LYNCHBURG, Va. – Lynchburg city leaders responded to concerns over a Facebook post, which some call offensive towards the LGBTQIA+ community.
Martin Misjuns, a city fire captain and chairman of Lynchburg’s Republican Ward I Committee, posted cartoons depicting transgender characters to his public social media page in January.
#BidenErasedWomen - Coming to your daughters high school locker room in the near future.Posted by Martin J. Misjuns on Monday, January 25, 2021
Community members, including the Hill City Pride advocacy group called the images transphobic.
“This is nothing more than a free speech issue. Cancel culture is a tool to suppress that, and that’s what this is,” said Misjuns.
“We’re not trying to block that. We’re not saying it’s a first amendment right. It’s just that when you do post something on such a public platform and as a public figure, then there can be consequences and they should be held to a higher standard,” said Michael Kittinger, board chair of Hill City Pride.
The city released the following statement Monday saying leaders will focus on more training and inclusion:
“It was brought to my attention that there was a concern as to whether trans and gender non-conforming people in our community will be treated professionally and compassionately by members of City staff and employees who provide direct services to our community,” said Wodicka.
Wodicka said when these concerns were brought to his attention it was important to him that he spend time not only learning the origins for their concern but also to gain a better understanding of the experiences of trans and gender non-conforming people in our community and beyond in order to provide an authentic and honest statement that appropriately and adequately addressed those concerns from a place of empathy and respect.
“With the goal of better understanding these issues, some members of City staff, community leaders, and I met with members of Hill City Pride to have an open and honest dialogue about the experiences of trans and gender non-conforming people in our community and throughout society,” said Wodicka.
Wodicka continued by saying that public servants are charged with creating an environment in which everyone in our community can thrive, which means understanding the need for a mutual relationship between citizens and City employees that is characterized by respect, understanding, and dignity.Lynchburg Interim City Manager Dr. Reid Wodicka