Pastors from North Carolina have backed Asheville Pastor Ronald Gates after he misgendered a former member of the Asheville City Board of Education last year.
On Friday, supporters of Pastor Gates at Greater Works Church of God in Christ came together in Asheville from 33 congregations in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
O’Conner resigned from the school board after a open comment was made by Pastor Gates. Her resignation came two weeks after a tense exchange at the Nov. 16 school board meeting, when Pastor Ronald Gates of Greater Works Church 1 in Asheville misgendered her during public comment. O’Conner is a transwoman, whose pronouns are she/her.
“Mr. O’Conner disrespectfully, unprofessionally ripped up my submittal,” Gates said before board chair James Carter gaveled him down, saying “I’m sorry you cannot do that. That’s not allowed.” O’Conner chimed in, saying, “Mr. Gates, I will ask that refrain from bigotry and hate speech. That is not my gender.”
“He’s not alone,” Bishop Patrick Wooden said. “We love him. We believe we love everybody. We love people. We are not here driven by hate. But we are also here to say the Biblical truth still stands.”
Bishop Wooden wore a rainbow on his clothing during the event, which he said he was reclaiming from the LQBTQ community, since it was, he said, created by a higher power.
Ignoring requests from the board chair to speak about issues pertaining to the school district or yield his time, Gates later said, “If the blood was drawn, it will be X-Y, which is a male.”
Some local pastors have been keeping a distance from Gates after the fallout from his remarks at a school board meeting.
Peyton O’Conner resigned from the Asheville City Board of Education two weeks after a tense exchange with Gates during a meeting where she was misgendered.
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