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Calls Grow for Vice Mayor's Resignation After Anti-LGBTQ Column, Posts

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Jul 11, 2018

Calls are growing for the vice mayor of a California town to step down after he authored a column in a local newspaper declaring July "Straight Pride Month" and making use of demeaning LGBTQ stereotypes.

As previously reported at EDGE, it took less than a day for controversy to heat up after Ted Hickman, the vice mayor of Dixon, California, published the column in local newspaper the Independent Voice on June 29. The column featured an illustration of a rainbow flag covered with a red circle and slash, the international "not allowed" symbol. Despite Hickman's claim he was not promoting homophobic animus, his column was littered with anti-gay disparagements.

"Don't get me wrong I support the First Amendment, as much as 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," a parenthetical aside read in the column's very first sentence.

The column went on to declare that straight people - unlike gays, evidently - "work, have families... and don't flaunt our difference dressing up like faries [sic] and prancing by the thousands in a parade in nearby San Francisco to be televised all over the world..."

The announcement of a recall effort followed in short order, but Hickman, who faces re-election in November, simply shrugged that off, saying, "The numbers aren't there." Hickman's lack of concern aside, the rules for recall basically shut out that avenue, since elected officials cannot be recalled within six months of an election.

A July 10 town meeting brought out scores of citizens who voiced their own opinion: That Hickman should resign. Attendees at the meeting disagreed not only with the vice mayor's message but with Dixon's use of his position to promote it. Dixon himself seemed to acknowledge the point, a Sacramento Bee article reported.

"If I were to rewind time and write the column again, I would not use the words - sarcastically or not - of vice mayor, because I see where that may be unacceptable to some," Hickman told the crowd at the meeting.

Local news channel KCRA said that "hundreds" of people turned out for the meeting, and several city council members spoke out against the vice mayor. Two councilmembers requested that the city attorney advise them with regard to possible disciplinary actions.

Dixon clung to his free speech argument. "I didn't give up my First Amendment right when I became an elected official," he declared.

City Councilman Devin Minnema offered a different argument, opining that Hickman's article was a violation of the city's code of conduct, the Sacramento Bee reported. "We have three options," the Sacramento Bee quoted Minnema as saying; "...admonishment, reprimand, and censure."

Come November, concerned citizens will have another option: The ballot box.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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