virginia is for lovers

Why’s It Such a Problem Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Transgender Former In-Law Wants to Lobby Him on Queer Rights?

Virgina Gov. Bob McDonnell, who followed up his 20-year-old argument about how the Constitution doesn’t protect queers by removing workplace protections for them, certainly doesn’t want Robyn Deane out there talking the the public. That’s because Deane is McDonnell’s transgender former in-law; she is, she told a crowd in April during her activist coming out event, “father to three of the present governor’s nephews and nieces” and “uncle to five of his children, so that puts me kind of close.” Too close, for many.

It’s been more than a decade since Robyn spoke with the governor, a WaPo profile reveals, but that’s good enough for she to believe that relationship could build bridges.

It’s doubtful, however, that will ever happen. McDonnell of course knows about his former brother-(now-sister)-in-law’s situation, and he refuses to speak publicly or take questions about her. Their friendship — they were both named Bob — that began as a couple of 22-year-olds dating a pair of sisters has all but disintegrated.

Not that everyone is rushing to bolster her efforts. Not her kids:

Deane, who has been estranged from much of her family since she came out as a woman, says her children have made it clear they oppose their uncle’s — the governor’s — positions but that they also oppose their father using McDonnell’s name when lobbying. The children’s mother declined to comment for this article and also asked that her name not be used.

or the Democratic leaders Robyn hoped to lend her efforts to:

Sen. A. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond), who sponsored one of the nondiscrimination bills this year and has been a vocal advocate of gay rights, said several activists have told him they are worried that Deane will shift attention from the cause to her. “It’s incumbent to all of us to keep the issue front and center,” McEachin said. “The more all of us do to speak out about the issue, the more it becomes about the issue.”

or other LGBT activists:

Guy Kinman, a longtime gay activist from Richmond, said he was so disappointed with Deane’s strategy that he considered writing a letter to McDonnell to tell him he did not support her. “Robyn Deane caused deep embarrassment for the governor,” he said. “It is a private matter. I don’t think it’s any of your business.”

And it’s sort of like: Oh please. Here is a trans woman with a connection to Virginia’s bigoted chief executive, and we want her to go away? When her gender identity is as persecuted by the sitting governor as any other trans Virginian? Her ties to the governor are cause for her to stop “exploiting” that relationship?

If Barack Obama had a gay nephew or a trans first cousin, you can be damn sure we’d be begging him to headline just one fundraising gala, to appear in just one viral YouTube ad, to make just one statement on our behalf.