RALEIGH, N.C. - Despite the growing calls for North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson to resign over remarks he made regarding the LGBTQ community, Robinson is not backing down.
He said as much in a video he posted to his Facebook page Saturday explaining his controversial remarks captured in a video shared by Right Wing Watch, an advocacy group that "monitors and exposes the activities and rhetoric of right-wing activists and organization."
In the original video, Robinson is heard saying, "There's no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth. And yes, I called it filth."
Right Wing Watch said Robinson made those comments as part of a call to Christians to "take control of public schools." Robinson, in Saturday’s video, attempted to limit the scope of his comments to the context of what’s being taught in schools.
He said he would fight for the rights of all citizens, including the LGBTQ community — saying they have a right to express themselves however they wish and that government shouldn’t have any role in telling them otherwise.
But he specifically took issue with children being taught "transgenderism" and being exposed to sexually explicit material in the classroom. He displayed "explicit" images from books he said are recommended for elementary students.
"Let me tell you plainly right here and right now: I will not back down," Robinson said. "I will not be silenced and I will not be bullied into submission. I will continue to fight for the rights of our children to receive an education that is free from sexual concepts that do not belong in the classroom."
GLAAD, a media monitoring organization for the LGBTQ community, says "transgenderism" is a problematic term that reduces those who are transgender to "a condition." GLAAD recommends using the term "being transgender" instead.
FOX Television Stations has reached out to Robinson’s office and Governor Roy Cooper’s office for comments.
Several political colleagues have called for Robinson’s resignation.
"There's no debate here. This is open discrimination. It is completely unacceptable," Sen. Jeff Jackson tweeted. "Mark Robinson should resign."
"I stand with the LGBTQ Community and hope you will join me in condemning this hate speech from the most senior Republican elected official in our state," Sen. Wiley Nickel tweeted
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, also called for his resignation.
"This is not the first time Robinson has shared his discriminatory views, but it should be the last time he gets away with it as an elected leader," the group posted in a statement. "North Carolinians deserve better than these dehumanizing comments."
Robinson was elected in 2020 to the state’s No. 2 executive position in his first run for elected office. He announced in April he will not seek the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in 2022.
The lieutenant governor’s term runs through 2024.
Robinson, a former factory worker who rose in prominence after appearing in a viral video about gun rights, has spent his early months as lieutenant governor speaking out against what he considers the political indoctrination of K-12 students by their teachers. His jobs include serving on the State Board of Education and presiding over state Senate floor sessions.
He has come under fire before regarding previous comments on opposing a statewide mask mandate, not believing former President Donald Trump sowed chaos in the country and publishing a barrage of divisive Facebook posts in recent years that are often critical of fellow Black people.
Robinson wrote in 2018 that "half of black Democrats don’t realize they are slaves and don’t know who their masters are. The other half don’t care."
In an interview, Robinson said he would have to go back through his litany of comments to see if there is a single one he would phrase differently. But he appears at ease with himself.
"If I wrote them back then, I’m not backing off of them now because that’s exactly what people want you to do," Robinson told The Associated Press in the days after the election. "They want you to go back and say, ‘Oh, I summarily reject that.’ No, I’m not summarily rejecting anything. It is an absolute travesty that with everything going on in this country and in this state right now that people are focusing on social media posts that were made two or three years ago. I think it’s an atrocious commentary on today’s media."
The Associated Press contributed to this story. This story was reported from Los Angeles.