Mike Bloomberg came under fire from LGBTQ rights advocates this week after a 2019 video in which he made crude and derisive remarks about the transgender community resurfaced.
The video, which was shot at a New York forum hosted by the Bermuda Business Development Agency last year, appeared in a Tuesday BuzzFeed News report. In the footage, Bloomberg ― who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination ― describe a transgender person as “some guy wearing a dress” and “it” in a discussion about politicians calling for trans-inclusive protections.
Just hours before the BuzzFeed article was published, Bloomberg’s campaign released a short video touting the Democratic presidential hopeful’s support for LGBTQ youth and featuring designer Isaac Mizrahi, who is gay.
The 2019 video was, in many respects, startlingly similar to a 2016 clip shot at the University of Oxford in England. In the earlier footage, Bloomberg also refers to “some man wearing a dress” while describing a hypothetical transgender person.
The Bloomberg campaign did not reply to HuffPost’s request for comment on the video. However, in a statement issued to BuzzFeed News and NBC Tuesday, a spokesperson said that Bloomberg, as mayor of New York, had signed a sweeping transgender civil rights bill into law in 2002. It also pointed to his support for the Equality Act, a comprehensive anti-discrimination bill seen by many as the LGBTQ rights movement’s top legislative priority.
“Mike is running to defeat [President] Donald Trump and reverse the many policies he has implemented that attack the rights of the transgender community,” the statement continued.
Pointing to an increase in the number of fatal attacks against trans people last year, the Human Rights Campaign urged Bloomberg to apologize ahead of his first presidential debate Wednesday in Las Vegas.
“We expect all pro-equality candidates, including Mayor Bloomberg, to create policy solutions to end the epidemic of violence our community faces, not use the same talking points our opponents use to dehumanize transgender people and justify their own hateful beliefs,” HRC President Alphonso David said in an email to HuffPost.
“Transgender women aren’t ‘he-she or it,’ they’re women,” he continued. “LGBTQ people are human and deserve to be treated with respect.”