Sunday, June 23, 2024


HomeOutagamie County GovernmentHermes' Remarks Free Speech, Not Transphobic

Hermes’ Remarks Free Speech, Not Transphobic

I am writing to defend Outagamie County Board Supervisor Tim Hermes, whose remarks at a recent county board meeting are being labeled “transphobic.”

It might be a stretch to suggest, as Hermes apparently did, that a male (boy/man) would pretend to be transgender simply to gain access to the female (girl’s/women’s) locker room. For the sake of argument, assume Hermes is just wrong about that.

Why does the male’s motivation for exposing himself in the female’s locker room matter? Have we really reached a point where the feelings of a person with male body parts are considered more important than the feelings of people with female body parts? The truth is, a person with male genitalia doesn’t belong in a females’ locker room.

Moreover, Hermes has a right to express his opinions – even if those opinions offend some people. According to the ACLU (!), protecting free speech means “protecting … diversity of thought.”

While the county’s transgender community has a right to protest Supervisor Hermes’ remarks, it has no right to expect him to be “disciplined” somehow for exercising his right to free speech.

A protest calling for action against Hermes is planned for the May 23 county board meeting. It’s being organized by, among other people, Jay Gibbs, a member of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization whose Facebook page identifies him as a “Dudely Dad, Hippie Hubs, Writer/Commie/Activist.” Facebook suggests his two co-organizers live in “Fox, Alaska” and “Hailey, Idaho.” Fight Back News a Minneapolis, MN-based “newspaper” being published five times a year, is promoting the protest.

This certainly doesn’t appear to be a homegrown protest … and one might get the impression it isn’t so much about locker rooms as it is about the Left’s full assault on capitalism and our Constitution.

As for whether Hermes has a legitimate concern about biological males exposing themselves in females’ locker rooms, a March incident is instructive. The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty recently contacted the board of education of the Sun Prairie (a Madison suburb) Area School District about a March 3, 2023 “incident involving a violation of freshman girls’ privacy while in a Sun Prairie East High School (EHS) locker room.” An 18-year-old male student, after telling four freshmen girls “I’m trans, by the way,” undressed and showered fully naked beside one of the girls. WILL’s letter ends with an open records request to help its investigation into the incident.

Similar situations – biological males exposing themselves to minor females – have arisen in YMCA locker rooms: in Ohio on multiple occasions in 2021 and 2022, and in California in January 2023. I’ve sent an email to the Heart of the Valley YMCA asking about its locker room policy; I’ll post more when I hear back.

In the meantime, you can find the latest news on WILL’s Sun Prairie effort here: In Case You Missed It: Sun Prairie Schools Charingin $11,000 for Records Surrounding Locker Room Incident.

Diane Bast
Diane Bast
Diane Bast is a native of Wisconsin and graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh. Before retiring from The Heartland Institute in 2018, she served at various times as senior editor, executive editor, finance manager, and website manager. After retirement, she served for one year on the board of directors of Heartland. She served on the board of directors of the Advocates for Self-Government from 2009 to December 2016. She currently serves as webmaster for Appleton Concerned Taxpayers and other nonprofit organizations.
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