US: Lesbian councillor called ‘filth’ during council meeting

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A lesbian councillor from California was labelled “filth” by a constituent during a council meeting.

Jovanka Beckles, who sits on Richmond Council in California, received abuse from resident Mark Wassberg at the meeting

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, he said to her: “I’m going to keep coming up here and tell you how gays have no morality.

“You’re filth. You’re dirt. Because I have the constitutional right to say it.”

However, councillor Corky Boozé claims that she brought the treatment on herself.

He said: “She’s got a short fuse. Some people don’t care for her lifestyle. I don’t care for it myself, but she takes that in a homophobic way.

“I’m not homophobic… my ex-wife is a lesbian.”

Beckles, who has been a council member since 2010, spoke last year about regularly receiving homophobic abuse at City Council meetings.

Last month, she put forward a resolution to prevent the frequent interruptions at council meetings.

She said: “Rather than shut down the process, the resolution aims to discourage repeat interruptions, not bar any specific individual from City Council meetings.”

San Francisco State university Professor Robert Smith said:

“She has been subject to almost nonstop vitriolic attacks, but on the dais she’s handled it with remarkable decorum,” he said. “Despite everything, she’s very nonconfrontational.”

Beckes has herself been accused of racism, however, and previously told one heckler to “get out of my f***ing face”.