By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com October 31 2012 4:57 PM ET
Dallas County, Texas on Tuesday approved a domestic partnership measure that would give same-sex partners of any of its 6,500 employees the same health insurance and other benefits enjoyed by legally married county employees, reports the Dallas Observer.
The measure passed on a strict party-line vote of 3-2, but the vote wasn't what grabbed headlines. Instead, it was County Commissioner Maurine Dickey's mis-gendering of a lesbian activist attending the hearings. C.d. Kirven, an out activist and member of GetEqual Texas, was taking photos of the public hearing when Dickey became agitated about the photos, which she thought were of her.
"Point of privilege here," Dickey said after covering her face to shield it from photos. "This gentleman keeps standing up and taking pictures of me. I don't know what this is about, but this is the third time he's done it. It's been directly on me. It makes me uncomfortable."
Fellow county commissioner John Wiley Price tried to correct Dickey, saying "first of all, it's she, and second, everyone is taking pictures."
But his corrections apparently fell on deaf ears as Dickey continued to complain.
"I would just like to ask that he refrain from taking pictures of me," she said.
Kirven, a prominent LGBT activist in Dallas, told The Dallas Observer in an email, "I think she had issues with my look."
But Kirven was good-natured about the encounter, apologizing in the hearing while explaining that she was taking pictures of her friend, who had just spoken in favor of the measure. Kirven even offered to arrange sensitivity training for Dickey to educate herself.
"I don't want Commissioner Dickey's strange behavior to take away from the huge win for Dallas LGBT families today," Kirven continued in her message to The Observer. "My community came together today and stood up for economic justice in a time when LGBT people are in desperate need of healthcare and jobs! My offer of arranging sensitivity training by the Resource Center for Commissioner Dickey is open-ended. Just give me a call."