Virginia Senate goes into recess twice after Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears ‘misgenders’ transgender senator, who stormed away

News & Politics

Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears was accused of misgendering a transgender senator, and the state Senate had to go into recess as a result of the incident.

Earle-Sears was debating with state senator Danica Roem when she referred to the transgender politician as “sir.”

Roem stomped out of the Senate chamber, and Democrats demanded Earle-Sears apologize. They forced the Senate into recess twice.

Earle-Sears then responded to the incident with a statement that included an apology.

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“I upset Senator Roem. I am not here to upset anyone!” she said.

“I am here to do the job that the people of Virginia have called me to do, and that is to treat everyone with respect and dignity. I myself have at times not been afforded that same respect and dignity. But in this body, and as long as I am president of the senate, and by the grace of God, I will be treated with respect and dignity, and I will treat everyone else with respect and dignity,” Earle-Sears continued.

“We are all equal under the law,” she added. “And so I apologize, I apologize, I apologize, and I would hope, I would hope, that everyone would understand there is no intent to offend but that we would also give each other the ability to forgive each other.”

Roem was the first openly transgender lawmaker in Virginia and was first elected to the legislature as a delegate in 2017.

LaTwyla Matthias, the executive director of Progress VA, released a statement condemning Earle-Sears.

“Senator Danica Roem was gracious in the face of the Lieutenant Governor’s disrespect, but the fact is that she shouldn’t have to deal with that nonsense in her workplace,” said Matthias.

“We support Senator Roem and every other LGBTQ+ community member who has to face this kind of unprofessional conduct from people in power,” she added. “Winsome Sears’s tired old bigotry is a relic of a previous age, and we applaud Senator Roem and other progressive voices in the General Assembly for their continued work to move our Commonwealth forward.”

Earle-Sears previously made headlines when she objected to the demand that a murderer not be misgendered.

“Hang on, you know what: This person murdered six people. I don’t really care who you say you are. You murdered six people and three of them were children,” she said to Bill Maher on his show in April.

Here’s the video of the misgendering:

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