News (USA)

A school asked a hate group to review its non-discrimination policy. LGBTQ people are fighting back.

An unidentified man holds a sign that reads "Trans Rights Are Human Rights" at the Women's March on New York City on January 21, 2017 in New York.
Photo: Shutterstock

LGBTQ people and allies are standing up against a Virginia school board for failing to protect trans and nonbinary students while actively working with an anti-LGBTQ organization.

Earlier this month, the Hanover School Board reportedly voted to allow the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) – a Southern Poverty Law Center designated hate group that has been working with state lawmakers to push anti-trans legislation – to provide a legal review of its policy around equal educational opportunities.

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The policy does not explicitly allow trans students to use bathrooms or locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity. This is in violation of state law, which requires schools establish non-discrimination policies that include trans students.

As such, the school’s current policy is now the subject of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia.

“As of right now, students in Hanover County are really left to the kind of whim of their administrators of their school, or potentially even their teachers or guidance counselors about which restrooms to use,” the organization’s director, Eden Heilman, told WTVR.

Between the Board’s refusal to adopt a policy to protect trans and nonbinary students and its willingness to work with ADF, LGBTQ people and allies are fed up.

Organizations like Equality Virginia and the ACLU of Virginia have planned a week of action to support Hanover’s LGBTQ students. The week will culminate in a march to the Hanover Board of Supervisor meeting.

“We want to make sure they are appointing school board members that will think of all students when passing policy,” said Narissa Rahaman, executive director of Equality Virginia.

Hanover High School students are also taking action by planning a walk out on Friday.

This week, students, parents, and teachers also stood up against the Becker School District in Minnesota. During a board meeting, protestors turned out in droves  to disrupt an anti-LGBTQ presentation by the virulently anti-LGBTQ Minnesota Child Protection League (MNCPL), which has an entire page on its website devoted to “why gender ideology harms children.”

Throughout MNCPL’s presentation, hoards of LGBTQ and allied protestors chanted and yelled to disrupt it. They held rainbow signs and shouted, “Gay rights are human rights.”

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