(WB) Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg has apologized for recently unveiled comments from last year in which he referred to transgender people as “it.”
In a statement first reported by NewNowNext, Bloomberg apologized and indicated he has met with transgender community leaders and San Francisco Mayor London and come to realize “my words had caused hurt.”
“It was a poor attempt to describe how some who oppose transgender equality think about this issue — and those words do not reflect my unwavering support for equality for transgender Americans,” Bloomberg said. “I want to offer my sincerest apologies to the members of the transgender community.”
Bloomberg took note of ongoing violence against transgender people, including Alexa Ruiz, a transgender homeless person in Puerto Rico, who was brutally murdered after using the women’s restroom.
“We need a president who will set the moral compass to ensure safety, respect and dignity for all trans people,” Bloomberg said. “As mayor, I signed a sweeping transgender civil rights bill and, as president, will promote policies that advance equality for transgender Americans who have been attacked by the Trump administration over the past three years.”
Bloomberg makes the apology after Buzzfeed News brought to light a 2019 video of Bloomberg referring to transgender people as “it” and blaming them for Democratic losses in the 2016 election. In another video from 2016, Bloomberg referred to transgender woman as a “man in a dress.”
“If your conversation during a presidential election is about some guy wearing a dress and whether he, she, or it can go to the locker room with their daughter, that’s not a winning formula for most people,” Bloomberg said in the 2019 video.
The videos sparked a firestorm of criticism and the nation’s leading LGBTQ group, the Human Rights Campaign, called on Bloomberg to apologize. In an interview with the Washington Blade, fellow Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer said the video was “almost unbearable” to watch.
Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement he welcomes Bloomberg’s apology and meeting with transgender community leaders.
“He took the time to engage members of the transgender community and it’s heartening that he has realized his comments were unacceptable,” David said. “Today, Mayor Bloomberg and his campaign rededicated themselves to pursuing a safer, more inclusive future for the LGBTQ community, and for transgender people specifically.”