The TGI Network of Rhode Island, which supports and advocates for the transgender, gender diverse, and intersex (TGI) communities in our state, have issued a response to disrespectful, hurtful, mean, and dehumanizing. comments made by Providence City Councilmember Michael Correia (Ward 6) against trans activist Justice Gaines.
Here’s the open letter from the TGI Network Board of Directors:
Dear Mr Correia,
Recently, WPRI 12 has published a conversation you have had with staff in which, among other things, you discuss a person who happens to be transgender. In the recording, you speculate about this person’s physical attributes, you willfully use inappropriate pronouns, and say that they should be called an “it.”
This is disrespectful, hurtful, mean, and dehumanizing. Coming from any person, this would be inappropriate, but coming from a community leader, this is unacceptable.
When asked about your words by a reporter, you are quoted as saying: “I don’t think I offended anybody in any way.”
Mr Correia, you have indeed offended someone. You have offended us, you have offended members of the transgender and non-binary community, you have offended our parents, our children, our spouses, our friends, our allies, our colleagues, our neighbors. You have offended everyone who believes that all human beings should be treated decently.
After first defending his remarks to Channel 12 reporters breaking the story, Correia took to Facebook to apologize the Gaines and the greater LGBTQIA community of Providence for his words, but still tried to characterize his ugly comments as a joke.
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He joined Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15) in calling for “sensitivity training to City Council Members and Council Staff.” As of this writing Correia has not addressed calls for him to step down from his leadership roles within the City Council and to resign from the City Council.