A city official in California who wrote a newspaper column promoting “straight pride” -- and referring to gay men as “fairies” who wear “tinker bell wings” -- defended himself at a city hall meeting this week as hundreds of protesters called for his resignation.
Vice Mayor Ted Hickman, 74, of Dixon refused to step down or apologize for the column published last month in the city’s Independent Voice newspaper, FOX KTVU reported.
“I didn’t give up my First Amendment right when I became an elected official,” Hickman said at the meeting. “To the contrary, I swore like the rest of the council to uphold the Constitution, which includes the First Amendment.”
“I didn’t give up my First Amendment right when I became an elected official. To the contrary, I swore like the rest of the council to uphold the Constitution, which includes the First Amendment.”
Hickman, in his column, advocated for the month of July to be known as “Straight Pride American Month,” where “hundreds of millions of the rest of us can celebrate our month, peaking on July 4th, as healthy, heterosexual, fairly monogamous, keep our kinky stuff to ourselves, Americans.”
The so-called “straight pride” month would follow “LGBTQF-WTF” month, when “grown men wear skin tight short-shorts and go-go boots and don tinker bell wings,” Hickman stated in his column.
He went on to call the gay and lesbian communities “different.”
“We work, have families, (and babies we make) enjoy and love the company (and marriage) of the opposite sex and don’t flaunt our differences dressing up like faries [sic] and prancing by the thousands in a parade in nearby San Francisco to be televised all over the world,” Hickman wrote.
Hickman’s comments were widely criticized as homophobic, and outraged protesters packed into city hall on Tuesday, calling for the vice mayor’s removal.
"I ask that you do some good for this community and resign so we are no longer eclipsed by the blatant disregard and temporary pain you have caused this community."
"I ask that you do some good for this community and resign so we are no longer eclipsed by the blatant disregard and temporary pain you have caused this community," said resident Alice Lopez.
Citizens said they were “shocked” and “disgusted” by the column's commentary and worried that it reflected poorly on their hometown, located about 23 miles west of Sacramento, according to FOX KTVU.
Hickman did not respond to comments, having suggested in an earlier interview with the Sacramento Bee that his words were meant to be “tongue-in-cheek” humor.
City Mayor Tom Bogue told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday that officials will meet to discuss legal options and “how we deal with this.”
“And it is an issue that has to be dealt with, because every elected official — while they do have their freedom of speech — also has to understand there’s consequences, or potential consequences, with what they say,” Bogue said.
Bogue added that “a lot of folks” have “to learn to keep up with the times and the way our society is changing.”
Hickman has been a member of the city council since 2014. He began serving as vice mayor in January and is up for re-election in November.