Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears Calls Trans Sen. Danica Roem ‘Sir’ Twice, Apologizes

Del. Danica Roem, D-Prince William, gestures during debate on a bill during the House session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. After exhilarating political victories powered in part by an anti-Trump wave, freshman Democratic lawmakers in the Virginia House are facing the harsh reality of being new legislators, with almost all of their proposed legislation dying quick deaths. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Virginia Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears was at the center of a legislative session upheaval after remarks deemed inappropriate towards State Senator Danica Roem, who is a transgender. The incident prompted the Senate to adjourn temporarily.

During a heated exchange, Earle-Sears referred to Sen. Roem using the male pronoun “sir,” which led to Roem’s immediate departure from the chamber. This incident incited a demand from Democrat members for an apology from Earle-Sears, resulting in the Senate being called to recess on two separate occasions.

Subsequently, Earle-Sears issued a public statement where she offered an apology for the distress caused. “It was never my intent to upset Sen. Roem,” Earle-Sears stated. “My role here is to faithfully serve the people of Virginia and to treat all individuals with the respect and dignity they deserve. Through my tenure, I have also experienced moments where respect and dignity were not extended to me. However, as both a member of this legislative body and its current president, I am committed to uphold these values.”

She affirmed her dedication to equality and respect within the Senate and extended her apologies to Sen. Roem. “We are all equal under the law, and therefore, I genuinely apologize. My hope is that there can be mutual understanding and forgiveness when offences occur without intention,” Earle-Sears said.

It should be noted that Sen. Roem has the distinction of being the first openly transgender official to be elected to the Virginia legislature as a delegate in 2017.