Furor Erupts Over Bloomberg Calling Trans People “It”

Former Mayor of New York City Mike Bloomberg Via Facebook

Former Mayor of New York City Bloomberg last year referred to trans people as “it” and “some guy wearing a dress,” according to an article published Tuesday by Buzzfeed

Some Florida LGBT rights organizations were quick to respond to Bloomberg’s anti-trans comments and demand an apology.

Transgender people, especially black trans women, are under assault in America right now. Transphobic comments like this make this country more, not less, dangerous for the community,” said Gina Duncan, Director of Transgender Equality for Equality Florida. “Bloomberg should immediately apologize for this bigoted rhetoric, demonstrate he has a higher level of understanding of gender diversity and inclusion, and work alongside trans leaders to lift up the voices of marginalized people.”

According to the Buzzfeed report, which relied on a recently uncovered video from March of 2019 where the current presidential hopeful describes transgender people as he, she, or it” and some guy in a dress.” 

“There is no place in any community to call a person ‘it.’ It is vitally important for all people, and especially public servants and elected officials to understand that this is not OK. To support and be an ally of transgender people, we must help change the culture to one that is affirming and thus leads to the betterment of society,” said Orlando Gonzales, executive director of SAVE in Miami. “More importantly and poignant given the surge in violence towards transgender black and people of color we need to help create a safer environment for transgender people by acknowledging and seeing them. This includes taking time to learn the pronoun that people prefer.” 

The video is from a forum hosted by the Bermuda Business Development Agency on March 21, 2019, in Manhattan.

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, thats not a winning formula for most people,” Bloomberg told the audience. 

Bloomberg made similar comments about trans people during an event at the University of Oxford in December 2016. According to the Washington Post the video showed Bloomberg saying that the concept that some man wearing a dress should be in a locker room with their daughter” would be difficult for people in the Midwest to grasp. That video started attracting attention earlier this month.  

Bloomberg’s campaign did not directly address the comments when Buzzfeed asked for a response. 

Instead the campaign told the news outlet: "Mike understands that the transgender community has been under attack for decades and the advance of rights has not been equal. In April 2002, during his first year as mayor, Mike signed a sweeping transgender civil rights bill into law.

His company provides comprehensive health care coverage for his transgender employees. As president, he has a comprehensive plan to secure rights for transgender Americans, including passing the Equality Act, ensuring transgender people have access to affirming health care and working to end the crisis of violence against transgender women. Mike is running to defeat Donald Trump and reverse the many policies he has implemented that attack the rights of the transgender community.”

The largest LGBT rights organization in the country, the Human Rights Campaign, called the remarks transphobic and emphasized words matter. 

We expect all pro-equality candidates, including Mayor Bloomberg, to create policy solutions to end the epidemic of violence our community faces, not use the same talking points our opponents use to dehumanize transgender people and justify their own hateful beliefs,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “LGBTQ people are human and deserve to be treated with respect. We are looking for a candidate who can undo the damage done to our community by the Trump-Pence administration and build a future more safe, more equal and more accepting for LGBTQ people. Words matter and Mayor Bloomberg should apologize for using language that demoralizes and dehumanizes members of our community.” 

SFGN also reached out to the local and statewide Democratic caucuses, all of whom either ignored, or declined SFGN’s request for comment. 

"As the debates and town halls continue to provide us with opportunities to hear from the candidates, we will continue to learn more about the candidates without having them hide behind well prepared public policy positions and platforms on their websites, and advertisements that are carefully curated and manicured,” Gonzales said. 

According to a recent poll Bloomberg is now the frontrunner for the Democratic primary in Florida on March 17 with 27 percent. Biden who led another poll in early January by 26 points now trails Bloomberg by 1. Recently Bloomberg opened up a campaign office in Witlon Manors, the heart of the LGBT community in South Florida.