Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bigotry is alive and well and living in Virginia

Loudon County, Va. supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) may have given us a glimpse of things to come as an already homophobic/trans-phobic commonwealth ushers in an even more repressive era under the stewardship of Governor Bob McDonnell.
The Washington Post reported on Sunday:
Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene A. Delgaudio (R-Sterling), a longtime opponent of gay rights, is coming under increased criticism for recent comments viewed as homophobic and embarrassing to the community.

At a Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday, five of his board counterparts used personal time to chastise the Sterling supervisor for anti-gay comments. One member, Andrea McGimsey (D-Potomac), apologized that Delgaudio made some of the remarks from the board dais.

At a Jan. 6 meeting, supervisors voted to expand Loudoun's nondiscrimination policy to prohibit bias on the basis of sexual orientation in hiring by the county. Delgaudio fought the change in the meeting, saying he was especially offended by language in the measure that sought protection for transgendered people. In the debate, he called the board's attempt to protect transgendered people "freaky" and "bizarre." In a subsequent newsletter to supporters, Delgaudio wrote that "if a man dressed as a woman wants a job, you have to treat 'it' the same as a normal person."

Delgaudio's fellow supervisors quickly distanced themselves from his remarks and called on him to apologize.
From the Post article:
James Burton (I-Blue Ridge) said Delgaudio had "conducted himself in a manner best described in my opinion as histrionic, and his choice of words were and should have been an embarrassment to this board and to the county."

Burton challenged Delgaudio's use of the word "it" to describe transgendered people. "Regardless of how one may feel about the policy in question, there's no excuse for referring to fellow human beings as 'it,' " he said. The use of the word "it," he said, was "demeaning, insulting and dehumanizing."

Delgaudio's response to his critics was to read a revised and more blatant statement with the word "it" taken out. "With apologies to real-life Tootsies" and "to all their defenders who are calling me all sorts of names and, like Mr. Burton, are saying I should apologize." Delgaudio continued adding insult to injury in his response to Burton's remarks by saying his "strong words" were hyperbole, telling Burton, "Lady doth protest too much, Mr. Burton."

The Post article goes on to say that Delgaudio admitted he has an axe to grind with his fellow supervisors for their decision not to allow a nativity scene at the county courthouse. Delgaudio told the Post, "Why am I so animated? I am still angry, and I am still mad about them taking away the Nativity. They think they can get away with it. They are being held responsible by me."

I suspect that this is only the beginning. Conservatives in Virginia feel emboldened by the election of our new extreme right-wing governor Bob McDonnell. It is not a stretch to say that we can expect more of this from elected officials. It is encouraging, however, that Loudon County now includes trans people in it's nondiscrimination policy. Our straight allies on the Loudon County Board of Supervisors are to be applauded for walking the walk and standing up to this bigoted idiot.
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  1. In this struggle we must all be aware of injustices ...and these injustices need to loudly challenged and forced to concede to basic morality and equality for all. That there are still those in public office who will stand for what is right and just,even when pressured not to...is so critical to preserving our very strength to continue.

  2. Great article Steve and you are spot on!


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