Supervisor Scott Wiener will be a featured guest this week at a Chinatown banquet sponsored by a group whose leader has made some remarkably transphobic statements and is part of a coalition that opposed gender-neutral bathrooms in public schools.

Josephine Zhao is a founder of AsianAmericanVoters,org and Better Housing Policies, according to her Emerge profile. She is one of the more radical landlord-rights advocates in the city, and even showed up to protest when Mayor Ed Lee and state Sen Mark Leno announced a bill to limit Ellis Act evictions.

She has been a strong supporter of Wiener, and has appeared with him at events.

Scott Wiener and Josephine Zhao campaign together
Scott Wiener and Josephine Zhao campaign together

According to the Chinese Language press, her group Better Housing Policies is hosting a banquet for Wiener Thursday.

In September, 2013, according to a translation of a World Journal article, Zhao appeared at a press conference opposing AB 1266, a measure by then-Assemblymember Tom Ammiano that allows public school students to participate in athletic teams and use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity.

Zhao’s comments:

Josephine Zhao, representative of the Asian-American Voters Organization stated that AB 1266 protects only 2% of those students who are transgender or questioning their sexual identities, yet offends and violates the rights and privacies of the other 98% of students.  Allowing male and female students to share bathrooms and showers will lead to public moral issues, violence, and even create conditions for more incidences of rape on school campuses.

The group she was a part of was trying to qualify a referendum to overturn the law.

The Sing Tao daily also covered the event and quoted Zhao saying the same thing.

Wiener has introduced a bill banning the city from doing business with North Carolina because of a state law the overturns local ordinances allowing trans people to use the bathroom of their choice.

He is running ads on Facebook promoting his stand.

And yet, it seems, he is fine going to a fundraiser held by a landlord activist who suggests (like some people in North Carolina) that gender-neutral bathrooms will lead to rape and moral decay.

I asked Wiener about the situation, and he told me he would give me a comment if I quoted it in full, which follows:

I don’t agree with all my many supporters in the community on every single issue, just as Jane Kim doesn’t agree with all of her supporters on every issue. I have a long record of support for the transgender community, including legislation expanding trans access to health care and obtaining funding for trans youth, for the trans march, and for the trans film festival. Indeed on Thursday my legislation banning city contracting with North Carolina and other states with anti-trans bathroom bills will be heard in committee.

I do not for a second doubt Wiener’s sincerity and his long record of supporting the trans community. But it’s hard to understand why, after his North Carolina bill is heard, he will be sitting with Josephine Zhao — who appears to support the positions of the right wingers in North Carolina — at an event promoting his candidacy in the Chinese community.