COLORADO SPRINGS — Dozens of protestors gathered on the steps of City Hall outside of the Colorado Springs City Council meeting Tuesday to demand accountability for council member Jill Gaebler's recent controversial tweets.
Last month, Gaebler retweeted a newsletter from Substack which expressed transgender women should be denied public accommodations and that the group is working to roll back the rights of "biological women."
"We don't need our government official saying hey these people don't deserve rights," said Ash Stephens, Rocky Mountain Pride Coalition. "I've lived in this city my whole life and you hear of people being transphobic and politicians doing it but you don't imagine it happening in your own city council."
"What Jill Gaebler did as a public official isn't appropriate. She shouldn't be downgrading a segment of her constituency which is one of the most endangered groups in the city," said Karen Stith, Colorado Springs PFLAG.
The Rocky Mountain Pride Coalition organized the "Keep Colorado Springs Inclusive Rally and Food Drive" to bring attention to the severity of Gaebler's comments.
"When a city council member can make those comments basically saying trans women aren't women, they're just predators going into the bathrooms and public spaces. It gives everyone permission to start attacking those people because if a trans person enters the bathroom, they are going to look at that person and say I remember what Jill Gaebler said about you and start interrogating them and chasing them out," said Stephens.
She organized the rally in hopes of not only gaining a response from Gaebler but city council as a whole.
"Right now we don't know where anyone on city council sits on this, and you guys are the ones making public policies on all of this. If there is silence around this issue and Jill Gaebeler's comments are allowed to stand, that's just saying we don't really care about these comments, we're aren't that concerned about these comments or secretly agree with these comments. We look to our representatives for guidance on things and if this happens and they're silenced then that lets everyone in my community know that we don't matter," said Stephens.
During the citizen's discussion portion of the meeting, Stephens along with other supporters spoke on the issue.
"I talked about Jill Gaebler's comments and how she said biological women need to be protected from trans women entering their spaces. Kinda making the assumption that assumption that trans women are predators and that trans women are just men pretending to get into these public spaces which is absolutely wrong," said Stephens.
While council members were advised not to speak on the issue, the comments prompted a passionate response from council member Yolanda Avila.
"I did put on my social media that no group should be targeted and that all people need to be treated with respect and dignity. I know how it feels to be targeted as a Latina so there is no room for any of that. I am in line with all people, all groups, all groups and to have that equity and equality," said Avila.
As one of the only council members to comment on Gaebler's tweets, Stephens appreciated her kind words.
"I liked her statement because she believes everyone should be equal and there should be equity and that's all we're asking for. We're not asking for you to understand everything that we're going through but we're asking for equality and equality. I thank councilmember Yolanda for giving that statement, especially since I'm in her district," said Stephens.
Going forward, Stephens says there needs to be more conversation regarding trans rights. With the upcoming election, she says the LGBTQ community is going to ensure those running for office support them.
Gaebler didn't comment during the meeting, but News 5 reached out afterward and we haven't heard back yet.