Dear School Board, You do not only represent cis gendered white children.
Following last night’s school board meeting (12/6/2021) and the questions asked by a school board member, I feel it is imperative that school board members learn correct terminology to use during, at the very least, public meetings when addressing LGBTQ+ policy.
The terms are transgender male or transgender female – they are not “boys who identify as female” or “females that identify as male”.
Another acceptable way to state this is female AMAB (assigned male at birth) or male AFAB (assigned female at birth)
These terms are important in accurately depicting an individual, showing respect, and certainly should be used when asking questions about whether or not a transgender female should have the right to use the locker room, restroom, or participate on the sports teams that matches her gender identity.
It will benefit all school board members to do their own reputable research into sex and gender identity from a biological standpoint as there is not a definitive answer on sex or gender and it is certainly more complex than male or female.
When discussing transgender females and their access to things that match their gender identity, the board member failed to include transgender males in their questions or discussion. There are both transgender males and females in our district along with non-binary and gender fluid students. It is important to address all individuals when addressing LGBTQ+ policy. In not doing this, it became apparent to me that there was a specific agenda at work. These are discussions that do need to happen and they need to happen without bias.
LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or queer and the + is for the plethora of additional ways that individuals identify their gender and sexual orientation.
There are many reputable avenues to educate yourself further on LGBTQ+ issues in order to effectively debate any topic that directly affects this population.
Furthermore, it is important to remind school board members that there is a separation of church and state set up by our founding fathers. If this was a Christian nation it would have been specifically and explicitly stated by those founding fathers that this is a Christian nation. Instead, in their great wisdom, they explicitly and specifically stated that there is a separation between religion and government. It is important as elected officials on a school board that each member understand this and debate based on fact, scientific research, data, and the overall good of students and that the debate not be focused on personal and religious beliefs.
As stated during the meeting, you have the right to believe what you will. However, you may not act in a way that harms another person because of those beliefs. Beliefs that disrespect or vilify LGBTQ+ individuals are harmful to children. This is easily seen in the data surrounding suicide rates of teens versus those rates with teens that identify as LGBTQ+ as well as the rates of violence against LGBTQ+ individuals. Children and teens who feel supported by trusted adults, feel represented in the school culture, and have a sense of connectedness to their community are significantly less likely to fall into those statistics whether identifying as LGBTQ+ or not. Because of this, it is vital that all marginalized youth are given the same respect and representation as all other youth in the student body.
The VERY least that board members can do to respect the citizens they represent, especially in a public forum, is to use correct terms, preferred pronouns, and names. This simple act validates and respects individuals and diminishes the harm done when terms, pronouns and names are not honored. If you cannot see your way past your personal beliefs to respect others in this way, then it is clear that you have no place as a public servant. You do not only represent cis gendered white children, but the wide variety of amazing children in our community.