At a meeting of a North Texas commissioners court, a woman testified about her personal struggles at work and with others who are ostracizing her because she cannot wear a mask.
She implored elected officials to be more clear with the public when relaying exemptions in mask mandates for those with health issues.
Both mandates contain exemptions for those with physical and mental health issues.
Texas Scorecard previously reported the story of a mother who was denied service and harassed by store employees and others when she refused to wear a mask due to a chronic condition.
At the July 7 meeting of Tarrant commissioners, a woman who identified herself as Jodie shared her story with the commissioners.
“I’m not able to wear a mask,” Jodie said. “I can tell you that there’s a lot of us who have been traumatized. Traumatized in our past—in our recent past. And a lot of it comes from judges.”
Jodie said she worked as an advocate for parents who have lost their children, who experience what she referred to as “parental alienation”—a situation Jodie said she has experienced. She gave personal examples of how traumatic events could be triggered by wearing a mask, saying, “Putting a mask on us causes more anxiety.”
“When you say there’s an exemption for those … like us, you’re not telling the public this loud enough,” Jodie emphasized. “The media makes fun of us for not wearing a mask, calls us ‘conspiracy theorists,’ says we’re cry-babies, [that] we’re using the [American Disabilities Act] to shield—that’s not it.”
“You say you’re disappointed by us; we’re disappointed by the judges who write these laws,” Jodie said as she held what appeared to be a county document and quoted comments by Whitley on those not wearing a mask.
“We’re very disappointed that we have to go out into the public, and I literally have people going like this to me,” she said, making a cross sign with her hands.
“I had talked with enough folks to understand the anxiety of wearing the mask and health issues wearing a mask, and I have said that when I talked about the order, and will continue to talk about that,” Whitley replied.
Other citizens had warned Whitley about the harmful side effects of mask mandates.
Jackie Schlegel, executive director for Texans for Vaccine Choice, posted that she had previously shared her concerns with Whitley about the effects government mandates were having on the special needs community “and the potential for increased hostility toward our loved ones if our community leaders did not include their needs in the conversation.”
Schlegel added that Whitley told her he would not mandate masks and would take her concerns into account when speaking with the public. Days later, he issued the Tarrant commissioners’ mandate.
“Not only did Judge Whitley flat out lie by mandating masks in Tarrant County just SIX days after our conversation, but he also cannot claim he was not adequately informed on the adverse outcomes his draconian policies would create,” Schlegel wrote.
She also expressed concerns with the statewide mask mandate.
Jodie added how financially hurt she’s been by government mandates in response to the coronavirus.
“I shouldn’t have to stay at home. I have to make a living to get the income back that was taken from me from these bar attorneys,” she said.
Though she’s able to work now, her difficulties haven’t stopped.
“I’m put in the back at my workplace because I’m treated like a leper, because I can’t wear a mask, and I think it’s wrong,” she said.
“All I need from a doctor is something that says, ‘This individual cannot be or should not be required to wear a mask,’” Whitley said. “I don’t need to know why. I don’t think anybody needs to know why.”
“What do we carry in public when we’re being harassed by people that wear [masks]?” Jodie asked.
She also said she would not submit to any testing for the coronavirus, and she was concerned about the possibility of a future vaccine mandate.
At last week’s Texas Republican Party convention, Gov. Greg Abbott said this about the statewide mask mandate:
“I know that many of you all are frustrated. So am I. I know that many of you do not like the mask requirement. I don’t either. It is the last thing that I wanted to do. Actually, the next to last.”
Jodie’s testimony can be viewed below.
Texans concerned about members of the mentally and physically challenged community being unduly harassed and not allowed to use their exemptions may contact their state representative, state senator, and Gov. Greg Abbott.
If you or anyone you know has had a similar experience from recent government mandates or shutdowns, we’d like to hear from you. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.