GOP official misgenders trans lawmaker in the middle of state senate session

Newly-elected Virginia State Senator Danica Roem
Newly-elected Virginia State Senator Danica Roem Photo: Danica Roem for State Senate

Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears (R) misgendered out trans state Sen. Danica Roem (D) as she presided over a session of the Senate of Virginia.

Roem asked Earle-Sears a question during the session yesterday about the exact number of votes needed to pass a bill about prescription drug prices.

“Yes, sir, that would be 32,” Earle-Sears replied. Roem walked out of the chamber, and someone asked Earle-Sears to take a recess.

Earle-Sears initially refused to apologize, and the Senate of Virginia took two recesses to address the situation, according to the Petersburg Progress-Index.

She did eventually apologize to the chamber but didn’t address Roem specifically. She then accused Democrats of “showing disrespect towards me” even though she was the one who misgendered a Democrat. She said there “was not intent to offend” and that she had just misspoken.

“I understand Senator Roem is upset,” she said. “I’m not here to upset anyone. I’m here to do the job the people of Virginia have called me to do.” 

She then continued to chastise Democrats, saying they did “what we would not expect our children or our nieces and nephews to do.”

Roem’s office has not issued a statement or commented on the incident.

Misgendering is the act of referring to a person with the wrong gendered terms. Most people consider this an insult. Transgender people are often the targets of intentional misgendering, and it is often used in the workplace as a form of harassment against transgender people.

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