An op-ed column published two weeks ago by Dixon Vice Mayor Ted Hickman smearing gays caused an uproar at the Dixon City Council meeting Tuesday night.
In the latest edition of his column “That’s Life” in Dixon, California’s Independent Voice newspaper Hickman celebrated July as “Straight Pride American Month” and referred to gay men using a derogatory term.
The resulting firestorm has pitted Hickman against local community members who are outraged, the LGBT advocacy group Equality California and other LGBT activists.
“We are different from them…. We work, have families (and babies we make) enjoy and love the company (and marriage) of the opposite sex and don’t flaunt our differences dressing up like faries (sic) and prancing by the thousands in a parade in nearby San Francisco to be televised all over the world,” Hickman wrote.
The Sacramento Bee reported that nearly 200 people showed up at Dixon City Hall Tuesday evening, July 10. The LGBT supporters, residents of towns around the region, waved signs and called for Hickman to resign.
Will Eukel, 27, said he drove 43 miles from Martinez to support his friends in the LGBT community. “Because making fun of them in this manner basically is like attacking them and I don’t like it when my friends are attacked, especially by a person in a position of power,” he said before the meeting.
Equality California, a fast-growing anti-Hickman group on Facebook and a petition on the social issues Care2 petition website are all demanding a recall election of Hickman or preferably have his swift resignation.
Equality California’s Executive Director Rick Zbur, issued a statement Monday calling for Hickman’s resignation, directly citing his column and his “derogatory references to the LGBTQ community.”
“Despite all the progress we’ve made, hate and intolerance are alive and well in fringe politicians like Mr. Hickman who spew hateful rhetoric in an attempt to dehumanize members of our LGBTQ community,” Zbur said. He went on to note that while that Hickman’s personal beliefs are protected by the First Amendment, “he’s not entitled to serve in elected office and the very same Amendment protects the rights of Dixon residents and pro-equality Californians to stand up and demand accountability. That’s what we intend to do.”
Hickman has defended his column as “tongue-in-cheek,” saying that his personal beliefs have not affected his performance as vice mayor.
Reporting by The Sacramento Bee, the staff of the Los Angeles Blade, and wire service reports