Members of the LGBTQIA+ community call out Sheriff Hooper for a Facebook post
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Members of the LGBTQIA+ community are demanding an apology from Nueces County Sheriff JC Hooper over a now-deleted Facebook post.
On Monday, the Corpus Christi American Federation of Teachers and Costal Bend Trans Alliance delivered books promoting LGBTQIA+ stories to members of the community.
AFT President Dr. Nancy Vera said Sheriff Hooper posted a photo of the event on the “South Texas Politics” Facebook page with the caption “wow.”
“It is clear from the way this message was posted and in the Facebook group it was placed in that it was intended to elicit backlash towards the event and towards our community, which it did” , said Deborah Rios, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens Para Todos.
On Friday, the AFT hosted members of other Coastal Bend organizations for a press conference to express their disappointment at Hooper’s comment.
“Our community has always faced backlash, especially from elected officials,” said Coastal Bend Trans Alliance co-facilitator Kitana Sanchez. “But it’s the fire that ignites our community to come together and stand up against people like Sheriff Hooper, against bullying. As a Latin trans woman living in Corpus Christi, I faced some situations that made me feel insignificant in this city.
“The problem with this specific case of fanaticism is that Mr. Hooper is not just another ignorant person on Facebook; he’s an elected law enforcement officer,” said Elise Hinojosa, head of the Island Spectrum of Sexuality and Gender at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “His actions resonated in the community and left us all wondering, ‘Are our gay citizens safe?'”
KRIS 6 News contacted Sheriff Hooper. He said he hadn’t heard from Vera about her job, nor had he been invited to the press conference.
Hooper said he didn’t want to comment, but mentioned his Facebook comment only said “wow”, but didn’t respond when asked what he meant by that or why he had deleted the comment.
Vera thinks Hooper meant more with his comment.
“I know someone asked me, ‘what if he meant, ‘wow that’s really something,’ or something?” she said. “Please don’t insult our intelligence, Sheriff Hooper. We know exactly what you meant, we know exactly what you said, and we’re not going to tolerate it. He didn’t even not posted on his own Facebook page, he posted it on a political page – which incites anger – this particular Facebook page If he says this in public, what should he say behind closed doors?
Vera said Hooper’s comment alienated members of the LGBTQIA+ community in Coastal Bend.
“He seems to forget that he has employees who are LGBTQIA+. He seems to have forgotten that one in ten students in our classes identify as LGBTQIA+. He seems to have forgotten that the hatred he has stirred up, along with other people, has done a lot of harm to our children,” she said.
Sanchez said Hooper’s comment won’t stop the LGBTQIA+ community from supporting each other and promoting their message.
“I will step forward and create a future, especially for young LGBTQIA+ people, that is safe, where they feel they can be their authentic selves,” she said. “I think if we’re able to reach a single child and make them feel validated, and they’ve chosen their family to help them, then we’ve done our job.”