A California city official sparked outrage this weekend after calling for July to be designated “Straight Pride American Month” in an essay that appeared in a local newspaper and on his personal website.
The June 29 installment of Dixon Vice Mayor Ted Hickman’s column, “That’s Life,” contained a number of slurs against LGBTQ people and other eyebrow-raising language.
Blasting June as “LGBTQF-WTF month,” Hickman suggested “Straight Pride American Month,” or “SPAM,” as a time for “healthy, heterosexual, fairly monogamous, keep our kinky stuff to ourselves Americans” to be celebrated nationwide.
“Don’t get me wrong I support the First Amendment, as much as the next person, and support the rights of grown men to wear skin tight short-shorts and go-go boots and don tinker bell wings with wand and prance down the streets of San Francisco,” Hickman wrote.
SPAM would be observed with “parades in every state and county in this country with families celebrating together,” he said.
“We honor our country and our veterans who have made all of this possible (including for the tinker bells) and we can do it with actual real pride, not some put on show just to help our inferior complex ‘show we are different’ type of crap,” he continued. “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.”
Dixon City Councilman Devon Minnema released a statement on Facebook Saturday blasting Hickman’s column as “deeply disturbing.”
Rick Zbur, the executive director of LGBTQ advocacy group Equality California, in a statement called Hickman’s essay “inflammatory, hateful” and “an attempt to dehumanize members” of the queer community and called on him to resign.
“Mr. Hickman’s words have no place in our society — especially at a time when our nation is already so divided and studies show hate crimes are on the rise,” Zbur wrote.
A newly formed Facebook group calling itself Recall Ted Hickman drew over 1,000 followers as of Monday afternoon, and organizers have announced plans to protest at Dixon’s next City Council meeting, scheduled for July 10.
On Saturday, Dixon Mayor Thom Bogue said he didn’t approve of Hickman’s article but supports people’s First Amendment rights.
“While I do not approve of such an article — in my belief we are all American U.S. citizens where sexual (preference) shouldn’t play a role — I do believe in a person’s freedom of speech even when I don’t like what they are saying,” he is quoted by the Vacaville Reporter as saying. “It is not within my capabilities to sanction an elected official for what they wish to publish in the paper, nor would I, that is up to constituents within his district to determine if he represents their beliefs.”
In a Saturday interview with the Sacramento Bee, Hickman defended his remarks, arguing that his column “was tongue-in-cheek and had nothing to do with my elected position.”
Calling those who took offense to his words “thin-skinned,” he added, “My point was, what’s the difference? They have their pride month, why can’t we have ours?”