A Providence, Rhode Island, City Council member is resigning as the council's president pro tempore after apologizing for misgendering a transgender activist caught on an audio recording.
Councilman Michael Correia was referring to transgender activist Justice Gaines in the recording that was obtained and published by WPRI-TV in October.
The recordings captured Correia referring to Gaines, who was born a man but identifies as a woman, as "he" and then "it."
When first confronted with the recordings, an attorney for Correia said he was the real victim.
"Councilman Correia is the victim here," said attorney Artin Coloian in October. "He's been intercepted by what we consider to be illegal recordings."
Gaines responded to the audio recording in an interview with WPRI.
"I was hurt and upset and sad," Gaines said. "To have a city councilman mocking or making light of my pronouns or what being transgender means, when there are people in his ward who he represents who he's supposed to be fighting for who are like me, who are trans women, who are nonbinary … that's upsetting."
After public and media scrutiny, Correia changed his tune on Friday and apologized via a Facebook post.
"As a consequence of my actions, Today I resigned as President Pro-Tempore of the City Council," wrote Correia.
"I also met with Justice Gaines who was the subject of a conversation I was involved in.The conversation was inappropriate and offensive to her and all members of the LGBTQIA Community and quite frankly should be offensive to everyone. During our meeting I apologized to Justice and asked her to forgive me. She accepted my apology for herself but informed me that my bad behavior was much further reaching," he added.
"I understand these actions have broken trust between myself and the public and I am asking for the opportunity to earn back that trust through conversation and from working together with all our residents," said Correia.
Here's a news report with the audio recording:
Comments by councilman caught on tape are 'hurtful and disrespectful,' council president says www.youtube.com