2021-06-23 - 7:47 a.m.
I live in Loudoun County. I went to the school board meeting along with one of my trans kids as we felt it really important to advocate for teachers using pronouns of individual students and allowing a student to enter a bathroom with comfort where they can fit in with privacy(as opposed to requiring to go to the biological gender of choice bathroom) as well as advocate for Virginia school teaching ACTUAL history. (Not the whitewashed version with omissions.)
This is the state after all that celebrated Jackson Lee King Day up until 2000.
Senate Bill 601, which passed the House of Delegates on a 55-44 vote and the Senate on a 22-18 vote, was signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam, who endorsed it from the beginning"
I mean think about this: Virginia had a state holiday created for two Confederate generals when the rest of the country instituted Martin Luther King Jr. Day
It was JACKSON KING LEE DAY up until 2000 when the days were finally segregated.
I recall moving here and looking at the school calendar and being just astounded by this "holiday".
So I went to the school board as I really think it important Virginia does a better job of teaching ALL OF HISTORY.
On the topic of trans rights and bathroom usage:
If there is a kid who is trans
#1 the other kids won't necessarily KNOW as that is generally a very private thing what the actual genitalia at birth are.
We don't make point of concern about kids genitalia for obvious reason
IT IS IRRELEVANT
Its so odd as all the arguments that the parents and kids are making about how they want to be COMFORTABLE so they don't want a boy walking in the girls restroom
Don't make my kid uncomfortable.
As my trans child said in conversation: Just have McDonald's style bathrooms. DOORS and PRIVACY For all.
Its so darn simple.
My two college students' school made the shift to bathrooms without gender designation.
Amazing folks will be getting into impassioned arguments over something so basic and fundamental as the ability to go to a clean safe bathroom in peace and privacy.
The other issue- the use of actual names and pronouns that kids want to be called by is a HUGE ISSUE for retention of those students not just in school but in life.
The suicide rate among trans kids is high. 41% ( if I recall correctly) attempt their lives before age 18. I think of the dead neighbor boy Christian Sierra often. Our community is responsible for his death and as a community WE MUST DO BETTER. I refrained from brining the sign remembering and saying HIS name to the meeting. I thought of it- but out of respect for the family did not as they are not out there. It is their loved one, and even though the whole community is complicit in being afraid of anyone different so yes this is very related--
But I did want to SAY HIS NAME. I did want to show up FOR ALL the KIDS LIKE CHRISTIAN
I did call out Christian Sierra as I do want our community to recognize
WHAT WE DO MATTERS
And more teens will live. The 41% goes down to something between 4% and 12% when a Trans kid has ONE accepting adult in their lives.
One can understand the despair when you consider that these kids get the message that they do not belong.
They get the message often enough from their own families.
FOR MANY SCHOOL IS the ONE SAFE HAVEN.
What perplexes me is why that is threatening to some parents in this area. I honestly don't get it. I don't get what their fears are based on. I figure to help them see perspective and change hearts to be more open minded one has to understand and address their fears.
But their fears are hard to identify and articulate with any actual clarity.
They seem so amorphous.
A lady there to go into the school board meeting in line did engage in conversation and said "They want to impede our way of life and how we raise our kids"
I inquired as wanted to know more. I wanted to understand what she believes is being threatened?
NO ANSWER to my question as to what inclusion of critical race theory teaches that is anthical or threatening to the VALUES that this lady sees as important. NO answer as to where there is a CONFLICT or something being taught that THREATENS these parents in their ability to form their children's character with values they are teaching.
No naming of the disconnect.
There was none.
Just an amorphous fear is the sense I am getting.
The chanting of "Shame on you" and "Recall the board" the loudest messages when the school board shut off further public comment. The "arguments" if can call them that prior to such shut down of comment that I heard for the time I was in the room (not all that long as waiting for space to open up. We arrived late as usual as I had things on the TO DO to finished before I left and then my teen awoke and wanted to come too.) ranged from a prayer for exorcism of evil and Jesus coming down to make all right, to attacks of the school board saying they were inciting hatred and bigoted, culminating with Dick Black's comments resulting in a cheering and jeering crowd. I personally thought that there was no point in the school board sitting there for a few more hours hearing more of the same. It was an organized crowd there and they were all expressing the same thing so it seemed like a sound move on part of the board after Dick Black spoke to make a motion to shut down further public comment.
I did not however sense there was a VIOLENCE to this crowd. There certainly was alot of anger and they were escalating. So it was a very good move proactively to end public comment BEFORE there were issues.
I just wanted it to be clear these are not the only parents in the county so thought important to be a presence. There was a rally outside with those in support of the changing policy, the LBGTQ community and its allies there. But they all oddly left prior to the board meeting. They gathered between 3:30 and 4:30 and then packed up for the most part to get the heck out of there. That surprised me as I honestly felt like the presence of support needed to be shown AT THE MEETING as well.
I did not want these parents calling the board bigots to be mistaken for a majority in our county without some other view represented. Neither my kid nor I had any intention of speaking as heck more than enough already doing that. We just wanted to be present and my kid wanted trans students to be SEEN.
So again, as to the arguments against recognizing trans students by their pronouns and the arguments against inclusion of critical race theory:
The rational I heard were pretty much the same -
Seemed so disconnected from the reality of what critical race theory in education is actually about. (Teaching history)
So the closest thing to an answer the lady asked in inquiring what is is she wants preserved that she feels is being threatened was :
"We want the schools to just teach reading , writing and arithmetic. They need to stick to basic education and let parents teach social values"
to which I said
The thing is, if one sanitizes history and make is oh so white denying the facts of Black American's experience, and teaching history only from consideration of the very Southern perspective is that not teaching , IMPLICITY White Supremacy?
Disregarding the stories of all but the white community, highlighting only accomplishments of white folks and denying even Martin Luther King Day as a holiday?
Denying Juneteeth as a holiday?
Is not disregarding that there can be a SHARED CELEBRATION Among all races and colors and creeds in our mixing pot celebrating end of enslavement for all people just more of the same of a denial of actual history in an attempt to continue to leverage and weigh the benefits in society for white folks but not actually include others?
Because if we acknowledge others equally, hear their stories, recognize their history we then recognize their presence fully in the NOW and then we need to collectively allow all to the table when decisioning and creating how we want our society to navigate and exist moving forward.
I for one welcome the change. It can't come too soon. I am sick of divisiveness.
I think the sooner we collectively stop bickering over changes happening and embrace the changes the better off we all will be.
YES There will be power shift. YES there have been power shift.
But again its kinda the funny thing about love, or resources, there really is not a limit to any creativity.
But fundamentally I feel like that is where the fear really comes from.
If we open up allowing others at the table, will we still have the hearty meal we have ben enjoying?
YES I believe we will.
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