Transparency & Accountability

6 Feb 2021

One of the priorities for my campaign is transparency & accountability. I think it’s a vital part of democracy that people are fully informed of events & context when it comes to their elected officials. Moreover, integrity is a principle I strive to live by, as it keeps me honest and helps me be a better person.

In December, I received notice of a complaint that was filed with an organization I am a member of against me. In the complaint, it listed two tweets from several years ago where I used a transphobic slur. I’m truly sorry for the harm it caused and have taken the posts down. They are not reflective of who I am today or the organizations and causes that I support. I’ve had a lot of growth as a person, husband, and comrade over the last several years and those that know me can attest to that. I want you to know that I want to make amends for it, and I welcome input and suggestions from you on whether my attempts at reconciliation listed below go far enough. I believe in direct democracy, and I think people that are invested should get a say in how things get run.

Author Julia Serano’s Thoughts about Transphobia, Terfs, and Tumfs identifies the term “trans-unaware” as a subsect of specific transphobic language & behavior, and I feel that it encapsulates the type of transphobia that occurred in those two tweets:

Trans-unaware individuals tend to be “passively transphobic” (e.g., only expressing such attitudes when they come across a trans person, or when the subject is raised), and may be open to relinquishing those attitudes upon learning more about transgender lives and issues.

Trans visibility is unfortunately still an issue in today’s society and was an issue for myself longer than I wish it had. Whether it was hearing the slur from Ru Paul on Drag Race or on popular programs like How I Met Your Mother, usage of that word was some of the only visibility I experienced within my cis-straight white male privileged bubble. That comfort insulated me from the pain I caused, and I hope that I can earn forgiveness & trust from those that it hurt.

Like many things, our awareness of something often coincides with direct contact, and I’m sad to say that the trans community was not visible for most of my life until friends I knew began coming out. I’m happier now that I’ve witnessed the beauty & joy of the liberation that comes with it.

I’m truly grateful for the loving and supportive trans people that I’ve met, worked with, performed with, and felt loved by over the years. It’s why I intentionally place trans issues into the discourse I have regarding the state of our city - being aware of the pain that the trans community faces pains me, particularly towards Black trans womxn. Over the years, I have given effort & money to trans causes because I believe in materially investing in communities that get pushed to the margins. I have offered those that have donated to my campaign so far the option for their donation to be given to trans organizations. I am also fundraising for House of Tulip for my birthday this month with the goal of raising $1000. They’re an amazing organization that addresses the intersection of TGNC justice, housing justice, racial justice, health justice, and promotes dual power in our community. Wow!

Another part of the complaint was an accusation of harassment and continued unwanted contact on Twitter. I deny these accusations as I have no recollection of what was described and I cannot find any evidence to suggest that it occurred. I have never met this person, and from what I can gather, I have not interacted with this person directly. They have asked that I do not attempt to contact them or have someone contact them on my behalf, and I will honor that request. Unfortunately, that rules out any ability for reconciling this grievance directly, so I hope that this letter and my commitments to the trans community and all people are enough to make amends & heal. I believe in restorative justice, and I want to grow more.

My campaign has community guidelines found here to ensure that no one, including myself, contributes to harassment, hate speech, and other inappropriate behavior. We’d love for you to be a part of the transformational change we want to bring to District A and our city to help increase trans visibility, center trans voices, and to have an advocate for the entire LGBTQ+ community on City Council.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read this, and if you have any questions, please reach out to me at Trans Lives Matter. You Matter. Love y’all.