For state Rep. Joe Alexander (R-Goffstown), the attacks are nothing new.

As an openly gay Republican lawmaker, he’s used to being criticized by Democrats, who’ve’ repeatedly smeared him as a “token” during political debates.

“They’re so triggered,” Alexander told NHJournal. “They think they own the LGBTQ issue.”

The latest example occurred when he recently testified in favor of a bill that would make students in marginalized groups eligible to access New Hampshire’s popular Education Freedom Accounts, a program that funds school choice options.

Alexander used his experience as a young gay man in high school to make the case that giving students the ability to choose another school can mean allowing LGBT students like him to find a more welcoming environment.

“It’s amazing to me that the party that claims to be in favor of LGBTQ+ rights completely failed to stand up and provide more educational opportunities to that same group of students who may be struggling in their current school,” Alexander said in a statement after the bill narrowly failed.

Rather than embrace a bill that extended EFA funding to minority, disadvantaged, and other groups, Democrats mocked the legislation and dismissed Alexander’s’ testimony.

“Honestly, it’s a slap in the face to have my colleagues vote against LGBTQ+ rights in every session this year and then dare to use our community as a reason to support their unchecked voucher spending,” said progressive Rep. Alissandra Murray (D-Manchester), who identifies as transgender and nonbinary, on social media.

Joseph Skehan, student body president at the University of New Hampshire and a Democratic activist, took to X to dismiss Alexander as “a token gay.”

Murray also claimed Alexander had no right to “claim to care about LGBTQ+ rights,” despite the fact that he’s’ gay.

“Disgusting statement from the people who cheered as they stripped away trans nondiscrimination protections last session,” Murray added. “You don’t get to claim to care about LGBTQ+ rights – your party doxxed a trans-student-athlete and has been harassing them all week.”

The athlete in question is a biological male who attends Kearsarge Regional High School and last week placed first in a state girls high-jump competition — despite what would have been a losing performance if he had competed against his fellow males.

Alexander said, despite the slurs, he’s not about to change the way he votes.

“I had one Democrat colleague, who I won’t name, ask me, ‘So how does it feel to hurt your community?’” he said, referencing his vote last month in favor of legislation that would bar sex-change operations for minor children. “It’s not all cut and dry. The Democrats just assume all gays automatically support children transitioning, and when we don’t, they’re shocked.”

New Hampshire Democrats have been using the “token” slur against Republicans for years.

In 2020, Ryan Terrell, who is Black, was tapped by Gov. Chris Sununu to serve on the Board of Education. Democratic Executive Councilor Progressive Democrat Andru Volinsky, who served as an executive councilor at the time, described the choice of Terrell as “demeaning” and “tokenism.” Volinsky tried, but failed, to block Terrell’s’ appointment.

“The comment about ‘tokenism’ was alarming to me because, in the conversations leading up to my nomination, race was never a part of it in the slightest,” Terrell told NHJournal at the time. “It was all about my diversity of experience and diversity of thought.”

Former state Rep. Victoria Sullivan, a Manchester Republican, pushed back on social media against the “tokenism” talk from Democrats, calling it “disgusting.”

“They did this to Eddie Edwards and others, and it sickens me,” she added.

Edwards, a former South Hampton police chief, was another Black nominee selected by Sununu and opposed by Democrats on the state’s’ Executive Council. Edwards withdrew his nomination as executive director of the Office of Professional Licensure and Certification after being unable to get a hearing before the Council for more than 100 days due to opposition led by Volinsky.

“Black people, like me, who have chosen to walk in the valley of conservative personal beliefs are frequently attacked, marginalized and devalued as “Tokens, Coons, Oreos, Uncle Toms and Sellouts,’”’” Edwards wrote in a letter to Sununu. “I have personally been singled out as ‘not one of our Blacks.’”

Alexander is not the only gay Republican elected official to incur the wrath of Democrats. A year ago, then-New Hampshire Democratic Party communications director Colin Booth went on X/Twitter to smear openly gay Republican Rep. Tim Baxter (R-Seabrook) as a homophobe. Booth called him an “anti-LGBTQ, Christian nationalist nut job.”

When his spokesperson was confronted over his offensive comments, state Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley, who is also gay, sided with Booth.

“Unlike Colin, I don’t think you’re a bigot if you don’t subscribe to far-left propaganda on LGBT issues,” Baxter told NHJournal at the time. “It is sad that I don’t see tolerance and respect for people of differing beliefs from Colin, Ray [Buckley], and the entirety of the NHDP.

“Thankfully, I do see it from the Republican Party and the vast majority of the American people.”

Alexander made a similar point.

“Being gay to Democrats is no longer enough anymore,” he said. “You have to now support all this other stuff you may not necessarily agree with, and if you’re not on board, they’re outraged.”