A person is always wise to remember that Instagram likes and comments are public. But a 79-year-old man who likes what he sees is not always disposed to restrain himself, and it looks as though Tennessee Lt. Governor Randy McNally is one such fellow.

As the Tennessee Holler first reported on Wednesday, McNally has for some time been a devoted fan of Franklyn McClur, a 20-year-old gay man who grew up in Knoxville and aspires to move to Los Angeles to make it in show business. McClur’s Instagram photos and captions are often suggestive in nature; he shows off his body, sometimes posing fully nude, and wears makeup. All pretty standard as far as the app goes. What’s unusual is that McNally has for months used his own verified account to unabashedly compliment McClur’s thirst traps — this while his state moves to criminalize drag shows and gender-affirming care for transgender children as part of the nationwide Republican push for laws targeting the LGBTQ community.

“Finn, you can turn a rainy day into rainbows and sunshine!” McNally wrote, using McClur’s nickname, on a January photo in which the younger man shows off his butt in tight-fitting underwear. In a follow-up comment, he appended heart and flame emojis. Elsewhere, McNally has complimented McClur’s skimpy outfits and told him, “You need to be on dancing with the stars.” On a nude photo which McClur captioned “I Love being naked.. the Garden of Eden, is My Vibe. I Understand God,” McNally replied, “Great picture, Finn! Best wishes for continued health and happiness.”

In some ways, it’s refreshing to see an elderly GOP politician and Catholic in a longstanding heterosexual marriage openly support a queer constituent. What’s more eyebrow-raising about the relationship is that McNally began messaging McClur in 2020, when the aspiring performer was just 17 years old. But McClur, for his part, is appreciative of the comments and doesn’t see them as deliberately flirtatious. He also confirmed that McNally has complimented him in private messages — though the two have never met. “I just thought he was older and out of touch,” he told the Tennessee Holler. “I’ve always taken it as a compliment. I don’t dislike him or think he’s a bad person, he’s one of the only people who has consistently uplifted me and made me feel good.”

That said, McClur does not support the anti-LGBTQ bills coming out of the state’s legislature and signed into law by Governor Bill Lee. As Lieutenant Governor, McNally has at times raised concerns about such measures — noting that backlash could hurt Tennessee businesses, for example. And of a proposal that would have prevented trans student athletes from competing among their own gender, he cautioned: “Whatever we do will probably be reviewed by the federal government and they can cut funding to the state. It’s an issue I think that we need to move very carefully.”

If McNally has not gone so far as to condemn these bills as hateful and discriminatory, he is nonetheless strongly advocating for his right to admire the body of a man nearly six decades his junior. In a statement to press, his communications director scoffed at attempts to “imply something sinister or inappropriate about a great-grandfather’s use of social media.”

“As anyone in Tennessee politics knows, Lt. Governor McNally is a prolific social media commenter,” the statement continued. “He takes great pains to view every post he can and frequently posts encouraging things to many of his followers. Does he always use the proper emoji at the proper time? Maybe not. But he enjoys interacting with constituents and Tennesseans of all religions, backgrounds and orientations on social media. He has no intention of stopping.”

While the stirring defense of being horny on main is appreciated, this might have been a missed opportunity for McNally to more forcefully criticize the wave of legislation poised to harm people like McClur and the trans individuals he also follows and engages with. Speaking of McNally’s affection toward him, McClur told the Daily Beast, “I hope he can extend that kindness by trying to make sure no bills are passed to hurt anyone like me.”


Really, it’s the least he can do after all the joy McClur has brought him.


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