An open letter to Representative Justin Price: Educate yourself

To: Representative Justin Price (Republican, District 39, Richmond, Exeter, Hopkinton)

At Tuesday night’s hearing of House Bill H7066, you stated that you “represent the heterosexual community.”

You do not.

My name is Melanie DuPont, and I am one member of the considerable part of the heterosexual community working to decrease human suffering. And I vote.

Representative Price, your queries and comments here tonight, during the testimony in favor of 7066, betray an ignorance that comes from isolating yourself from the facts that make you uncomfortable.

I encourage you to alleviate your ignorance by putting aside your biases, prejudices, and sense of entitlement to a surprise-free life, and– You know what? I was going to say, “Go burden the LGBTQ community by reaching out to a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer acquaintance or family member, who is not terrified of what your bigotry means to the number of years they can expect to live, and ask them to smarten you up.”

Instead, I suggest you binge-watch, I don’t know, “Modern Family” or “Will & Grace” or any other series that will warm you up to the idea that LGBTQ people are humans who deserve to live, even after you get angry. (Side note: it’s legal to get angry. It’s not legal to strike people in anger.)

Your repeated implication tonight, that surprise and anger justify homicide against LGBTQ humans, and the idea that sudden knowledge of a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation excuses assaulters and murderers from taking responsibility for their bigoted, violent actions…those assertions turn my stomach. And I assure you: if they can muster the strength to tolerate your ignorance, then your first lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer friend will have to fight much stronger nausea than I fight tonight.

When, after years of practicing, you finally learn to ask questions without causing irreparable damage, both to LGBTQ humans and to your own political career… seek out additional conversations, and listen. Learn where you’re wrong, and when you’re ready, I urge you to openly apologize to the LGBTQ community (by then, you’ll know what for).

I’m heterosexual. I don’t want my friends murdered, and I don’t want their murderers to get off on lesser charges. Neither should you. And I resent the false implication you made tonight, that trans-panic violence is a normal, expected reaction to surprise. It’s not normal.

Lives depend on ending the ignorance that perpetuates the myth that LGBTQ humans are “fair game” for the toxically masculine individuals you currently accept as “normal.”

So educate yourself.


Here are all of Representative Price’s comments and questions during the committee hearing on H7066, with some quotes highlighted:

“This is a tough one. Let me see if I got this straight,” said price. “So if there’s a person that’s identifying themselves as a certain gender presents themselves to another gender of the opposite sex, and they’re okay with that, like, they think they’re in a heterosexual relationship and come to find out that they’re not, and and and they have a real problem with that, like a mental problem with that, and they maybe, um, maybe have some aggressions to that, being um, deceived and now having engaged in some sort of relationship, like a homosexual relationship that they didn’t want to be in, or one of these other alphabet relationships that they don’t want to be in, the courts are going to say that their actions are not justified?”

“I guess my standard question is, ‘Where’s this legislation coming from?” asked Price. “What’s the precedent for this?”

“So I just want to preface my remarks with I don’t have any problems with anybody’s gender, or whatever, you know, how they want to live their lives, but the way this is written, would this actually – would this condone – people with other gender preferences to push their gender onto heterosexuals and be eliminated from any ramifications from it? I guess what I’m saying is if someone presents themselves as a certain gender, and it goes to a certain point, and then the other gender, heterosexual gets mentally frickin’ unstable about this thing, you know, like, finding out that he’s been kissing someone he doesn’t realize he’s been kissing…”

Samson Zarek Hampton spoke in favor of the bill. He confronted Price directly for the comments made.

“Representative Price,” said Committee Chair Cale Keable, “Are you sure you want to ask a question?”

“Yes.”

“Okay,” said Keable.

“I’m not against [the LGBT community] in any way,” said Price, “but I represent the heterosexual community and this bill would essentially eliminate any defense that my sexual preference has…

For context, here is the full discussion of the bill in the committee Tuesday evening.

About Melanie DuPont 4 Articles
Melanie DuPont is a Smithfield native, technical writer, and filmmaker who ran for RI State Senate in 2018.

3 Comments

  1. Great piece Mel. You know, over my lifetime I’ve been surprised by many people because they turned out to be different in some significant way than I had expected. Yet, somehow, I’ve never found myself spinning into a homocidal rage. Even Representative Price, who is supposed to be an educated adult looking after the interests of all his constituents, instead of an ignorant bigot, doesn’t send me to my gun rack. Am I doing adulting wrong, or is he? Hmmm.

  2. Ms. DuPont, while I appreciate what you are trying to accomplish by clapping back at this ignorant man, you do lose some credibility when you identify the Q in LGBTQ as queer. It’s questioning.
    Sincerely,
    Donna Roberts Hazard

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