Updated: June 6, 2023 / 09:34 PM CDT
Outagamie County Supervisor Timothy Hermes (Outagamie County)

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Outagamie County supervisors have made a decision on whether to verbally censure Tim Hermes for comments he made that many viewed as transphobic.

During a special meeting, supervisors voted to censure Hermes for the comments he made during a meeting on May 9.

The censure resolution carried 21-8.

Hermes compared biological men dressing as women to ‘blackface in the 1920s’ and said that people changing in restrooms that align with their gender identity is ‘disgusting.’

Groups in support of and against censuring Hermes both attended the meeting. They got to have their say during public comment.

“The comments made by this supervisor are not protected speech, they incite violence against transgender people,” said Jonnie Urban.

“Hate speech and hate actions have no place here,” said another supporter of the resolution during public comment. “Hate has no place in this city, on this county board, in our words or our actions. Let love above all else abide.” 

“It’s against the created order of God and it’s against science,” said a pastor who had said that he had traveled to Outagamie County from downstate to be at the meeting.

Supervisor Hermes had an opportunity to speak before the censure vote and double downed on the comments that he had made.

This is a developing story. Local 5 News will update this when we learn more.

Hermes censure vote tonight in Outagamie County

Posted: June 6, 2023 / 03:11 PM CDT

OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) – Outagamie County supervisors will vote whether to verbally censure supervisor Tim Hermes for comments he made that many view as transphobic.

Hermes compared men dressing as women to blackface in the 1920s and said that people changing in restrooms that line up with their gender identity is disgusting.

The vote will come during a special meeting at 7 p.m. Local 5 News has learned that multiple supervisors were involved in writing up the resolution and that the board needed a majority of supervisors to approve a special meeting to have the verbal censure vote.

Per a public information request, Local 5 News has learned that 26 of 36 county supervisors had requested a special meeting for the verbal censure vote.

Below is the full text of the verbal censure resolution:

“Approve of requesting the Chairperson of the Board verbally censure Supervisor Timothy Hermes for his conduct at the May 9, 2023 Board meeting in Appleton and finds the conduct of Supervisor Hermes to be damaging to the good reputation of Outagamie County, to be disrespectful and insensitive to members of our community, and to be inconsistent with the mission of Outagamie County, its employees, officers and the majority of the County Board of Supervisors.”

-Outagamie County Board resolution

The comments in question came during a May 9 meeting after a presentation from the county’s chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer Major Cooper. Local 5 News obtained a full audio recording between Cooper and Hermes:

HERMES: “I know women had to fight for their own sports and their own bathrooms and the way that I look at things is you have any man that can decide he wants to be a women. It’s kind of reverting a woman like a feeling like any grandmother, a mother, sister, daughter, any man can just be that. To me a man putting on a dress and putting on a woman’s face is the same as blackface in the 1920s. How do you justify that? Reverting women to a feeling that any man can be a woman. I just totally disagree with that.

COOPER: “I think it’s really about showing everybody dignity and respect. So how a person identifies we have to respect that and acknowledge it and make sure that they’re operating in a safe space. So I can definitely understand for some people it may seem, I’m not going to even acknowledge it as odd, but it may be a new idea. And a new way of thinking and approaching people. I think if you operate with an identity lens first and foremost see that person as an actual person, no matter what they identify as their gender there’s certain rights they deserve.”

HERMES: “But don’t you think a woman has the right to their own bathrooms and not a man pretending to be a woman going into the bathroom. That presents a lot of concerns for fathers, you have a man in a dress with a woman’s face on going into the bathroom by a little girl or trying to change in their dressing rooms I find that disgusting.”

COOPER: “I think this is all about changing the culture, I think what we’re looking at now as we provide a safe space for all that we have these places and spaces where we a family restroom. Where if there’s a situation where a father, like you said, has a young daughter and feels uncomfortable in the space of sending their young daughter into a woman only restroom or female-identifying restroom they can take them into that single stall family restroom and then lock the door and it’s just them two without any type of disruption. So I think that’s where we’re moving to make sure we are showing respect to all. I understand where you may have a fear of that or you have feelings of disgust. I acknowledge that but I also want to push back at you and say what happens when it’s your daughter who grows older and says you know what father I may feel like I need to transition because of how I feel and  I want to identify as a male. You will want that same safe space for them as they travel and really try to just exist. I think that’s where we really got to start to recognize that there are people who are different from us but then also put ourselves in their shoes and what if it was our family member? We would want the same rights for them as well.

HERMES: “I would have to go get counseling, is what I would do.”

COOPER: “I understand that, I recognize that and we will have more conversations around this because I think you have value but I also want you to garner that respect. Not to say you’re losing that respect but these are the people who are in our county and we want to make sure we’re respecting all.”