The entire meeting can be viewed HERE, but you can fast forward to the public comments which is what this post is about. This is my commentary on the citizen speakers’ commentary.
One speaker, a high school boy, said that school needs to be a place of LGBT self-expression, implying that right now it is not, and I couldn’t help but think, “What does he mean by that?” What forms of self-expression are simply too dangerous for students to make in Loudoun County today? He never provided an example. He just used the word fear multiple times. He wanted the school board to understand that the reason so few GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance) members were willing to speak before the board was because they were afraid.
Loudoun already has a comprehensive anti-bullying policy in place. Why certain reasons for bullying should be held up as worse than others doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Is it worse to bully someone for gender nonconformity than it is to bully someone for being overweight? I don’t think there should be a hierarchy. All bullying is awful.
I found it to be atrocious that during the same public comment period an LCPS employee equated sexuality with race and equated racial segregation with current anti-discrimination policies. I really wish an example had been provided: what sort of expression of sexuality can a teacher not make today that he could safely make under a new policy? Why should students even be thinking about their teachers’ sexuality anyway? How is this appropriate in a public school setting? Students attend school for an education, not to learn what or who teachers find sexually attractive.
Another speaker, a mother of a transgender student, suggested purposely recruiting LGBT teachers. We should recruit teachers based on their qualifications, NOT on what they do in their bedrooms or what their gender identity is. Does LCPS purposely recruit Methodist teachers to support those kids who identify as Methodist? No, of course not. Sexuality is just one part of any given student’s identity. Why the laser-like focus on this and this alone? It’s a huge red flag.
She was talking out of both sides of her mouth.
On one hand, a teacher’s sexuality has no real importance when it comes to hiring: “Without expanding our nondiscrimination policy, LCPS is limiting our ability to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers who happen to be LGBT,” she said.
who happen to be
Meaning it’s a side issue. Something that shouldn’t matter.
And yet, seconds earlier she’d argued that LGBT students desperately NEED to see teachers who openly express similar sexualities, and she argued for purposeful recruitment of teachers based on their sexuality and/or transgender identity.
Later a lesbian high school student said that it is important for youths to be able to connect with adults at schools on LGBT issues. Youths should not be connecting with adults based on shared sexuality at school. This is HIGHLY inappropriate and puts vulnerable students into potentially harmful situations and also puts teachers into difficult positions that can be easily misconstrued as predatory.
She also said that LGBT students want an “older mentor who relates to our experiences.” Similar sexual attractions now equate to shared experience? Do these kids have ANYTHING else about their identity that they can connect with teachers on? Ethnicity? Biological sex? Economic class? Religion? Shared academic interests and hobbies? Is sexuality the ONLY thing that matters to these students? I keep seeing red flags all over the place. These are KIDS. Most school-aged kids are below the age of consent for sexual activity. So why is it so important for kids to be exposed to sexuality, especially that of adults, in school?
Another high school boy was able to list some specific examples of why he thinks LGBT needed special protections: some students use gay slurs amongst each other in a friendly joking manner, but by doing so they normalize the view of LGBT as being abnormal; and gay teachers can’t put photos of their partners on their desks or talk about their sexuality with students. But that was basically the extent of it.
An eighth grade girl who recently “discovered” that she is a lesbian expressed the opinion that people shouldn’t have the right to express their opinions about sexualities because it makes the school environment unwelcoming. This was a similar argument coming from other speakers.
From what I could glean, these speakers were interested in one thing: shutting people up. They don’t want it to be possible for anyone in the LCPS system, whether an employee or a student, to have any sort of commentary on LGBT sexuality and expression that could be considered critical or negative, because criticism or negativity from some individuals leads to all LGBT students feeling “unwelcome” and “unsafe.”