feb. 4, State Rep. Ralph Watts held a public forum in Adel, Iowa. At the forum, Rep. Watts approached a constituent taking a video recording and repeatedly referred to the constituent’s husband (Bryce Smith, Rep. Watts’ opponent in the 2016 election) as “red rider”. “Red rider” is a derogatory term for a gay man.

Smith, who was not present at the forum, shared video of the exchange (and the public forum as a whole) on Facebook. The video may be found here, and the exchange begins around the 1:09:30 mark.

One Iowa Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel issued a statement condemning Rep. Watts’ repeated use of the term.

“Homophobic slurs should never be used, especially by an elected official,” Hoffman-Zinnel said. “We must continue dialogue on inclusion and civility with an understanding of how slurs like this impact real Iowans. Respect is a non-partisan Iowa value, and leaders in our communities must model civil discourse. Bryce Smith deserves an apology from Rep. Watts.”