ABERDEEN, Wash. — A confrontation caught on video between a transgender councilwoman in Aberdeen and a business owner is drawing attention online. Both of the people involved in the yelling match say they've received support.
Councilwoman Tiesa Meskis, who identifies as a trans woman, confronted the owner of a Star Wars memorabilia store over a sign posted in the store.
“If you are born with a [expletive], you are not a chick,” read the sign written by Don Sucher, owner of Sucher & Sons Star Wars Shop.
"What he wrote there was so demeaning and so dismissive of who I am, who any trans woman is," said Meskis, who said she is in the process of transitioning.
Meskis accused Sucher of being a bigot, and posted a cell phone video of her confronting Sucher inside the store on Wednesday. In the video, when Sucher asked her to leave, she did, but the two continued yelling at each other outside the store.
“Trans women are women,” Meskis can be heard yelling on the sidewalk in the video, which she posted to Facebook and YouTube.
“You’re nuts,” Sucher yelled at Meskis during the more than five-minute long confrontation.
"I don’t care what they do, but don’t come in here and complain to me about stuff. I have free speech,” Sucher said in an interview with KING 5 on Thursday.
Sucher said anyone who doesn’t agree with him does not need to shop at his store. Sucher said he has received supportive phone calls from around the country about how he handled the confrontation, and the sign behind the incident.
"Everybody’s loved it. Everybody’s taken pictures of it,” said Sucher.
As for the councilwoman saying the sign was demeaning and hurtful? Sucher said he doesn't care.
“I don’t give a [expletive] about feelings anymore,” said Sucher, “I went to Vietnam to fight for all this [expletive]. Do you think I care about some [expletive] feeling? Absolutely not!”
Meskis said she knows Sucher has the right to say what he wants, but wanted to tell him to his face it was hurtful. "We are people. We are who we are and we all want to be accepted in our community," said Meskis.
Meskis had planned to have her supporters rally outside of the store on Saturday, and Sucher said he would look for his backers to offer him a show of support as well, but the demonstrations have since been canceled.