Supporters of transgender rights held a rally this weekend in Hastings, Minnesota in response to the mistreatment of the chair of the school board, who is also the mother of a transgender child.
Last month, Hastings School Board Chair Kelsey Waits’ daughter was outed as transgender by a vindictive conservative parent. An online mob accused her of forcing her child to be transgender and she moved away from her dream house to protect her family.
Waits was first elected to the school board in 2017 and was eventually elected chair of the board, making her a lightning rod for criticism during the pandemic, especially about mask mandates.
“I probably got about the same number of emails from parents saying, ’My child is not going to school if masks are required’ as ‘My child is not going to school if masks aren’t required,'” Waits told CNN.
Waits was raising two children at the same time, and her younger daughter Kit, who was assigned male at birth, was identifying as a girl since she was around four-years-old.
She didn’t want her daughter’s identity to be made public, but a Facebook group formed called Conservative Parents of Hastings this past July, where people constantly criticized her. And then someone outed her daughter.
“She should be locked up for child abuse,” the conservative wrote. “Her younger ‘daughter’ is actually a boy.”
Others called her and her husband “woke parents” and claimed that she had somehow turned her daughter transgender.
“This was my most precious secret. The thing I protected most and the thing I was most afraid of ever being used in a political way because for me, this isn’t political. This is my family, this is my child,” Waits later said when she found out that Kit had been outed. “I dropped to the floor, and I cried.”
The hatred was covered in the local paper and Waits said that people who never even knew her daughter before she started living as a girl intentionally used the wrong pronouns for her.
Waits lost reelection this year, which she said wasn’t a priority to her anymore. Her husband Chris said it felt like a relief, that the hatred and harassment would stop.
But it didn’t. And the Waits were forced to move to another house whose address people don’t know.
CNN covered the story last week, which led to an outpouring of support for the family. Afton Indivisible, a progressive organization, helped organize a rally for the Waits that took place on Saturday.
Several local and state-level Democrats showed up at the rally, and Leigh Finke of the ACLU of Minnesota spoke.
“Kit’s trans identity was turned against their mother,” Finke said. “This is a despicable, vile act that must be condemned.”
“Take a look around,” she said. “This is what happens when trans kids are attacked. We show up. We show up and that’s not going to stop.”
“It’s about a mission and both oars in the water, all hopefully being on the same song sheet, and that’s very important to note,” Hastings School Board member Brian Davis said at the rally. “Not only is the school board election supposed to be nonpartisan, they are nonpartisan on purpose. Because it doesn’t matter where you sit in terms of your overall politics. It’s about these children.”
“It’s not about red or blue or any of that, it’s about the children. So we need to make sure that going forward we’re all in that place.”
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) also tweeted support for Waits after the rally concluded.
Today, I told @KelseyWaitsMN that I stand with her family. Minnesota must recommit to creating an inclusive society that puts love over hate and fear. Everyone deserves to live in a state that values them for who they are – especially our kids. #istandwithkit https://t.co/jyWw4SHf74
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) December 4, 2021
The Concerned Parents of Hastings Facebook group was deleted by its administrators.