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Transgender senator storms out of chamber after being called ‘sir’

via DC News Now

A transgender Democratic state senator in Virginia, Danica Roem, stormed out of the Senate chamber in protest after the Republican lieutenant governor referred to Roem as “sir” instead of “madam.”

Roem, who is biologically male but identifies as female, asked Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears twice about vote counts needed to pass legislation.

Sen. Danica Roem asked, “Madam President, how many votes would it take to pass this bill with the emergency clause?”

“That would be four-fifths, Senator,” answered Sears.

“And what would be the exact number of that, Madam President?” asked Roem.

Sears answered, “Yes, sir, that would be 32.”

Sears responded both times using “sir” instead of Roem’s preferred pronouns.

Roem then left the chamber without voting.

Later, Sears apologized but did not specifically apologize for using the wrong pronoun, saying she did not intend to offend but wanted respect and dignity for all.

She called for senators to be kind, gracious and focused on serving the people.

“I upset Sen. Roem,” Sears admitted.

She continued, “Let it be known I am not here to upset anyone. I am here to do the job 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.”

Sears added, “But in this body, 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.

“It is never my intention to make anyone offended, and I hope that others would consider that they would try not to offend me as well,” said the lawmaker.

Sears said, “We are all equal under the law. 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.”

Sears concluded, “I have seen us conduct ourselves in ways that we would not expect of our own children or nieces or nephews, and so I would hope that we would take this opportunity to be kind to each other, to be gracious to each other, to be about the people’s business.”

The incident highlighted tensions around transgender issues and preferred pronouns in Virginia politics.

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