Virginia Beach Human Rights Commissioner and Unity Temple No. 14 Grand Sheik Kenick El is facing both condemnation and praise for posting his personal views about LGBT people. His Facebook posts state that he won’t abide by transgender using the restroom and said that gay people are an abomination with a ‘secret agenda’.
Facebook removed some of those posting after being reported as hate speech.
Hampton Roads Pride board of directors responded today with a letter to Mayor Dyer and Members of City Council questioning Kenick El fitness to serve on the Human Rights Commission. The letter also asked for diversity training for current members and that better vetting takes place in the future for prospective commissioners.
During a phone interview with 13News Now, El said the posts are his own “personal views” and do not reflect the position of the Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission.
“I felt like it was very important for me just to express my views on my page in a very sincere, polite manner,” he said. “I made it clear in the message, I’m not speaking on behalf of any organized group.”
He said he felt compelled to speak out because he didn’t agree with people “imposing” and “promoting sexual behavior” on others.
El said he “loves everyone” even though he may “disagree” with another person’s sexual orientation.
“I don’t think people trying to take posts from Facebook and make a public debacle out it is appropriate,” El said. “I think we have a right to freedom of speech according to our constitution and freedom of expression.”
Sylvia Nery-Strickland, Chairwoman of the Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission, said in a statement:
“Brother Kenick El is speaking as an individual and does not speak on behalf of the Human Rights Commission (HRC). We are a commission, appointed by and serving at the pleasure of City Council. The HRC is a very diverse group of individuals who come together for the common good and equality for all. However, each commissioner has individual beliefs, and we do not always agree. I personally do not agree with the postings and other commissioners have contacted me and they do not agree as well, but rather support and value our fellow LGBT commissioners, family members, friends and supporters.”
ABC 13 reported Oct. 22 On the heels of the Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission recommending that city council members ask the state general assembly to ban gay conversion therapy, a member of the commission described homosexuality as an “abomination to the Human Race” and a “mental illness.”
Kenick El took issue with the ABC 13 report saying on his personal Facebook page that he voted for the conversion ban calling such treatment “inhuman”.
Kenick El posted this on his Facebook page. They were among comments he wrote after sharing a news story about a transgender woman being convicted for the sexual assault of a 10-year-old girl in a bathroom.
Kenick El misrepresented that crime by omitting the fact it occurred in a bathroom in the home of the child and not in a public restroom as he led his readers to believe. That would qualify as hate speech by encouraging his followers to commit acts of violence against transgender people should they see us in a public restroom.