Recording of controversial comments from Outagamie County Supervisor released
OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A First Alert exclusive: as Action 2 News obtains an audio recording of comments made by Outagamie County Supervisor Tim Hermes, which critics say are transphobic. As we’ve been reporting, Hermes spoke out during a May 9 meeting on the issue, sparking backlash and protesting.
Action 2 News wanted to know exactly what Supervisor Hermes said, so we filed an open records request.
Since the county doesn’t video record its meetings, there’s just an audio clip. However, it’s enough to allow you to hear his exact words.
The comments some are calling transphobic by Outagamie County Supervisor Tim Hermes came right after a general presentation, May 9, by the county’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion officer, Major Cooper.
Afterwards, supervisors were given a chance to ask questions, or make comments. From the audio we obtained, you can hear exactly what Hermes said, and how Cooper responded:
Hermes: “I know women had to fight for their own sports and their own bathrooms and the way I look at things is that you know you have any man that can decide he wants to be a woman, it’s kind of reverting a woman like a feeling like any grandmother, a mother, sister, daughter, any man can just be that…to me a man putting on a dress and putting on a woman’s face is the same as a blackface in the 1920s…Now, how do you justify that? if people do accept that, reverting a woman to a feeling that any man can be a woman. I just totally disagree with that.”
Cooper: “I think it’s really about showing everyone dignity and respect and so how a person identifies, we have to respect that.”
Hermes: “Don’t you think women have a right to their own bathrooms and not a man pretending to be a woman going into a bathroom. I mean that puts a lot of concerns for fathers who have a man in a dress with a woman’s face on but when they go in the bathroom by a little girl or trying to change in their dressing rooms I find that disgusting.”
Cooper: “I understand where you may have a fear of that or you may have feelings of disgust, and I acknowledge that but I also want to push back at you and say what happens then when it’s your daughter who grows older and says you know what, father I feel as if I may need to transition because now I feel and I want to identify as a male. You will want that same safe space for them as they travel and really try to just exist.”
Hermes: “I would have to go get counseling, is what I would do.”
Cooper: “And I definitely understand that I recognize that, and we will have more conversations around that because I think you have value, but I also want you to garner that respect.”
What was said sparked a protest at a county board meeting Tuesday night. We did reach out to Supervisor Hermes on Wednesday. Hermes did not respond to our request for comment, but previously said he has no issues with the trans community and has a right to free speech.
The next meeting is on June 13.
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