Hate-Filled Messages Aimed at Council Member During Pride Month
Openly gay county lawmaker received police security during public events
Evan Glass, the first openly gay Montgomery County Council member, said he has been receiving hate-filled messages since the beginning of the month.
Glass, an at-large member who was elected in November, said the messages have not been threatening but have been “ominous in nature toward LGBTQ individuals as a whole.” He has received more than 300 emails to this point according to his Chief of Staff Valeria Carranza.
June is known as Pride month, with festivals to celebrate the LGBTQ community, and Glass promoted the raising of a rainbow flag at the county government center in Rockville, which touched off complaints that the flag replaced one honoring veterans and soldiers missing in action.
Glass, a former CNN newsman, said he was saddened by the viciousness and number of messages that have been arriving at his office.
“Here we are in 2019, and I thought we had gotten past some of this ferocious anger toward members of the LGBT community. I’m an elected official and I can withstand name calling, but for my staff, a majority of whom are members of the LGBTQ community, for them to read these messages, it was pretty demoralizing and hurtful,” he said.
An example was an email he received from “Brown” addresses the council member as “Ms. Glass,” and asks if he is spending taxpayer money on Pride events, which is referred to as “this bunch of horse-s—.”
Glass said he shared the messages with the council’s staff and County Executive Marc Elrich. In response, Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones sent uniformed police officers to Pride events he was attending.
Glass said despite the need for security at events, he does not feel personally threatened. But he noted that in the Washington region in the last two weeks, there were two transgender women of color who were killed, as well as a gay couple that was assaulted. He added that there have been 49 hate crimes reported to Montgomery County Police since 2015 that were either related to gender or sexual orientation.
“As an elected official, it is my responsibility to lend a voice to the voiceless, and to change people’s hearts and minds about issues affecting our community. I will continue being an advocate for members of the LGBT community,” he said.
“To the people who disagree with me, and the notion of equal rights and protection for all. We are your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers and we’re not going anywhere.”
The threatening messages were first reported Thursday night by WUSA television.
Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org