Ruthie Johnson seems to be a little confuzzled. Back on April 3rd, when asked about equal rights for gay and lesbian people, she remarked, "If someone comes to work dressed in drag, they should be able to fire them."
Now, it's not unusual for LGBT-unaware people to conflate sexual orientation with gender expression, although it does show a serious lack of understanding when coming from a public official. But on top of that, in clarifying her remarks, she says she was speaking only about dress codes, and said, "I have not discriminated against anyone."
This should probably concern the people of Idaho, especially because she's been reconfirmed to the Commission on Human Rights.
Now, I get the impression that there is a little bit of history here, and perhaps Idahoans can give us a bit of perspective on this overall picture. But said Human Rights Commission recently voted 5-4 to reject protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
"I said, when they wanted to include BLGT, 'Does that mean if someone
comes to work in drag and they get fired, does that mean we have to defend them then?'" Johnson said.
She also said the bill to amend the state's Human Rights Act could have led to same-sex marriages, which she opposes.
According to the Coeur d'Alene Press (you need a password to see the actual article), she has said that she opposes discrimination against a person because of their sexual orientation.
Clearly, gender identity and expression are another matter.
It's not unusual, of course, for dress codes to be given priority over a person's identity or gender expression. While there have been important precedents to establish implicit protections in this regard, courts and even human rights bodies often continue to ignore them.
Would there be anyone in the Idaho area that can pass on a little GLBT education? Apparently, the ones who are supposed to be in the know are a little confuzzled.