Journalist Kit O’Connell got a copy of the new homophobic dress code distributed to the Texas Agricultural Department by Ag Commissioner Sid Miller.
Kit O’Connell exposes Sid Miller
A good friend texted me with an article from the Texas Observer that he wanted me to cover. He suggested that I contact the author. After reading the article, it was clear that I needed to interview Kit O’Connell.
Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) Commissioner Sid Miller has received an avalanche of media attention about a new memorandum that requires agency employees to dress “in a manner consistent with their biological gender.” First reported by the Texas Observer on Monday, the policy forces transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming employees into the closet by preventing them from expressing their gender identity.
In a Wednesday morning appearance on Spectrum News 1 Austin, Miller doubled down on his anti-trans bigotry.
“When a man comes dressed in drag or vice versa, it’s very disruptive; it’s not professional,” he told Spectrum. “We want you to come looking like you’re professional and representing.”
Miller further insisted that the policy revision was necessary after workers returned to the office after the pandemic.
“After COVID, when everyone was working from home, in their pajamas on their couch, they kind of brought that same attitude back to the agency,” Miller said, equating trans self-expression with having poor fashion sense.
The policy has been widely condemned by both legal experts and LGBTQ+ rights groups, who have suggested it could land the department in legal hot water. It is unclear how the policy could be implemented without threatening the rights of queer and trans workers.
O’Connell used this interview to enlighten the listener about gender issues. He pointed out that there is a difference between sex and gender. He also points out that the homophobic dress code change should not be surprising as Ag Commissioner Sid Miller’s Twitter feed is decidedly homophobic.
It is clear that for O’Connell, this is personal. In a country that is as polarized as we are, actions of this type are not only traumatic for employees but put one’s employment at risk. It is one story after another in these Red States. They continue to create discriminatory environments.