Days after one of his campaign banners was defaced with a homophobic slur, local activist and county legislature candidate Justice Horn unveiled a policy plan to support the LGBTQ+ community in Jackson County if he is elected.
A banner advertising Horn’s campaign to represent the 1st District in the Jackson County Legislature was defaced with an anti-gay slur over the weekend near Emmanuel Cleaver II Boulevard and Campbell Avenue. Horn is the only openly gay candidate running for local office.
“Looking beyond this instance and at the pattern of hate I’ve seen on the campaign trail over the past year and half, you’ll see exactly why I’m always talking about my experience as a young, gay, Black man,” he said during a news conference Tuesday morning. “This sort of thing never stops.”
Horn tweeted a photo in front of the banner Sunday, after getting a call from the daughter of one of his campaign team members about the vandalism. He said two people have said they saw someone spray-painting the sign around 2:30 p.m. Sunday. By Tuesday, he said, the banner had been stolen, but the zip ties used to hold it up are still there.
Horn hasn’t filed a police report yet, but he plans to talk with the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and report it to the FBI as a hate crime.
Protections for LGBTQ+ community
Horn said while Kansas City is considered a “safe haven” for LGBTQ+ people, incidents like this show that more needs to be done to protect the queer community.
The LGBTQ+ Protection Policy Plan he announced Tuesday included a ban on conversion therapy in Jackson County and protections for reproductive and gender affirming health care for county employees.
“It’s time to stop rainbow washing and advocating for LGBTQ+ people just during pride month,” Horn said. “And with the extremism at the state level in Missouri, it is way past time for Jackson County to take further steps towards the protecting of the LGBTQ+ community.”
The plan also includes processes for incarcerated people in Jackson County Detention Center to be grouped by gender identity instead of assigned sex, which Horn says will reduce violence against LGBTQ+ people. Horn also hopes to supply all county-owned facilities with personal hygiene products.
Horn said this isn’t the first time he has been called an anti-gay slur or the N-word while on the campaign trail. He was surprised by the support he received, but he also noticed those who didn’t reach out.
After reaching out to all local campaigns telling them about the news conference Tuesday, Horn said four candidates and elected officials responded and attended, including Assistant Minority Leader Richard Brown, Jackson County Executive Candidate Stacy Lake and City Council candidates Erik Dickinson and Crissy Dastrup.
Horn helped organize protests following the police murder of George Floyd in 2020 Minneapolis. This is the first time he is running for elected office.