Blatant Bigotry?

Hand it to the folks at Best Value Plumbing to spread some holiday cheer. It seems that a fellow member of Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church contacted this plumbing company to help with a stopped drain at a rental home that he owns.

You have to read his email:


I wanted to take advantage of modern communication methods to tell you quick story – so please forgive the mass e-mail.

I have a little rental house, currently occupied by a delightful couple who are courteous, responsible people Charles and Sandra. They’ve lived there for a year and a half, and on Monday they called with the first problem ever – the shower drain is stopped up. Liquid Plumber isn’t helping.

Well, I’m no plumber myself, so I called Best Value Plumbing to arrange for them to go over and take care of it. All is fine, right?


The owner at Best Value Plumbing called me back to ask if it was two guys living there: Sandra seems to have a really deep voice he says. Yep, Sandy does have a deep voice – the guy at Best Value guessed correctly that she used to be a man.

So he says he’s not sending anyone to house with a transgendered person living there. He wouldn’t send a guy to clean out a shower drain in a house because the woman of the house didn’t start off life that way.

So what do we do? Shake our heads and say “oh what a shame?”

I’m not asking you to, but if you find this as outrageous as I do, you might give them a call and tell them what you think.

It’s Best Value Plumbing, 689-1150, if you’re curious.

You might also pass this e-mail on to anyone who you think would be interested in NOT using their services.

I truly cannot think of anything constructive to say.  This is just another example of blatant transphobia that seems so prevalent in this country.


Another party actually called the plumber to complain.

Ma’am, you have NO idea what the real story is.

He (I am assuming the proprietor, Clifford Sands, Jr.) told a somewhat different version in which Sandra, the tenant, and Will,  the landlord both jumped to the conclusion that he was transphobic.

Mr. Sands called the tenant’s house, Sandra answered, and her voice was deep.  He referred to her as  “sir,” and she took offense, shouted expletives at him on the phone and hung up on him.

Mr. Sands then called Will, the landlord, back to tell him what happened, and that he wouldn’t be servicing the home he was concerned for his safety (what with the tenant yelling at him and cussing him on the phone) and Will lost it, too, used expletives and hung up on him as well.

Next thing he knows, he’s getting hate calls.

The internet is a powerful tool.  It’s like a loaded gun.  Don’t point it, unless you’re willing to pull the trigger.

Curiously, I am always called ma’am at the McDonalds drive-thru, but am frequently called sir on the phone.  I try, but my feminine qualities don’t always translate over the telephone.  After I give the other person my name, Carla, and they continue to  call me sir, then I do get bent.

If this plumber is a bigot, I hope he loses business.  If he is not, I hope his business grows.

As a transperson, unfortunately, we always have to be better than the average citizen.  It’s not fair.  It’s also not fair that we always have to be on guard against transphobia.

For better or for worse, here is the plumber’s information:

Best Value Plumbing
Clifford Sands Jr.
6515 Clinton Hwy
Knoxville, TN 37912-1121
(865) 689-1150

If you feel so inclined, call them and give them hell or kudos.