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Seattle Pride Speaks Out Against Transphobic Comments

Oct 27, 2020 | Seattle Pride

Seattle Pride Board Statement
Oct 27, 2020 | Seattle Pride

As we’ve seen over the past few weeks, actions and words are important. The decision by KIRO 97.3 FM to suspend Mr. Monson in response to his transphobic tweet was an appropriate initial action, however Mr. Monson’s apology statement and on-air remarks did not specifically address the transgender community or the impact of his hurtful words to that community – spending the bulk of his remarks apologizing to his advertisers, producer and KIRO’s receptionist.

Mr. Monson and KIRO 97.3 FM had a real opportunity here to mend the relationship with the LGBTQIA+ community and remind people that hate speech and public ridicule of transgender people – who deserve the same respect and human dignity as we all do – has no place in our community. Unfortunately, Mr. Monson and KIRO 97.3 FM fell far short.

- Seattle Pride

Seattle Pride Board Statement
Oct 09, 2020 | Seattle Pride (updated Oct. 15, 2020)

Seattle Pride is an organization founded in support of the LGBTQIA+ community with the mission to Create Unity, Honor Diversity, and Achieve Equal Human Rights. The Seattle Pride board of directors takes its responsibility to uphold that mission with the utmost urgency and the sober significance it deserves.

In keeping with our mission – and taking our community responsibility to heart – Seattle Pride has spoken out against Dori Monson’s recent tweet in which he used the trans community as a punching bag, intended to draw a comparison to how, in his opinion, our state doesn’t listen to science. He could’ve chosen anything else he disagreed with to make his point about the state’s adherence to science, but instead he chose to mock a law supporting the trans community. This is why the comments made were transphobic.

Since our public stand against Mr. Monson’s transphobic tweet, Seattle Pride has received an outpouring of mostly positive responses from our community, though we acknowledge all of the diverse perspectives both in favor and in disagreement.

Our freedom of speech is one of the many ways Seattle Pride is able to honor diversity and achieve equal human rights by speaking out, educating our community, and – when needed, advocating for change. What must be made clear is while free speech is a right afforded to all in our society, it does go both ways; Mr. Monson is free to criticize his government and make jokes at the expense of a susceptible community, but that community also has the right to criticize Mr. Monson and call for him to apologize for his comments or resign from a station for which he is a public voice – and which provides him an audience of community members which heard him joke at their expense.

However, this takes away from the true issue at hand. The cornerstone issue is respect for those who are transgender – 41% of whom have attempted suicide, nearly 10 times higher than the national average; largely brought on by judgement, discrimination, and ridicule. To support our community in the best way possible we must publicly call out any statements made in a public forum which further add to that rhetoric.

In response, Seattle Pride is calling for Mr. Monson to sincerely apologize for his comments, and has offered to engage in discussion with Bonneville International (KIRO 97.3 FM) and Vulcan Sports & Entertainment (Seattle Seahawks) on ways to mend the relationship with the LGBTQIA+ community; eliminate the stigmatization of our transgender community in the media; and spread awareness by expanding diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, and educating people on how to be supportive to a community which deserves the same dignity as human beings that we all do.

If Mr. Monson is unable to issue an apology and take meaningful actions which demonstrate empathy and a willingness to understand and respect the trans community, then we will continue our call for his resignation as his insensitive and irresponsible comments do not align with our mission, or from our perspective, the stated values of his employers.

Sincerely in Pride,

Alex Ruble, Board President
Board of Directors, Seattle Pride // Seattle Out & Proud


Responses & Moving Forward

Seattle Pride wishes to thank those who have reached out with messages of support and solidarity, as well as those who have respectfully disagreed.

What must be made clear is while free speech is a right afforded to all in our society, it does go both ways; Mr. Monson is free to make members of the LGBTQIA+ community the butt of his jokes, just as the community is free to call for him to be removed. We believe this falls in line with the Vulcan Sports & Entertainment (Seattle Seahawks) Statement on Diversity and Inclusion:

"Vulcan believes in celebrating diverse voices, and we're on a mission to weave diversity, equity, and inclusion into the fabric of everything we do."

Seattle Pride welcomes the opportunity to speak with leadership from Bonneville International (KIRO 97.3 FM) and Vulcan Sports & Entertainment regarding ways to mend this relationship with the LGBTQIA+ community.

For Further Reading & Education

For those who are interested in learning more about the science of gender, and where transgender individuals fit in, we encourage you to choose from the following list, or to conduct your own research.

Click here to sign up for Seattle Pride Advocacy Alerts!