Shelley Luther, in a file photo from April 2020 ( (LM Otero/Associated Press)

You remember Shelley Luther, right? She’s that hair salon owner who was too special to follow the same rules as all the rest of the hair salon owners and hairdressers in Dallas County back in March 2020 when County Judge Clay Jenkins issued an executive order closing those and other businesses in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19.

She is also the one who decided to try and cash in on her “fame” in right-wing circles by running in 2020 for the Texas House of Representatives in District 30. (She made it to a runoff against Drew Springer but ultimately missed out on the GOP nomination by a 13-point margin.)

Now Luther is running for the GOP nomination for Texas House of Representatives (again), this time in District 62 against incumbent Reggie Smith, and is targeting transgender youth in her campaign in an effort to rile up the right-wingers in her district.

Luther — who is a former school teacher as well salon owner, singer in a band and political candidate — spoke at a candidate forum in Bonham last weekend, telling her Republican audience that she is “not comfortable with the transgenders” and complaining about the fact that, as a teacher, she was not allowed to let other students laugh at and make fun of transgender students.

(Luther apparently spent 13 years teaching Spanish and coaching softball and volleyball in public schools. this Dallas Observer article from May 25, 2020, delves into her background, including her teaching experience, and details the hypocrisy of her insistence on re-opening her salon so that she could “feed her kids.”)

According to a Houston Chronicle article by Elizabeth Conley, Luther told the voters at the forum, “The kids that they brought in my classroom, when they said that this kid is transgendering into a different sex, that I couldn’t have kids laugh at them … like, other kids got in trouble for having transgender kids in my class.”

That’s one reason, Luther said, that she supports “school choice,” which really means to supports letting parents use money intended for public schools to put their kids in expensive private schools.

In an email to the Chronicle, Luther claimed that she “respected and supported all students in my classroom,” but that she had a hard time teaching because “the topic of gender transition became the top discussion every day in my classroom. When the center of focus becomes a student and not the actual lesson being taught, it is unfair to the other students. We should focus more on learning instead of arguing about which bathroom someone should use. Bullying is never acceptable and did not occur.”

Equality Texas CEO Ricardo Martinez issued a statement calling Luther’s comments for exactly what they were: “Lamenting not being able to allow students to laugh at, bully and harass transgender kids isn’t leadership, it’s cruelty plain and simple,” the Chronicle reported.

He added, “All children in Texas are guaranteed a public education under the constitution, deserve privacy and the ability to learn in a safe environment.”

Of course, “the transgenders” aren’t the only people with whom Luther is not comfortable. The Chronicle notes that last month, in a since-removed post, Luther tweeted that Chinese students should not be allowed to enroll in state universities. The tweet was deleted, the Chronicle notes, but her campaign website still declares that “we should not allow Chinese Nationals into our colleges where they can obtain classified information, steal technology, and essentially learn how to defeat the United States.”

— Tammye Nash