LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS — Confronting a mortified woman in a crowded Fayetteville, Arkansas restaurant, Alderman John La Tour loudly accused her of being gender ambiguous and told the woman he’d pull out his penis to prove that he is a man.
The woman, who is in fact, a cis woman, happened to be a barista at the restaurant. After being kicked out of the restaurant by the manager, La Tour went to social media to disparage the restaurant owner and urged people not to patronize any of his restaurants. The posting has since been deleted.
Following media coverage, La Tour said he was just asking the woman to dance and his words were misconstrued. La Tour, a Tea Party conservative who has taken political donations from Christian reality show stars Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, has a history of opposing transgender rights.
La Tour told The Arkansas Times that the whole thing was just a joke and that he may be a victim of liberals who disagree with him. He also says he has apologized to the woman.
La Tour: “They know I’m conservative; they’re terribly disappointed I’m on the City Council. All that this is about is to discredit John La Tour and make him look like a buffoon.”
However, both The Arkansas Times and The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette noted that La Tour has history of disparaging remarks against trans people, including a recent incident during city council meeting which drew rebukes from other city officials. He had asked about the gender identity of a contractor and said “It’s hard to tell these days.”
“Yesterday Fayetteville alderman John la tour ward 4 assaulted a dear friend in public demanding they choose a gender in a packed restaurant. He demanded she pick a gender declaiming loudly that he couldn’t tell if she was a man or a woman. She is not transgendered and does not in any way present any ambiguity about gender in any way. She’s a woman. He then explained that he was a man and could prove it by dropping his pants and showing his penis. That is bullying behavior and unacceptable on so many levels. Please call any news outlets you know and alert them to his “protests.” I doubt offering to expose yourself would be considered protected speech even by the right wing activist Dugger family who funded his campaign. He should be kicked out of office.”
UPDATE March 22, 2016: The woman who was confront by La Tour speaks out. Greta Allendorf’s Facebook post:
“John La Tour,
Hi. You may remember me from Friday. I’m the “waitress” you had the unfortunate encounter with. I am not actually a “waitress”. I am a barista, and more importantly, a human being. I acknowledge that you are also a human being and not the complete monster you are currently being portrayed as on social media. I am also not the victim I see described in these posts.
On the morning of our incident, I didn’t know who you were and just thought you were a jerk being a jerk to someone in the service industry. It happens everyday. When you apologized, you said it wasn’t your intention to offend me, but what was your intention? It seems now that whether you realized it or not, your intention was to bully someone who obviously didn’t share your political notions. Whether that’s true or not, you should know that your insensitivity to the plight of others can be very hurtful. Your behavior was unacceptable regardless.
You said to me that it’s not hard to declare gender, that there are only two choices, male or female. I, like you, am not well versed in gender politics. We just can’t possibly understand what it means to be transgender. But in my lack of understanding, there’s a well of compassion. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to just exist in a world of those who don’t understand and hate you merely for existing. In your lack of understanding, there is fear. I get that. That’s very human of you. But how does that fear serve you? How does it serve your children?
It certainly didn’t do much for you this weekend. It was no fun for me either. Our little encounter has blown up in a way neither us of would have expected. I don’t revel in this kind of attention and chose to lay low, but that felt more victimizing, and irresponsible. The things you said to me on Friday were wildly inappropriate and even though I personally didn’t feel assaulted or sexually harassed, I have to speak up for those your bullying was intended for.
I hope this weekend has shown you that you are governing a community that doesn’t share your oppressive belief system and doesn’t tolerate this kind of treatment of it’s citizens, regardless of the gender they identify with. We no longer see you fit for duty. I hope you choose to resign your post, but if not, maybe you can choose to move forward, regardless of your beliefs, with an attitude of respect, compassion, and humanness towards your constituents. We’re all in this together.
And for the record, I declare myself woman. And I love to dance. If you can put aside the fear and hate, I’d love to take you up on that dance, regardless of how you identify.
Love & Guts,
t/h Jill Corcoran
I believe John La Tour is a self-appointed buffoon. He didn’t need any help from liberals or the media.
There is a campaign to get La Tour to resign: https://www.change.org/p/alderman-john-la-tour-resign-from-fayetteville-city-council
I wrote earlier of another ciswoman accused of being trans: https://lexiecannes.com/2015/06/15/cis-woman-accused-of-being-a-boy-was-manhandled-and-kicked-out-of-a-womens-bathroom-sues/
The Arkansas Times and The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2016/03/21/resignation-urged-over-fayettville-alderman-john-la-tours-gender-challenge
Read Lexie Cannes in The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/courtney-odonnell/