Transphobic Sign in Waterford
On Wednesday, December 9, a message board in Waterford maintained by Dwyer Plumbing and Excavation Co. read, "Don't let a man in a dress rules us Waterford." The sign targeted openly transgender Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, who has been working to contain the spread of COVID-19. The derogatory sign generated controversy, and there was a Change.org petition. Erie News Now aired a story on December 10. The business owner changed the text to read "Happy Holidays. Please wear a mask." The business owner chose not to speak on camera but expressed frustration with restrictions currently in place. Two Waterford residents interviewed disapproved of the sign. Erie City School Board President Tyler Titus said in a follow-up story the next day that transgender and gender-expansive people should not feel that their validity and lived experience are negated by this sign or other signs that don't make the news. And that their lives have worth and value.
On Wednesday, December 16, the Erie Times-News published an opinion from Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe, Bishop of the Episcopal Dioceses of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Western New York On Wednesday, December 16, Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe, Bishop of the Episcopal Dioceses of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Western New York. The editorial was titled "Scapegoating Dr. Levine won't end the pandemic." Rowe spoke of the dignity and humanity of transgender and gender-expansive people and how Dr. Levine's common-sense measures are very much needed to maintain the health and safety of Pennsylvanians.