In a stunning act of rebellion, Justice Department employees gave a standing ovation to a woman who publicly lambasted Attorney General William Barr about his recent efforts to dismantle protections for transgender Americans.
Barr and DOJ employees had gathered in the Department’s Great Hall for an event celebrating the ten-year anniversary of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded federal hate crime law to protect LGBTQ people.
Shepard, a gay college student, was brutally murdered in a homophobic attack in Wyoming in 1994. His parents, Judy and Dennis, were invited to attend Wednesday’s event — and decided to use it as an opportunity to question the Trump Administration’s record on protecting LGBTQ Americans.
They wrote a statement which was read aloud by Cynthia Deitle, the director of programs at the Matthew Shepard Foundation.
"We find it interesting and hypocritical that (Barr) would invite us to this event commemorating a hate crime law named after our son and Mr. Byrd, while at the same time asking the Supreme Court to allow the legalized firing of transgender employees," Deitle said. “Mr. Barr, you cannot have it both ways.”
Deitle added that if Barr believes that transgender employees are not worthy of protection, then she “need not invite us to future events at the Department of Justice that are billed as celebrating the law that protects these same individuals from hate crimes."