Not Backing Down
Kansas City political candidate Justice Horn is currently on the home stretch of a Jackson County Legislature campaign that could make him the only out LGBTQ county official in the state, but the continued defacing of a campaign banner over the last few days has drawn his attention on the campaign trail.
Horn shared on Sunday that the banner, which featured a picture of Horn and the Progress Pride flag with the words “Equality,” “Accountability” and “Community,” was spraypainted with a homophobic slur. “I’ll admit, this one hurt,” Horn said in social media posts sharing images of the vandalism. “This word is used to harm us. Either way, I’m not going to back down and I’m going to hold my head high.”
Horn, a former NCAA wrestler, announced that he would hold a press conference to address the incident at the banner’s location on Tuesday, but those plans were scrapped Tuesday morning after Horn shared that the banner was cut down and stolen overnight Monday. “I had some prepared remarks, but I’m mad as hell and I’m not backing down,” Horn stated. “This isn’t Kansas City, and we’re going to prove whoever did this wrong!”
Horn stated he is “going through the process” of reporting the incident to the police and believes that it was a hate crime. “This person defaced this banner out of hate because of my sexual orientation,” Horn told Outsports.
The incident comes as Horn nears the end of a primary election in which he is running to represent the Jackson County Legislature’s 1st District, the county equivalent of a city council seat. According to the Kansas City Star, the district in which he seeks election covers downtown Kansas City and other portions of south and east Kansas City. The district, much like most of Kansas City, leans heavily Democratic.
While this is the first time Horn has run for political office, he has been a visible figure in Kansas City advocating on behalf of underrepresented citizens. He pushed to create Kansas City’s first LGBTQ+ commission in 2020 and worked with local organizations to support Black Lives Matter, the George Floyd protests and Black HIV/AIDS awareness.
On Monday, Horn participated in the “We Are Not Free Freedom March” in Kansas City and shared thanks to those who reached out to him with encouragement in the wake of Sunday’s events. “You all empowered me to get back in the fight with your comments, messages and support,” he said in via Instagram.
A Seat At The Table
The continued vandalization of his campaign banner has only galvanized him more in his political and community efforts. “This happened in midtown Kansas City, Missouri,” Horn said. “My first reaction is one of shock, anger and energy to prove whoever defaced the banner wrong. It’s lit a fire in me to ensure that our community finally has a seat at the table.”
Horn shared that he has received homophobic emails and multiple death threats previous to this week’s events. “It’s a big eye-opener to what it’s like running openly as a queer person,” he said. “This stuff is hard and we’re gonna face push back from folks who don’t change.”
“What bothers me the most is that it happened in broad daylight. They were so emboldened to do this,” Horn told the Kansas City Star. “It was specifically a defacing to attack me not based on my policy or my candidacy but on me personally. It was the same as calling me the N-word.”
Horn will continue his campaign ahead of the primary election on August 2.
Kansas City: Previously on Towleroad
Image via Justice Horn/Twitter