SEIU 500 Issues Statement Concerning McLaurin’s Troubling “Circus Freak” Comment

From SEIU Local 500 Executive Director David Rodich:

“It has come to our attention that SEIU Local 500 Political Director Mark McLaurin made what we believe to be insensitive and inappropriate statements regarding members of the transgender community in a semipublic online forum recently.

We wish to make clear that Mr. McLaurin was not speaking on behalf of SEIU Local 500 or its members. We do not support any statements that are meant either implicitly or explicitly to denigrate any group of people. Such speech has no place in our union or in the labor movement. We deeply regret any pain caused to anyone in the transgender community by his comments.

We at SEIU Local 500 hold an unwavering belief in the rights and dignity of all workers regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or identity, age, sex or religion. We believe our strong advocacy on behalf of both marriage equality and legislation to provide protection against discrimination for transgender individuals is evidence of that commitment. Every day we work on the shop floor, in our communities and in the political arena to advance those rights and respect for all workers.

We have addressed our concerns with Mr. McLaurin and have been given his assurance that he is committed to the values supported by SEIU Local 500, and that he will strengthen his efforts to ensure that his expressions and characterizations regarding all members of our community reflect the sensitivity and support necessary to be a representative of SEIU Local 500.”

Marti Abernathey is the founder of the Transadvocate and the previous managing editor. Abernathey has worn many different hats, including that of podcaster, activist, and radiologic technologist. She's been a part of various internet radio ventures such as TSR Live!, The T-Party, and The Radical Trannies, TransFM, and Sodium Pentathol Sunday. As an advocate she's previously been involved with the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance, Rock Indiana Campaign for Equality, and the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition. She's taken vital roles as a grass roots community organizer in The Indianapolis Tax Day Protest (2003), The Indy Pride HRC Protest (2004), Transgender Day of Remembrance (2004), Indiana's Witch Hunt (2005), and the Rally At The Statehouse (the largest ever GLBT protest in Indiana - 3/2005). In 2008 she was a delegate from Indiana to the Democratic National Convention and a member of Barack Obama's LGBT Steering and Policy Committee. Abernathey currently hosts the Youtube Channel "The T-Party with Marti Abernathey."