UPDATE: I have just learned that the Montgomery showerheads are continuing their disgusting attacks. Like Mr. Delgaudio, they are guilty of something akin to blood libel. Such people will be held accountable by history.
To the left is a handout that I created for members of the Board of Supervisors (click to view full size PDF). These images were provided to accompany my remarks during the February 1 public comment session (kindly delivered by my husband because I was en route to Richmond, but that’s another story). Those remarks are reproduced below.*
The context: If you have been following this issue, you know that two of our local supervisors, Mr. Delgaudio and Ms. Waters, adamantly opposed amending the county’s Equal Employment Opportunity statement to include the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and that one flash point for their opposition is the notion that “men in dresses” (which I assume is their ignorant and defamatory way of referring to transgender women) would suddenly be able to use women’s restrooms. Here is Lori Waters from the January 5 board meeting: “Would it mean men who dress as women [sic] going to ladies’ restrooms? It could. It could! I don’t know.“
As we know from other instances of bigots exploiting the fears of uninformed people, these sorts of campaigns always pretend that transgender men don’t exist. After all, the reality of the actual transgender community tends to undermine their carefully constructed fiction about “men in dresses” threatening the ladies in public washrooms. I asked this question of the bigots making these claims in Montgomery County a few years ago:
Are the perpetrators of these lies themselves so ignorant of transgender issues that they believe their own talking points – or, are they doing this with full knowledge of their deception? I’m sad to say that I think it’s the latter.
In the case of our local characters, I have to say I’m not so sure. Several independent reports from people in the board room that night suggest that Lori Waters didn’t understand that she was looking at pictures of transgender men. According to one of her colleagues, she wrinkled her brow in confusion as she looked through the photos, while murmuring “these are just men.”
Yes, exactly. That’s why you wouldn’t want them using the ladies’ room. The good news here is the possibility of education. People make mistakes because they don’t have all the information they need, or they haven’t thought about something in a way that wouldn’t occur to them without some help. I would never hold that kind of mistake against someone. It is not the same thing as intentionally bearing false witness.
* Chairman York, members of the Board, Mr. Hemstreet:
I have provided some photos for you. I hope you’ve had a chance to take a quick look at them, because a quick look is all that should be necessary.
I note with amusement that, if Mr. Delguadio and Ms. Waters had their way, based on their statements in this room a few weeks ago, these guys would all be required to use the ladies’ room in Loudoun County.
I don’t think that would make anyone happy.
I want to thank this board, first of all for doing the right thing with regard to the county’s Equal Employment Opportunity statement. In spite of what any of your detractors may think, it is important that prospective employees see in writing that Loudoun County is an inclusive, welcoming place to work and live.
And, I would note, having that statement in our written policy is even more important now, given unfortunate recent events that would give exactly the opposite impression.
I want even more to thank you for taking time in your personal board comments to draw a necessary line, and to affirm that some things are simply unacceptable.
Mr. Delgaudio: You do not speak about other people that way. Ever. But then to lie about it? Disgusting.
My husband is a second-generation Holocaust survivor, and when we see a sitting elected official state that some members of our community are less than human, we take that very seriously. It means the world to me personally that you understood the meaning of this and are taking it seriously too.
So, thank you. I hope, having said that, that you can now move on, continue doing the county’s business, and deny Mr. Delgaudio any further platform from which to line his pockets at the expense of some of our most vulnerable citizens.
Thank you very much for listening.