A video has surfaced from 2016 of Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg saying most people wouldn’t favor equal rights for transgender people because they don’t want “some man wearing a dress … in the locker room with their daughter.”
In the video, the former mayor of New York City is speaking at Oxford University and saying “the intelligentsia” believe in certain things about equality “that don’t make sense to the vast bulk of people.”
He then goes into laws regulating public restroom and locker room use by trans people, a hot topic in 2016 due to a restrictive law enacted in North Carolina (now partially repealed). “You want to know is somebody a good salesman,” he says, “give them the job of going to the Midwest and picking a town and selling to that town the concept that some man wearing a dress should be in a locker room with their daughter.”
He also says people in prisons should be segregated according to their genitalia rather than their gender identity. However, trans prisoners often face violence when housed on such a basis — as do trans people forced to use restrooms and other public facilities for the gender they were assigned at birth.
Journalist Walker Bragman tweeted the clip, and another journalist, Katelyn Burns, retweeted it with the comment “This is disqualifying.”
Bloomberg has positioned himself as an ally of the LGBTQ community. The Advocate Wednesday published a commentary from the candidate, in which he said the nation needs “a president who will no longer turn a blind eye to the horrifying number of transgender people who have been attacked or killed in this country — especially young transgender women of color.”
He also recently released an LGBTQ equality plan in which he promised to “reverse the Trump administration policy that prevents transgender people from accessing facilities, services and basic necessities that are consistent with their gender identity.”
A spokesperson for the Bloomberg campaign provided this statement to The Advocate:
"Mike understands that the transgender community has been under attack for decades and the advance of rights has not been equal. In April 2002, during his first year as mayor, Mike signed a sweeping transgender civil rights bill into law. His company provides comprehensive healthcare coverage for his transgender employees. As president, he has a comprehensive plan to secure rights for transgender Americans, including passing the Equality Act, ensuring transgender people have access to affirming health care, and working to end the crisis of violence against transgender women. Mike is running to defeat Donald Trump and reverse the many policies he has implemented that attack the rights of the transgender community."