‘Lost in a Roman Wilderness of Pain’

MOUNT OLIVE – They came waving Pride flags with one goal – condemn Councilman Alex Roman for comments he made two weeks ago after the township passed a Gay Pride Month proclamation.

But Roman had his supporters too – residents who said his words meant no harm and after all, there is “free speech” in America.

The discussion at Tuesday’s council meeting was polite, which was a welcome respite in the often rancorous “culture wars” engulfing the state and nation.

In the end, Roman did not resign – as some demanded. But he did condemn “extremism” on both sides, saying those are the people who call others vile names, but offer no solutions to problems.

Let’s go back.

After the relevant proclamation was passed at the June 13 meeting, Roman spoke out.

He said he has always backed gay rights and opposed discrimination along sexual orientation lines. But the movement has changed.

Or as he put it that night, “morphed into something else.”

Explaining what that “something else” was, Roman spoke about “an ideology that encourages the outright mutilation of young boys and girls.”  Along those lines, he spoke of promoting the “surgical removal of healthy breasts and sexual organs.”

Moreover, Roman said the movement now “preys upon confused boys and girls. “The overriding notion that gender affirming surgery is “mutilation” and that gay rights supporters “prey” on young children is not novel.

It is commonly heard at just about any right wing gathering these days when the topic arises – as it always does. This thinking has even brought forth a new term to describe some of this – “groomers.”

Nonetheless, by any objective analysis, Roman’s comments were far outside the mainstream and had little relevance to the vast majority of lesbian and gay individuals today.

The response was predictable.

At this week’s meeting, the council chamber was filled with people, some of whom had to stand. There was the aforementioned waving of Pride flags.

But then something very refreshing occurred. There was actually a very constructive and civilized discussion – no yelling, no name calling and no snotty comments when someone else was speaking.

Sure, this is how public meetings are supposed to be, but when topics such as these are discussed, that’s not always the case.

“Children are not being mutilated,” said one speaker. Others said gender affirming surgery is not something people do because they “think it is cool.”

One young woman said that even “18 years is a long time to live in a body you are not comfortable with.”

Critics acknowledged that Roman was offering an opinion, but they said opinion should not be confused with fact and that opinions can hurt people.

On the other side, supporters said Roman is a good person, a good councilman and that calls for him to resign are incompatible with calls for “inclusion.”

One person speaking positively about Roman’s character, in fact, was Jade Kohut, a transgender woman from Jefferson who is a past chair of that township’s GOP committee.

When the public portion ended, Roman spoke to the subject again.

He again reiterated his support for gay rights, but also contended that the movement is “pursuing a far more extreme agenda.”

And he said that extremists on both sides have never done this country well.

Roman did not repeat his earlier comments about mutilation, nor did he apologize for making them. He summarily rebuffed calls for him to resign, saying that would be “cancel culture.”

The councilman’s earlier comments also drew a response from two of his colleagues on the all-Republican council.

Councilwoman Colleen Labow said they “disrupted the community.”

Mayor Rob Greenbaum was absent, but in a message read at the meeting called the comments “uninformed.”

Roman, who is up for reelection this fall, didn’t seem fazed by any of this.

“That’s politics,” he said.

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4 responses to “‘Lost in a Roman Wilderness of Pain’”

  1. You know how you can tell someone is a homophobic, transphobic bigot?
    It’s when they make remarks such as what’s quoted below and then try to claim they were “taken out of context”.

    Below are the words spoken by one Alex Roman, a right-wing member of the Mount Olive Township Council, at a recent meeting. He claims they don’t mean he’s a bigot. Many disagree

    “I knew it was only a matter of time before my words would be twisted and lies said. They cannot address the actual content of my remarks so they instead label me as a homophobe and a transphobe. Here are my exact remarks. Read for yourself:

    ‘Tonight a Proclamation was read into the record that on the face of it sounds innocuous and some may say laudable. A proclamation that in the past I was proud to endorse.
    But the Pride movement that started out urging lesbians and gay men to engage in protests to counter societal shame with gay pride and to demand equal rights and protection, has morphed into something else. An ideology that encourages the outright mutualization of young boys and girls. An ideology that can no longer define what a woman is and has no problem with men invading what used to be protected women’s spaces.

    ‘This movement preys upon confused boys and girls, convincing them that if they feel uncomfortable in their own bodies, that they may belong to the opposite sex or something entirely different. They advocate for the belief that if a 12-year-old girl, for instance, who is confused about her identity, should consider herself a boy and merely require puberty blockers to correct nature. All the while never acknowledging the long term irreparable harm that this causes. And if that is deemed insufficient, they even promote the surgical removal of healthy breasts and sex organs as a solution. A solution that may never be attained.

    ‘This new Progressive Pride Movement has managed to change laws in such a way that if a parent does not affirm the new sexual identity of their child that this is tantamount to child abuse and that their parental rights should be revoked.

    ‘Some tried to discourage me from speaking out tonight even though they agree with me. But that is not in my nature. I will not stand by and stay silent while our children are confused and mutilated. Just leave the kids alone'”.

    Just look at the phrases he uses:
    • “An ideology that encourages the outright mutualization of young boys and girls”. That’s straight out of Transphobia 101. Encourages? He can’t provide one instance where that’s true.
    • “no problem with men invading what used to be protected women’s spaces”. Ah yes, the gospel according to Riley Gaines, the hitherto former unknown college swimmer who had a meltdown after TYING FOR FIFTH PLACE with Lia Thomas, a Trans woman, in an NCAA Championship race–failing to mention that four cisgender women finished ahead of the two of them. She has now gone on to make a career out of promoting her transphobic hate on the public speaking circuit.
    • “This movement preys upon confused boys and girls”. Children who question their sexual identity are not “confused”, they are trying to find their place in the world.
    • “They advocate for the belief that if a 12-year-old girl, for instance, who is confused about her identity, should consider herself a boy and merely require puberty blockers to correct nature. All the while never acknowledging the long term irreparable harm that this causes”. Roman makes it sound so simple. It’s not, of course. The LGBTQ+ community doesn’t “advocate”, they “support” someone–including children–who are unsure of their sexual identity, or convinced that they are not the gender they believe they should be. And the real harm is in restricting them from their belief. The statistics on suicides from trans teens bear that out.
    • “they even promote the surgical removal of healthy breasts and sex organs as a solution”. Roman, no one makes the decision to undergo gender reassignment surgery without counseling and psychological examination–oh yeah, and minors cannot get the surgery, or any surgery for that matter, without the consent of a parent or guardian. And again, you cannot provide one shred of evidence to the contrary.
    • “This new Progressive Pride Movement has managed to change laws in such a way that if a parent does not affirm the new sexual identity of their child that this is tantamount to child abuse and that their parental rights should be revoked”. Of course, that’s completely false. The laws that have been not changed, but reaffirmed, have to do with a child’s right to privacy, free from forced notification by school administrators and teachers to notify parents of any signs of gender dysphoria, use of pronouns, or revealing confidential information. And as I’ve written previously, the issue of “parental rights” does not extend to a school “outing” a child to parents against their wishes. That’s why the state has sued four school districts over their plans to do this.

    So let’s sum it up: if it looks like a bigot, and sounds like a bigot, and talks like a bigot, then it’s most likely a bigot.

    That’s Alex Roman

    No wonder he’s been called upon to resign. Sounds like a good idea.

  2. Well written Mr. Snowflak. I think we are going to see a lot of positions taken during this up and coming election. We, common everyday folk will need to stay vigilant when deciphering between the facts, opinions and politics.

    I’m pretty sure we are still entitled to our personal opinions on all matters. These opinions will certainly vary, because we all come from different backgrounds e.g. cultures and religions and core values. As an example, while some people will do anything to care for and save their babies in the womb- there are others who find taking a baby’s life up to moment it is born. We are all different indeed.

    I often wonder to what extent people will allow government to seep into our lives. While I believe everyone is equal and no one should ever be marginalized, I personally feel this movement is allowing government to become too far reaching – whereby inserting themselves by way of our educational institutions to make their own demands regarding mental and physical decisions for children that are not their own.

    If we allow government to convince our children that the parents no longer have the right to interfere with the child’s life changing decisions- then things go horribly wrong – who will be held accountable? Who will be left to pick up the shattered pieces?

    Government and/or schools are neither the solution nor can raise a child. Yet, here we are. Like the COVID19 vaccines- people anxiously wait for government to control their lives.

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