Public Comment: Khanna is turning his back on the LGBTQ+ community

Ro Khanna Is Rejecting a LGBTQ+ ‘Purity Test’ by Endorsing Fremont City Council Candidate Yang Shao

By Glen Shaffer

Ro Khanna, the freshman congressmember from California’s 17th district, recently created a national outrage on the left when he endorsed Rep. Joe Crowley (NY-14) over fellow Justice Democrat candidate, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  For almost a week he ignored the cries of his progressive twitter followers. Eventually his endorsement caught the eye of some of the very progressive pundits that have supported and promoted him over the last year and a half. With pressure mounting, Khanna relented by declaring a “dual-endorsement.”

Khanna spent the next few days doing interviews to explain his reasoning and apologizing on twitter to national figures like Susan Sarandon. He also claimed that dual-endorsements were “common in California,” despite the fact that the last Californian to dual-endorse, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom was widely mocked and ridiculed last year for his dual-endorsement for the state Democratic Party chair.

More significant to local voters was Khanna’s endorsement of Fremont Unified School District board president Yang Shao, who is running for the Fremont City Council this fall. Teachers recently complained about overtly hostile treatment by Shao, even organizing a protest to be held at his campaign kickoff. But after Shao’s recent transphobic comments during a heated sex education debate, some in the LGBTQ+ community wondered why an ally would support somebody with an anti-LGBTQ+ history. Shao had previously voiced support for California’s Proposition 8, the now overturned constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Shao Yang
Fremont school board president Yang Shao during a meeting earlier this year.

Constituents have begun to question Khanna about the endorsement on social media and at town hall events. At Khanna’s June 2 Congressional Town Hall, a teacher brought up Shao and his troubling stances. Khanna rightfully explained it was not an issue related to his congressional duties and therefore not proper for him to directly comment on at a tax-payer funded event. But then, in what could be a violation of the very house ethics rule he just cited, Khanna offered the school board president and candidate Shao time to rebut the constituent.

During an Empathy Alliance roundtable on July 1 frustrated LGBTQ+ community members questioned Khanna. The discussion became heated when Stefan Wooding, a 22-year-old Fremont resident, confronted Khanna.  Stefan and others wanted to know how they could trust Khanna as an ally when “as an elected official you lend your political weight to someone whose actions are hostile to us?” Not addressing the Shao endorsement he attempted to turn the conversation to his own voting record, “I have the most progressive voting record, if having the most progressive record isn’t enough for you…” But Stefan continued to pressure Khanna to address the Shao endorsement when, according to another attendee, Khanna lost his composure, blurting out, “Well, if you’re going to use ideological purity tests…” before stopping himself mid-sentence.

Khanna tried to soothe the crowd by claiming to have privately “questioned [Shao] thoroughly” and trusted his views had changed. Neither Stefan nor other attendees had as much confidence since Shao made the transphobic comments within the last three months.

Stefan told me they were very frustrated when Khanna insisted “politics requires working across the aisle.” As Stefan pointed out, Khanna is not likely “to be working with Shao” since Shao is running for City Council and “endorsements are voluntary.”

When Khanna tried to point to Shao’s apology after his recent derogatory comments during a school board meeting, Stefan and others made it clear they were not ready to trust nor accept Shao’s “non-apology.”

“Many thanks to Congressman Ro Khanna for bringing to my attention today that some felt hurt by my comments on the curriculum during the board deliberation. I am sorry they felt that way,” Shao said in a Facebook posting on May 3. “As I said in the beginning and at the end of the board meeting yesterday/early this morning, let’s put aside our differences, focus on our common ground.”

It does not appear Khanna was convinced to retract his endorsement of Shao. Their relationship goes back at least a few years, Shao endorsed Khanna during the previous election. They appeared together on Chinese-language TV. Both were endorsed by the extremist group, Silicon Valley Chinese Association. SVCA once used holocaust imagery and language to stokes fears over East Bay Assemblymember, Rob Bonta’s AHEAD Act (AB-1726). The AHEAD Act would have helped institutions better understand and serve the health and educational needs of California’s large and diverse Asian-American community by disaggregating data already collected. SVCA endorsed Khanna after he came out against the AHEAD act and SCA5 (affirmative action).

Khanna AB1726
Ro Khanna using his fingers to cover the word “racist” during Silicon Valley Chinese Association event in 2016 to oppose Assemblymember Rob Bonta’s AHEAD Act legislation. PHOTO/@LilyLDing on Twitter.


This is not the first time Khanna was reluctant to relinquish the support of somebody anti-LGBTQ+. When one-term Republican congressmember and sexual harasser Ernie Konnyu went on a homophobic tirade against the local Chamber of Commerce over their endorsement of the openly-gay Evan Low for state assembly, it took over a week of pressure before Khanna even addressed the issue. Even after Khanna denounced the tirade many were left questioning why he still refused to remove Konnyu from his list of endorsees.

Adding to the history of Khanna’s tolerance for the intolerant, Khanna invited pastors Dick Bernal of Jubilee Christian Center and Jack Trieber of North Valley Baptist Church to his first congressional prayer breakfast. Bernal had put all weddings on hold after the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, fearing he would be forced to perform same-sex weddings. Both churches have a long record of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric. And just a few weeks ago Khanna sponsored Jack Trieber of North Valley Baptist to perform the daily prayer to open congress.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Glen Shaffer is a San Jose resident and long-time citizen blogger on Daily Kos. He may be better known by on the Twittersphere as @GlenThePlumber. As his Twitter handle suggests, he is a plumber by day and progressive activist by night.

12 thoughts on “Public Comment: Khanna is turning his back on the LGBTQ+ community

  1. It seems the author defines anyone who does not want their kids to learn oral sex,anal sex in kindergarten and elementary school as extremist. I am afaid there will be way too many exetremists in the USA by this definition. This is not true actually. It is possible the author is an extremist if he indeed thinks so.


  2. I forgot my most important theme. There are too many damn people in the world.

    In 1800, there were 1 billion people on the planet. Now we are racing past 7 billion.

    The laws of physics and nature make this a hopeless situation. More so, with the Muslims in the Middle East, marrying their cousins and lowering their I.Q.s.

    In my view, the very first global issue is POPULATION stabilization. ALL the other issues flow from that.
    The right to have a decent life, surrounded by a decent number of human beings who can take care of themselves!

    Do we agree on that?


  3. Thanks for your reply. I enjoy this dialogue.

    1) There are extreme, barbaric, inhumane differences in cultures. We cannot ignore them and normalize them. The Founder Fathers (and Mothers) were very clear, that we are not all the same, and we want to be left to ourselves. We really disagree on this point.
    2) Struggle for basic justice…agree.
    3) Basic human rights are universal. Agree…but you are telling that to the wrong person. Much of the Muslim and African world disagrees with you. Rights…don’t even go as far as women in their own families.
    4) Eat! You are brilliant.
    5) Income…yes…as you say. Free lunch, no. The free lunchers’ (moochers) will destroy those who are productive. Read. Ayn Rand. Take a basic economics course.
    6) You obviously don’t understand what a “right” is. Entrepreneurs don’t think about the “work week.”
    7) Technology: We sort of agree. But I don’t see a “basic income” as any solution. It is also true that Technology has created most of the new jobs. It is just that they are all “thinking” jobs…and most of the non-western world with an less than 85 I.Q.s cannot possibly cope or be productive in those environments. Sorry.
    8) Facts and science. Absolutely.
    9) People who threaten our capitalist and democratic institutions deserve to be criticized. 1/3 of the population are socialist, and are dangerous. They forgot all the lesson of WWII.
    10) Politicians do lie.
    11) Democracy is the worst form of government…except for all the others….Winston Churchill.
    12) Agree. Between Cable News, Twitter and Facebook, the campaigns never stop. That is not good for society.

    So, what is your point, wise one?

    My point is that conservative principles are compassionate and timeless. Most of the rest of the ideologies are self-serving b.s. to the people in power. Democratic Capitalism is another version of the same, old, failed song.

    Awaken!…my friend.


  4. Ron,

    Some thoughts for you.

    1. We are all human. Our differences are superficial
    2. The struggle for basic justice is never finished.
    3. Basic human rights are universal.
    4. All human beings need to eat.
    5. A basic goal is income which provides dignity, structure, sense of place & and purpose.
    6. A work week, training & entrepreneurship are fundamental basic human rights.
    7. The greatest threat to the world is technology which removes jobs from so many.
    8. Believe in facts and science. People make up stuff all the time.
    9. People continue to evaluate themselves while putting someone else down.
    10. Politicians lie.
    11. Democracy works. Top down leadership and decision making that is non-democratic will result in the disparity of wealth and power that creates discrimination, hate & revolution. The 20th century has shown that so well.
    12. Democracy is messy. Both the majority and the minority need to compromise. Otherwise you will have what we see today which is a recession to the past.


  5. So, you say about 8% are homosexuals, but don’t identify as such? You realize that means if about 4% do identify, but 12% really are, the statistic I cite is off by 300%. Are you considering every boy and girl who had an encounter with someone of the same sex as an unidentified homosexual? Not possible. Hogwash. Try again. Wikipedia is very well edited by the public, constantly.

    The “Silent Majority” is as big today as in Nixon’s time. Nixon and Agnew had nothing to do with it. It is an objective political reality. Many, many Trump supporters will not talk about it, because of a real fear of violence against them…which is why Hillary got blind-sided, and lost the election.

    I do want to make a correction. Seems Mr. Shao is leaving the School Board to run for Fremont City Council. So he is leaving the School Board. You win!…but your side wants to avoid him even running for City Council? That’s shameful, and un-American.

    President Trump will end up with his face on Mt. Rushmore. Smart (D)s, long ago figured out the whole Russia, Russia, Russia thing is a smoke-screen to give a reason why, Secretary Clinton, whom even I say, should have won, could not pull it off…even with all her “Deep State” friends pulling strings for her.

    To cut through this nonsense, I’ll just say, I sleep very well at night, knowing that Mr. Putin, who could launch missiles that will work, and will hit their targets in 20 minutes, may have a reasonable personal and working relationship with Mr. Trump. THAT is how you avoid massive death and destruction. You have to work with bad people in this world. But, the (D)s are obsessed in making Mr. Putin a fall guy for the failures of the (D) party to maintain power. Again, even the reasonable (D)s I know “get it.” They are tired of it. (D) party polls are saying the same. Careful!

    President Obama was a pansy (and I do mean that, precisely) who told Dmitry Medvedev that he, Obama, could be more flexible with Putin in his second term. Talk about being a Putin tool! You guys got this all wrong. Mr. Putin figured out Obama in 5 minutes…and his entire fake persona, which we’ve talked about in your posts on Mr. Bonta. So, Obama went to talk to, perhaps the second most powerful person in the work, knowing, Putin knew, Obama’s religion was not Christian; his sexuality was not “straight;” his wife was not female, and his children were borrowed from his best friend, and his Social Security Number won’t pass E-Verify. You think for a moment Russian Intelligence did not figure all that out? Your side is so far in a rabbit hole of lies, you can’t even see the Sun.

    But your side in triggered by some email hacks and mean twitter and facebook ads by the Russians.
    OK…you run with that.

    Run on that again. (D)s are all in some kind of Stockholm Syndrome with Hillary and President Obama. Enjoy the delusion.

    The adults in the room, need to move forward and run the objective world.


  6. Ron, thanks for the response. Your stats cover those who identify as LGBTQ, not who are actually homosexuals. The issue is intolerance, which many practice,.

    Objective Reality is a nice term. Your stats are fine but do not address the fact that homosexuality occurs in about 12% of the population, but 8% do not identify as LGBTQ. Not my goal to educate or call out the stats, other than to point out that your stats from Wikipedia do not address my statements.

    Your comments about Christians not saying to have their children exposed to real life is ok by me. I think it is great that many choose to home or charter school their kids. I do not support taxpayer funds to schools that are private. But, I concede that is the current law.

    The Federal issue has to do with protection, public funding and the like. I agree with you that Democracy is of paramount priority. The District is not yours, it is ours. You do not represent anyone, yet. When elected and appointed, that responsibility will devolve to you.

    The point of this was that Ro Khanna and his keepers should have stayed out of local issues like the school board and Yang Shao. The Silent Majority is from the Sixties and Seventies, the time of Nixon and Agnes. Both disgraced and one placed in jail. Both are dead and Republicans.

    Next you will talk about Trump, Putin and why Americans should trust Russians to tell the truth. Trump is an embarrassment to us all.


  7. Themordha:

    Sorry, this is long. I got triggered.

    As I remembered: LBGT+ is 3.8% of the U.S. population. Granted, it is 15% in San Francisco, but you don’t set federal laws and regulations based on a special case. It appears to be 5% of the CD#17 area (San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara.)

    Now that we have the facts right, you can stop talking about hate, intolerance and genocide, OK?

    Next, there is no hate in anything I write. There is objective reality.

    So, there is a large % of Asian, Christian parents (or many other groups…you pick), in my Congressional District, who have an issue with discussions of LGBT+ sexual practices in sex education in their schools. Do they have any rights in what their children are exposed to in taxpayer funded schools, in often mandatory classes? Have they no right to be just as passionate in their beliefs as you are?…or as we see over and over again…people on the Left say they believe in “free speech,” unless it is contrary to their own…and then they try to shut it down as “hate speech”…precisely contrary to our Constitution. At least you, in your last comment, allowed me my opinions, “no matter how hateful and ignorant they are.” Thank you. You are mistaken, but thanks anyway.

    Is this a federal issue? No. It is a local school board issue. Ro’s error was to give ANY endorsement…in an effort to share his political love with everyone in the district.
    It is only an issue for a Member of Congress to discuss, because the Left views the Federal Government as their ultimate Mommy, so Ro, as a Democrat, is the Nanny State’s representative.

    Further, don’t worry…many parents I talked to have already left this broken system and gone to moral private schools and home schooling, outraged that we are even having a serious discussion about anal sex as school curriculum, being PUSHED by virtue-signalling teachers and school administrators, and the gender-melting State of California Department of Education.

    Regarding Mr. Shao, YOU HAVE A LEGAL REMEDY. Vote him out, if you like. Use your legal remedy. But, could it be, could it possibly be, that Mr. Shao might reflect the concerns and thoughts of his community? If that is remotely possible, your side just got out-voted. Sorry. That happens in a Democratic Republic. If Mr. Shao can win, then, that’s it.

    Taking it a step further, it you think Mr. Shao has broken a law (Federal or State) call the ACLU (or your California Attorney General Xaiver Bacerra) and file a suit, and take action! That, again, is how our system works. I’d support your side 100% for exercising their legal rights in court! But, he didn’t [break any laws]. So you can’t and won’t. Sorry. He gets to represent his supporters, even if you don’t like their views.

    Also, keep in mind, most conservatives, even moderate (D) and (NPP) voters, don’t demonstrate and don’t write on websites, or in tweets, about how they feel regarding political issues. I can tell you from private discussions with voters, your whole approach here is way out of touch with the “Silent Majority.”

    You are absolutely correct, my crowd of White, middle-aged voters are “not in-charge.” But that is exactly why Mr. Stef (tweet above) will continue to lose on this issue. The young Asian and Indians and Muslims, AND EVEN MOST BLACKS AN LATINO parents really dislike this issue, so it won’t be my vote that causes your side to lose. It really does not matter what I think.

    I also agree with you that Homosexuality, etc. is “natural.” I’ve worked with many such people and there is no doubt. There is also no doubt, that some significant percentage float in and out of various types of sexuality over time, and try many things. Some transsexuals settle back into their biological sex as they age, and many others don’t. All good with me. Some of the surgeries I find reckless, but that is my problem. Caitlin Jenner was a man, now a woman, and has made comments that it is not working for her, and may become a man again. God Bless, her. It matters not, to me!

    Ro is very wise here. I would not have gotten involved at all in a School Board issue. Ro knows were the Silent Majority is on this issue. So, keep screaming on Twitter and Facebook. You are scaring the moderates and conservatives to side with Ro and, some will vote for me!

    More pragmatically, if you don’t side with Ro, who, every other day lends some support to the LBGT+ community, as did Mr. Honda before him, what the heck will your side do? Vote for me, a (R)? Nope.

    So, you are left to trying to shame Ro into a “Purity Test.”

    Sounds good to me. I love it when (D)s start shaming each other…when I’m way, way on the other side of the issue. By the way, for the reasons I stated above, shaming Ro WILL NOT work. Ro will just smile and disagree. He won the Primary with 62%, and he should pick-up a higher % with two other (D)s out of the race in November. …so, the harsh reality is that he doesn’t need to care what you may think when it is extreme…more so, when it is emotional and intellectually dishonest. Further, with no disrespect to your passion, there are a LOT of other issues that are way more important. But, shame all you want!

    Just to be clear, again: We all want to see the LGBT+ community live in safety, security, dignity and prosperity. In my view…THEY ARE ACCEPTED MORE THAN ENOUGH…just like anyone else. If fact, under the law, they are a “special class” with lots of additional protections.

    You have to now sit with your friends and try to come up with a better argument than “hate.” It is intellectually dishonest, and worse, politically, “that dog won’t hunt.”

    Ron Cohen For Congress 2018


  8. Ron, the LGBTQ community is at least 12% of the population. Short of genocide not much you can do about that. It is as natural as can be. The hate and intolerance is what this is all about. It really is time for the haters to learn and either stop the hating and accept the humanity of it. That is what the community is shoving down your throat, as well as all the other haters out there. You may not like it, but you are no longer in charge. The law of the land is gender equality. You can say what you like but the times have changed and you as well as Yung Shao need to quit hating and discriminating. There is no place for your kind here.

    Remember that as you sling more hate. No room for your poor math. 12% is not 3%. No doubt you will come up with something contradicting this, but the science and facts are incontrovertible. Of course you are entitled to your opinions, no matter how hateful and ignorant they are.


  9. Unbelieveable. The suggestion that Mr. Khanna
    is not progressive enough, is a reflection of all the emotion, and zero logic. What more rights and support does the LGBQ+ community seek? Stop shoving your culture war down the throat of the remaining 97% of the population!
    I wish everyone, peace and prosperity. I actually have sympathy for Ro on this School Board issue…that is demanding of him a “purity” test. On the Democratic Socialist movement, you have all gone looney tunes and missed your high school civics class.


  10. This Ro Khanna at his best. He is not a Progressive. He is not really much of a Democrat either. He is a politician who is still learning how to be all things to all people. Right now he is trying hard to support folks who are running for office, Shao is no friend of LGBTQ folks. He is still working on appealing to single issue voters while still getting reelected. Fremont is a diverse community, with all kinds of folks. The traditional Republican base, Chinese, Afgan, Sikh, Indian, Pakistani, Mexican, Guatemalan, Belizian, Salvadoran, Nicaraguan, Costa Rican, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Chilean, Panamanian, Fijian, Samoan, Tongan and African-American groups as well as the Tradional Democratic Party stalwarts are all morphing along single issue. Myanmar’s staff continues to provide poorly vetted choices.,


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