Brittney Loper had always been proud of her hometown of Waterford, Pennsylvania until she saw the transphobic sign Brian Dwyer had posted in his yard on the outskirts of town. Anyone driving into town would see it.
“The support and love that I’ve received from my community has helped me grow into the person that I am today,” Loper wrote in a petition to have the sign taken down. “Today, I don’t feel that pride anymore.” She added that the sign “doesn’t offer the same love and support our town should stand for.”
Dwyer’s sign, posted as a protest of ongoing coronavirus prevention measures authorized by the state’s Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine. Levine is transgender.
“Don’t let a man in a dress rule us Waterford,” the sign read.
This isn’t the only time Levine has faced ridicule and scorn over her gender identity, but she has kept her head down and her focus on her work to save lives. A couple of weeks ago, an evangelical minister exhorted his followers to “rise up” and “chase” the doctor out of the state. He repeatedly referred to her as “it,” “a man,” and a “freak transvestite.”
“You are absolutely insane if you let that transvestite freak rule your life,” pastor Rick Wiles screamed. “You’re going to that transvestite freak? Seriously?”
“I’m disgusted by the thought of LGBTQ+ members of the Waterford community feeling like they aren’t accepted,” Loper wrote. “I want to take a stand against this blatant hate and show that our town does NOT support this message.”
When Dwyer heard about the petition and the growing support for it online, he told the local news that he didn’t think it was transphobic.
Still he changed the sign to remove the derogatory comment. The sign now reads, “Happy holidays. Please wear a mask.”