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Oklahoma House employee releases apology for email about ‘cross dressers’

Oklahoma State Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY – An employee at the Oklahoma House of Representatives is apologizing for a controversial email that was sent at the Oklahoma Capitol this week.

On Monday, about 70 teenagers from Tulsa went to the Capitol to meet with lawmakers regarding HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

While the teens were speaking with lawmakers, an email with instructions about bathroom usage went out to workers at the Capitol.

The email read:

“As per the Speaker’s offices, pages are being allowed access to the ladies restroom across from 401, for today. Again, there are cross-dressers in the building.”

The email immediately sparked outrage among many advocacy groups.

“That is the people’s house. It’s not owned by a group of lawmakers. It’s our house. It is where we should be able to go to advocate for ourselves,” Troy Stevenson, with Freedom Oklahoma, said.

NewsChannel 4 went to the Speaker’s office on Monday, but received a written statement.

“The email was not authorized by me, my staff or my office. It was sent unilaterally by a House staff member without any input or permission. I was unaware that such an email was being sent, and the remarks contained in the email are not condoned by me or the Office of the Speaker. As Speaker, all Oklahomans should feel welcome in the Oklahoma Capitol building. We are looking into this matter, and it will be taken seriously,” said Speaker Charles McCall.

On Thursday, the employee who reportedly sent the email released her own apology.

“I sincerely apologize for the hurt my statements caused,” said Karen Kipgen. “I used a poor choice of words. I have learned from this incident to be more sensitive and to become more educated on this issue. I would ask for grace in this process and for forgiveness.”