CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The city’s deputy fire chief is being questioned by LGBT advocates after he allegedly shared what they call an offensive and derogatory Facebook post. The post and advocates’ responses come as Charlotte is currently debating whether to approve LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances.
UPDATE (Feb. 24, 2015, 9:12 a.m.): Dulin has been placed on administrative leave and has apologized for the Facebook post.
On Feb. 14, Charlotte Fire Department Deputy Chief Jeff Dulin shared a Facebook post featuring Bruce Jenner. The former Olympian is rumored to be undergoing a gender transition, though he himself has not confirmed them.
On one side of the image, Jenner’s original 1976 Wheaties cereal box is shown. On the right of the image, a more recent, feminized photo of Jenner is photoshopped unto a Fruit Loops box.
“I’m pretty offended. That’s pretty bad,” Paige Dula, a local transgender activist and educator, said after seeing the Facebook photo.
[We aren’t publishing the photo in this article, but you can see it by clicking here.]
Dula, a leader in the local Charlotte Non-Discrimination Ordinance Coalition, called the photo “childish” and “derogatory,” especially for transgender people.
“It shows what he thinks of transgender people or the LGBT community in general — that we’re to made light of,” Dula said.
Dulin, who has apparently taken down the Facebook post, steps into an increasingly divisive debate on transgender equality as the city considers several non-discrimination ordinance changes. Opponents to the proposals, which includes an update to a public accommodations ordinance, have focused their attention on transgender people, unfairly painting them as sick or mentally ill and linking them to sexual predators.
Dula said it was disappointing a city official would choose to target a minority, especially when emotions are already running so high.
“I would expect a lot higher of a city official, especially a high-ranking city official to not post something like this at any time, but especially now given the debate going on with the non-discrimination ordinance,” she said.
Dula is calling on Dulin to make a public, formal apology.
Neither Dulin nor Fire Chief Jon Hannan were immediately available for comment. Charlotte Fire Department’s public affairs office referred us to the city’s communications staff.
“We are currently looking into this matter and evaluating the content of the posts,” a statement from Charlotte Communications Director Sandy D’Elosua read. “Once it is determined if this is a policy violation or not, appropriate action will be taken.”