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Virginia Senate disrupted by exchange between senator, lieutenant governor

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(The Center Square) — The use of a male pronoun interrupted the Virginia Senate’s proceedings on Monday.

The state’s first senator to openly identify as transgender, Sen. Danica Roem, D-Prince William, addressed Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears, who presides over the chamber, with some questions. Sears seemingly offhandedly referred to Roem as “sir” in her second response to the senator.

Roem quietly and immediately left the chamber. After a few moments, several other senators also rose and left. Sears tried to continue with the agenda but obliged when Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, requested a recess. They reconvened minutes later, but the commotion still appeared to be interfering with the Senate’s business, so Sears put the Senate at ease.

Returning from the break, Sears sternly addressed the chamber.

“Let it be known, I am not here to upset anyone. I am here to do the job that the people of Virginia have called me to do,” she said.

She softened some as she went on but still demanded that she be shown “respect and dignity,” appearing frustrated with the interruptions from the incident.

“It is never my intention to make anyone offended, and I hope that others would consider that they would try not to offend me, as well.”

She also exhorted the body to show grace to each other in such instances.

The chamber returned to its normal proceedings.

Roem did not make a public statement on Monday and was silent on X, formerly known as Twitter, where legislators sometimes comment on chamber business.

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