Peter Boykin, the founder of the right-wing activist group “Gays for Trump” who is running for the North Carolina House of Representatives, believes transgender troops “would be our weakest link.”
Speaking to The Daily Beast, Boykin said he believed that transgender soldiers are “mentally challenged” and too expensive for the military.
“As long as there are troops and veterans out there who are not getting the care that they should… I couldn’t care less about transgender [people] getting an elective surgery,” Boykin said.
“People already have enough problems with PTSD, I don’t think it’s a good idea to give someone going through that type of change a weapon. They might snap and turn it on their fellow soldiers.”
Last July, Trump tweeted that transgender soldiers were to be banned from the military. The next month, he signed a presidential memo that prohibited trans troops from enlisting. A preliminary injunction against the ban was made in November. It is believed Jim Mattis, Defense Secretary, has recommended to Trump that trans recruits be allowed to serve. A few weeks ago, the first openly trans recruit signed up to the military.
Boykin told The Daily Beast that Trump’s proposed ban was not discriminatory but supportive of the military.
“It’s a business move, not a transphobic move,” Boykin said. “This is a president that is probably still friends with Caitlyn Jenner.”
Boykin has filed to run for a seat in Guilford County’s 58th district.
He is running against Democratic candidate Amos Quick, who ran uncontested two years ago in the left-leaning district of Greensboro, North Carolina. Boykin is urging for a crackdown on illegal immigration, a protection of religious liberty, and authorized gun safety plans for schools and churches.
In his Daily Beast interview, Boykin defended President Trump’s much-criticized LGBT record.
“He is not against the gays at all. He is for all Americans and protecting all Americans,” Boykin said. “Donald Trump has always been pro-LGBT. He owned pageants, hotels, he works with gay people.”
A spokesperson for Boykin’s camp dismissed any suggestion that President Trump's administration was not pro-LGBT.
“Seriously, our president should not be making a determination whether or not a cake shop should or should not make a cake for somebody,” said Victoria Colvin, a communications advisor for Boykin’s campaign. “He should be worried if we are going to get into a war with Korea.”
On matters such as Trump administration's firing of the remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and its rescinding of protections for trans students, Colvin said that the news media is “misconstruing the information.” She added that, “He's got nothing but opposition from people who were working under Obama."
Boykin also revealed to The Daily Beast that he had been a cam-model for the defunct porn site “Pete’s Young and Wild Adventures in a Gay Wonderland.” The then 23-year-old with bleached blond hair masturbated in front of his webcam for the Men with Cams Voyeur Club, a member-exclusive porn service that charged $29.95 per month.
According to web archives of the site, Boykin sold autographed underwear as well as his personal sex toy. An American flag hangs in the background of one of his webcam shows.
Boykin, now 40, said he is not “ashamed” of his ex-porn past.
“This is not something I would do today,” said Boykin. “If people are going to hold on to something I did from 20 years ago, so be it. But really, people change.”
“After my family saw it I felt a little more embarrassed of doing something like that,” Boykin said. “It’s part of a lot of people’s past. A lot of good people.”
Boykin later told The Daily Beast in a written message: “It was just a personal webcam. I was not a porn star or porn actor. It was a protected site; part of a network of sites and people paid a membership to access the sites. If they purchased through my website I got a signup fee. I didn't have a brand. I was just a guy with a webcam.”
Viewers were also allowed to access his personal profile, “Pete’s Wonder Page,” which showcased the Trump-supporting candidate’s political views at the time.
“I am a born Republican. But, I am placed somewhere in between where a Democrat ends and a Republican begins. I am where the Republican begins on that scale. I am Conservative, yet at times I am a liberal thinker,” Boykin wrote in the early 2000s. “I do not believe though in the idea of 'Pro-Choice,'...there are thousands of people out there who would gladly pay for a baby, and dearly wish to adopt one. These people can pay for the mother’s expenses, and in return adopt the unwanted baby.”
The Associated Press reported in 2001 that Boykin had created the site, and used the town’s slogan “Danville Can” on the site’s homepage.
“I trolled the whole city,” Boykin told The Daily Beast. “I thought it was a big joke that they considered ‘Danville Can’ as a slogan.”
He added that the town’s lack of job reform sparked his interest in building the site, “They weren’t bringing in new business or opportunity,” Boykin said.
“Back then I was one of those degenerates. I was a liberal gay,” Boykin, who received a sign-up fee for viewers who joined the club through his site, told The Daily Beast. “There was a lot of controversy around it and then I got away from it because I became more conservative and less out there.”
Boykin has not met President Trump. Two years ago, Boykin posted a photo-op with Attorney General Jeff Sessions. After a rally, he says Vice President Mike Pence signed his “Gays for Trump” hat. In 2016, ex-U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn retweeted in support of the organization.
Boykin is a fan of Pence, a long-time opponent of LGBT equality. According to archives of Pence’s 2000 Congressional Campaign site, he requested an audit of organizations that support the Ryan White Care Act, a federal program for people living with HIV. Pence stated, “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
As the former governor of Indiana, Pence signed a religious freedom law. He also opposed Obama’s repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Policy.
In 2010, he told CNN that he did not want the military to become “a backdrop for social experimentation” or “debating domestic policy issues,” according to a news transcript.
In February, gay Olympian Adam Rippon blasted Pence for his anti-LGBT record. Rippon initially declined a meeting with the vice president because of his alleged support of conversion therapy. (Pence’s spokesperson recently denied that he supports conversion therapy.)
In an interview with CNN Wednesday, Rippon agreed to a sit-down conversation with Pence.
“When it comes down to the liberal gays, if you’re not kissing their butts every single day then you are homophobic,” Boykin said. “Who is to say what Mike Pence’s view is now compared to what they were?”
“If anything, he’s like a lot of people,” Boykin added. “Let’s say he was [anti-LGBT] back then, but so was Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. They all did not like gay marriage.”
Raised in a Roman Catholic household, Boykin is a native of Danville. As a child, Boykin was attracted to Michael Jackson, after he saw the pop-icon pictured with a tiger cub on the cover of the 1982 multi-platinum Thriller album.
“I always thought I was a little different,” Boykin said. “I never felt the attraction [to women]. I’d thought it would come eventually.”
While in college, Boykin majored in Information Technology. He later became a reality-TV contestant on the mock Apprentice-styled show, Entrepreneurs, which aired on a southern Fox Affiliate, according to web archives.
For nearly two years, Boykin and his husband David Smith have lived in Greensboro, North Carolina, one of North Carolina’s leading LGBT-inclusive districts, according to 2017 data by the Human Rights Campaign.
Boykin claims that his campaign is not for attention, but to increase voting among residents.
“I did not want the Democrats to win by default,” said Boykin, whose organization, Gays for Trump has nearly 2,000 members across the U.S. “I wanted to give them a run for their money.”
The president of Log Cabin Republicans, Gregory T. Angelo, declined to comment on Boykin’s campaign. Representatives for the county’s Republican party did not immediately return requests for comment.
In a message via Twitter to The Daily Beast, Boykin said remapping might favor his campaign.
“The districts have all changed,” Boykin said. “So, hard to say now if its heavy Democratic anymore.”
Justin Levitt, a redistricting expert from the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles said the district’s history counters these claims.
“In 2011, it was reliably Democratic. Between 72 to 80 percent Democratic, depending on the particular race,” said Levitt in an email to The Daily Beast. “I’d estimate that the district was fairly reliably Democratic in 2011, and is still reliably Democratic in its new configuration.”
Chairperson of the Guilford County Democratic Party, Nicole Quick, said Boykin has “little chance” of winning the 2018 election.
“Even with a strong Republican candidate the odds of him winning that district would not be great,” said Quick in a phone interview with The Daily Beast.
Quick said Boykin’s platform was controversial.
“It’s an oxymoron because Trump is certainly not for gays,” Quick said. “He has come out to support Trump’s ban of trans folks in the military. That is not going to gain support in this district.”
“I’m not going to count anyone out,” she added. “We made that mistake when Trump ran.”
For years, Boykin was a registered Democrat and created grassroots sites like Clintons4McCain and MissHillaryClinton, which supported their 2008 presidential campaigns. A year later, Boykin took a hiatus from politics and became an independent. In 2012, he changed his political affiliation to Republican.
As a conservative, Boykin said that he often finds himself in a “Catch-22” because his views are often at a variance with many LGBT people and organizations.
But, according to the Trump-supporting candidate, “In order for us to be properly represented on both sides we need gay people on all sides. You shouldn’t be able to figure out [someone’s] political stance because they happen to be gay.”