News & Politics

Trans Oregon Official Who Created Mask Exemption for POC Said at Gender Confirmation: 'I Couldn't Wear This Mask One More Day'

Oregon has given us perhaps the most 2020 thing of 2020. The county commissioner who created the exemption to the mandatory mask order for people of color is a trans activist. Her famous quote, while completing “gender confirmation,” was, “I couldn’t wear this mask one more day.”

I’ll need a slide rule to calculate all this intersectionality.

Oregon County Exempts Non-Whites from Mandatory Mask Order

Governor Kate Brown ordered seven counties to mandate masks for all people who visit places open to the public, in further response to the CCP coronavirus pandemic. After Lincoln County, on Oregon’s coast, created an exemption for people of color to the mask order, they received unwanted attention from across America. So they canceled the exemption.

Commissioner Claire Hall told the press,

Initially, a Lincoln County commissioner said the board felt the exemption was the right thing to do due to concerns of racial profiling. It was the of the first counties in the US to exempt people of color from wearing masks to prevent racial profiling.

According to guidance from the Oregon Health Authority, businesses should take into account that requiring people to wear face coverings impacts everyone differently, including people of color who may have heightened concerns about racial profiling.

Commissioner Claire Hall says the county’s received a lot of feedback on both sides of the issue.

“Certainly, we’ve got a lot of very angry white people saying we’re out of our minds and worse,” Hall said. “I’d say our office has heard from at least a dozen people of color. You know one of them said aren’t you aware that the virus disproportionately impacts communities of color? And I said oh yeah absolutely. But also the same people saying that you know they fear an unintended consequence of a well-intentioned policy. Let’s say a person of color comes into our courthouse and chooses not to wear a face covering, they’re actually more likely to be harassed and profiled than if they don’t.”

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Then Twitter discovered Claire Hall.

Hall has served as a county commissioner since 2004. For the first four terms, Hall was known by the name given at birth, Bill Hall. Then, in 2018, Hall went through a very public transition:

‘I couldn’t wear this mask one more day’: A county commissioner named Bill becomes Claire

Bill Hall sat in a beauty salon near Portland and ordered the full work-up: beard cover, foundation, eyeshadow, mascara and lipstick in a bold pink. And for the final touch, a short auburn wig coaxed over his own graying brown hair.

Hall spun around to face the mirror. He saw Claire for the first time.

An incredible feeling of rightness settled in, a kind of peace that had eluded the Lincoln County commissioner for many of his 58 years. It was so much more than the surface trappings.

“This is what I expected to see looking back at me my entire life,” he thought, “and now it is finally real.”

The OregonLive article notes, if you haven’t guessed already, Hall is a political progressive. “As an elected official in the central coast county of about 46,000, Hall has made a name for himself as an advocate for homeless people, affordable housing and health care. It’s a nonpartisan job, but he’s largely popular with the more progressive population in the county, where commercial fishing, logging and tourism keep the economy alive.”

I don’t really have anything more to add here. I just continue to marvel at how 2020 has continued to unfold.

Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available at www.WhoOwnsTheDems.com. Jeff hosts a podcast at anchor.fm/BehindTheCurtain. You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff.

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