Friday, May 27

An Ohio city councilperson used a transphobic slur, then doubled down in a wild Facebook Live

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A city councilperson in a Cincinnati suburb used a transphobic slur, and after being confronted on its use, doubled down on his language in a wide-ranging Facebook rant.

Brian Smyth represents the 3rd Ward in Cheviot, a city in west-central Hamilton County, less than 10 miles northwest of Cincinnati.

Smyth shared a story by local news outlet WCPO about concerns expressed by local community members over the Delhi Skirt Game, an annual event where men wear dresses and play a charity softball game.

Editor’s note: We will not be reprinting Smyth’s multiple uses of the slur so as not to promote hate speech. We will instead refer to the word as “<transphobic slur>”. 

In response to the story, Smyth posted, “Game On. It’s never been about the <transphobic slur>.”

Community members at two Cheviot City Council meetings spoke out against Smyth’s use of the slur, prompting Smyth to make a statement to the local media.

“I have never known it to be a slur,” Smyth told WCPO. “After this was brought to my attention and it’s been a little bit of an issue, I went on social media. I went on the Google. Definitions by the Google were definitely left-leaning but do not connotate it as a slur or a problem.”

On Friday, Smyth took to Facebook Live with a 14 minute rant, starting with his defending the slur.

“Someone who is not a <transphobic slur> got very upset and triggered by my using the word <transphobic slur>,” said Smyth. “You getting offended by someone using the English language is your problem, not someone else’s problem. Toughen up, buttercup.”

Other highlights of the Facebook Live included Smyth identifying the root cause of language control as communists (“They have to control the language, they have to control you, and they have to control the words.”), his insistence that LGBTQ+ individuals have equal rights, and his debunking of what he believes to be societal lies (“It’s an absolute lie that men make more money than women.”).

When asked whether any action would be taken against Smyth’s use of the slur, Cheviot City Council President Kerry Smyth asserted that any such action would be outside of the scope of the city council.

“The rules pertain to conduct while City Council Meeting is in session, but not to conduct outside of the meeting,” City Council President Smyth posted to Facebook.

He also spoke against creating a code of conduct for elected officials, posting: “Adding a code of conduct would result in a new system that shifts power from the CITIZENS of Cheviot to those on Council who may want to use it to silence the duly elected representatives of those same citizens.”

LGBTQ+ leaders outlined the danger in the use of transphobic slurs, especially here in Ohio.

“During this unprecedented time—a time when we both know better and a time during which the trans youth of Ohio are uniquely vulnerable—these remarks aren’t just distasteful; they’re dangerous. Trans people are not jokes,” said James Knapp, board chair of TransOhio. 🔥

About Author

Ken Schneck is the Editor of The Buckeye Flame. He is the author of "Seriously, What Am I Doing Here? The Adventures of a Wondering and Wandering Gay Jew" (2017), "LGBTQ Cleveland" (2018), "LGBTQ Columbus" (2019), and "LGBTQ Cincinnati" (2020). In his spare time, he is a professor of education at Baldwin Wallace University.

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