(Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
(CNSNews.com) – Former New York City Mayor turned Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is being called out by an LGBTQ group for “transphobic comments” he made in 2016 and 2019 about transgender people.
The Human Rights Campaign criticized Bloomberg’s remarks, saying, “Over the last decade, right-wing extremists have attacked transgender people, their humanity and their rights at every opportunity. And in 2019, at least 26 transgender and gender non-conforming people lost their lives to fatal violence.”
“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,” HRC President Alphonso David said in a statement.
“Transgender women aren’t ‘he-she or it’, they’re women. LGBTQ people are human and deserve to be treated with respect,” David said.
“57 million Equality Voters — LGBTQ voters and our allies — across America are watching this primary closely including almost 9 million in the Midwest. 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,” he said.
“Words matter and Mayor Bloomberg should apologize for using language that demoralizes and dehumanizes members of our community,” David added.
During an event at Oxford University in December 2016, Bloomberg described the transgender bathroom issue in this way:
If you think about it, we the intelligentsia, people who could make it into this room. We believe in a lot of things in terms of equality and protecting individual rights that make no sense to the vast bulk of people. They’re not opposed to you having some rights, but there’s a fundamental disconnect between us believing the rights of the individual come first and the general belief around the world I think it’s fair to say that the rights of society comes first.
And so, I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the bathroom issue in the United States … You wanna know is somebody a good salesman. Give them the job of going to the Midwest and picking a town and selling to that town the concept that some man wearing a dress should be in the locker room with their daughter. If you can sell that, you can sell anything.
I mean, they just look at you, and they say, ‘what on earth are you talking about?’ And you say, well this person identifies his or her gender as different than what’s on their birth certificate. ‘What do you mean? You’re either born this or born that.’
I will say in our prison system in NYC we have to have the policy when you walk in, you know, drop your trousers, you go this way, you go that way. That’s it, ‘cause you can’t sit there, and you can’t mix things in a jail. That’s a practical case where you have to make a decision, but it’s, so many things that we are nuanced and the social issues that we’re very proud of achieving aren’t believed by the vast bulk of the people.
Most recently, during a forum hosted by the Bermuda Business Development Agency on March 21, 2019, in Manhattan, Bloomberg ridiculed Democratic presidential candidates for talking about protecting transgender people.
“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,” he said at the time.
“And so you can understand where somebody like Trump comes from,” Bloomberg said. “You can understand when you look at the Democratic Party, they are so far left that two years ago there was nobody on their side who would take these positions, and today virtually all the candidates for president of the Democratic Party are so progressive. I don’t know what progressive means.”
The event took place eight months before he announced his candidacy for president.