Young Citizens Pack the May 20th Letcher Co. Fiscal Court Meeting to Oppose Discriminatory Bathroom Ordinance
Last Friday, May 20th, a special meeting was held to discuss the county's budget.The recently proposed discriminatory "bathroom ordinance" was not specifically on the meeting's agenda, but close to 20 Letcher County Citizens showed up to the Fiscal Court meeting to voice their concerns as the ordinance related to the county budget.
After observing the Court discuss severe underfunding as well as budget cuts that have already impacted senior citizen centers and the county's recycling program, citizens insisted on the opportunity to comment. Letcher County constituents of the court, mostly youth, expressed frustration that any percentage of the budget or the court's time was being utilized to propose ordinances that are rooted in blatant discrimination and fear mongering.
Bobby Howard was the Magistrate who introduced this issue to the court, and has been the main source of fear mongering in the Letcher County Fiscal Court. A disturbing quote from Howard in a WYMT interview immediately following Friday's meeting suggests a "separate but equal" option for transgender citizens.
"I just wish they was separated here, and everybody's equal under God's eyes," Howard said. "Everybody's equal, but I think just a line ought to be drew between the bathrooms is what I think" He said would be in favor of separate bathrooms for transgender people if it were not for the expense.
The youth of this county are disappointed and disturbed with the representation they have received from their magistrates, and hope that their voices will now be heard around this issue. There has been a lot of warm support from community members and those outside our community that have read the powerful letter and words from Letcher County youth around this issue.
Letcher County citizens: please continue to reach out to Judge Executive Jim Ward and state your opposition to this irresponsible use of funds and power by the Fiscal Court, and ask them to formally drop this ordinance at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (606) 633 -2129.
Look up your magistrate and their contact information here on the Fiscal Court's webpage here.
A notice posted at the Letcher County Courthouse states that the special meeting invited public attendance and participation. After no formal process was offered, and Judge Executive Jim Ward blatantly ignored a request for comments, citizens put on the pressure before the meeting was adjourned to have their voices heard. Over 8 Letcher Countians spoke in opposition to any portion of the budget or time of the court being spent on discriminatory ordinances. Photo by Kendall Bilbrey