A Republican councilman in Indiana announced on social media he identifies as a woman of color and a lesbian, sparking criticism from those who believe he is mocking marginalized groups and managing to be racist, homophobic, transphobic and misogynistic all in one fell swoop.
Ryan Webb, a Delaware County Councilman, took to Facebook to reveal his new identity, saying he had "decided to come out and finally feel comfortable announcing my true authentic self."
The government website for Delaware County indicates that Webb is married to his wife, Brandy, and has five children. In his announcement, Webb stated that he still preferred to be called "Ryan" or "Councilman Webb" and would continue to use he/him pronouns.
In an updated post, Webb wrote that he was likely "the very first lesbian woman of color in the history of Delaware County to ever serve on the Delaware County council," adding that he was "honored" to shatter the glass ceiling. He also used the hashtag "#GirlPower" in his post.
You can see Webb's post below.
"After much consideration I have decided to come out and finally feel comfortable announcing my true authentic self. It is with great relief that I announce to everyone that I identify as a woman and not just any woman but as a woman of color as well. I guess this would make me gay/lesbian as well , since I am attracted to women."
"Whew, that felt good to finally get that out there and start living life as my true self. I’m excited to bring some diversity to the county council. Until today we didn’t have any females of color or LGBTQIAPC+++ on the council. I’m glad that now we do!"
"To avoid confusion, everyone can continue to address me as Ryan or as Councilman Webb. I will also retain my my preferred pronouns of He/Him, however, this will in no way diminish my true identity as a woman of color. I’m excited to be a vocal partner of the LGBTQIAPC+++ movement."
"Who knows just how far we can take things, but I’m just glad that this is now possible so ANYONE can be ANYTHING or ANYONE they want."
"God bless America!"
He later added the following addendum with the hashtag #GirlPower:
"It has come to my attention that I am more than likely the very first lesbian woman of color in the history of Delaware County to ever serve on the Delaware county council. I am honored to be the one to shatter that glass ceiling."
Many have criticized Webb's behavior.
When asked for an on-camera interview by local news station WISH-TV, Webb declined.
But Webb provided a statement, explaining his family had received violent threats from "intolerant liberals" who did not accept his mocking bigotry with grace. He said he did not see how an interview could "improve the situation."
"It is unfortunate, but a group called Indiana Progressives has decided to organize a hate and harassment campaign against me and my family by publishing my address and encouraging people to unlawfully congregate at my home."
"I have to look out for the safety of my family, including our 6 children. There are people with serious mental health issues encouraging people who are unwelcome to come to my home, so I think it’s best to politely decline your on-camera interview."
Webb also noted he found it "unfortunate" he could not "simply be given the same space and respect to explore my identity that so many of those targeting me demand for themselves."