Virginia Lt. Gov. Makes Bizarre Apology Speech After Misgendering Trans Lawmaker

Virginia Senate
Virginia Senate

Virginia’s Republican lieutenant governor gave a strange apology speech Monday, shortly after misgendering a trans lawmaker in the state’s upper chamber.

The incident began with Democratic state Sen. Danica Roem asking Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears a question about the number of votes required for a bill to pass. “Yes sir, that would be 32,” Earle-Sears replied, prompting Roem to put down her microphone and walk out of the chamber.

Danica Roem, Transgender Legislator, Makes Political History

Earle-Sears initially refused to apologize, according to the Petersburg newspaper The Progress-Index. After two recesses, the lieutenant governor did address the issue after acknowledging she’d “said something that upset Senator Roem.”

“Let it be known, I am not here to upset anyone,” Earle-Sears began. “I am here to do the job that 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. But in this body, and 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.”

She went on to add: “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.” “We are all equal under the law, and so I apologize,” Earle-Sears said. “I apologize. I apologize. And I would hope, I would hope, that everyone would understand, there is no intent to offend, but that we will also give each other the ability to forgive each other.”

The Republican added that she has “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 take this opportunity to be kind to each other, to be gracious to each other, to be about the people’s business,” she added. “That is what I hope. And I join you in serving the people of this great commonwealth. I join you in being a citizen of this great country. Thank you.”

Roem served as the first out transgender person elected to a U.S. state legislature when she successfully ran for the Virginia House of Delegates in 2017.

The former journalist made history again when she was sworn into the state Senate last month, becoming the first trans lawmaker to have served in both chambers of a state legislature. Earle-Sears’ 2021 election as Virginia lieutenant governor was also unprecedented, with her becoming the first woman and woman of color to hold the office.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Get the Daily Beast's biggest scoops and scandals delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now.

Stay informed and gain unlimited access to the Daily Beast's unmatched reporting. Subscribe now.