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Democrat Responds to Fort Bend GOP’s Anti-LGBTQ ‘Cross-Dressing’ Attack

Sri Preston Kulkarni says Republican Congressman Pete Olson is 'trying to bring this race into the mud.'

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The Fort Bend Republican Party sent out a fundraising email this week under the subject line, “Cross-Dressing Democratic Candidate.”

The email contained the above photos of Sri Preston Kulkarni, the Democratic nominee in Texas’ 22nd Congressional District, as well as a link to a recent column in the conservative Washington Times by Matt Mackowiak, who serves as chair of the Travis County Republican Party in Austin.

Sri Preston Kulkarni

The Fort Bend GOP’s email noted that in his column, Mackowiak alleges that Kulkarni is a member of the “DC Burners Club, which celebrates Burning Man, the anything-goes, anarchic annual festival held in Nevada where free love and drug use are widespread.”

“What the article didn’t mention is that when Kulkarni goes to these kind of parties, he has a propensity to put on lots of make-up and dress like a woman,” the Fort Bend GOP wrote. “Folks, when you couple the destructive policies embraced by this candidate along with his bizarre behavior celebrating of a drug-fueled counter-culture, we have an individual who should never represent us at any level of government.”

Congressman Pete Olson

Kulkarni, a former U.S. Foreign Service officer who quit over President Donald Trump’s policies, faces Republican incumbent Pete Olson in the district that covers most of Fort Bend County, one of the most ethnically diverse areas in the nation. Along with Gina Ortiz Jones in Texas’ 23rd District, Kulkarni is vying to become the first Asian-American elected to Congress from Texas.

“Pete Olson and the Republicans know that they can’t win on their record, so they are trying to bring this race into the mud,” Kulkarni told OutSmart in statement responding to the Fort Bend GOP email. “It is not the kind of politics Texans deserve. I especially condemn this attack for its attempt to stigmatize the LGBTQ community. I have always been a proud ally of the LGBTQ community and will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them against any form of discrimination.”

Olson could not immediately be reached for comment.

Trump won the 22nd District by 8 points in 2016, but Kulkarni outraised Olson in the second quarter of this year. Olson received the lowest positive score of zero on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard, and has voted in line with Trump’s positions 97 percent of the time.

You can keep up with Kulkarni on his website, Facebook and Twitter.

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John Wright

John Wright is the editor of OutSmart magazine. He has spent two decades in the mainstream and LGBTQ media. Most recently, he served as senior editor of Dallas Voice, and covered LGBTQ issues in the state Legislature for The Texas Observer. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Wright earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Florida. He resides in the EaDo area of Houston, where he is currently remodeling a 1930s row house.
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