Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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LGBTQ & Fairfax County School Board

5/26/2017

Below is the email sent to local clergy from Rev'd Tuck Bowerfind, and after that is a posting from the FCPS Pride organization (FCPS Pride is not an organization of Fairfax County Public Schools).

Dear Jeanie
 
Fairfax County School Board has been getting a lot of resistance from faith based groups in the county with regard to their student handbook regulations on their policy of recognizing transgender students. To see the regulations as they were released July 1, follow this link: TransRegulations
 
Here is an example of a faith based memo sent to some households in Fairfax County to encourage them to express objection to school district changes to the non-discrimination policy that would include transgender students in particular and LGBTQ students in general.
 
I realize there is a wide range of views on this topic, so please don’t take offense to my request for support in favor of non-discrimination policies.  In fact, if you oppose the transregulations in FCPS feel free to use the memo in the link above to express your opposition.
 
For the past year my wife, Delea and I, with the support of St. Luke’s Vestry, have been convening a support group for transgender teens, including a teen in our congregation and several others who attend different FCP schools. In light of the May 12 assault of a transgender student and the continuing resistance being presented by some faith based groups in the county, I would like to write a letter from a faith perspective supporting non-discrimination in county schools.  (Note: May 12, 2017, a girl in a Fairfax County school was attacked, suffering bruises and a concussion. The family asserts that this followed on a discussion in her class about whether she is a girl or a boy, and the attack was because of her transgender status. ) 
 
I wonder whether any of you would be willing to write the Fairfax County School Board directly? I have also asked Aisha Huertas, Susan Goff, and Shannon Johnston for their support.
 
In addition, I would like to ask you to consider encouraging other Episcopal clergy in Fairfax County to write the Board and show up at a school board meeting 7pm May 25 in the auditorium at Luther Jackson Middle School at 3020 Gallows Rd., Falls Church. There is not a vote on or board discussion of FLE scheduled that night.  This would just be to show solidarity. The FCPS Pride group will be there with buttons for people to wear.   I realize this may conflict with Ascension Day services.  There will be another opportunity to attend a school board meeting on June 22.
 
Current FCPS Policy Status:  The Fairfax County School Board voted in a closed session on July 19, 2016 to delay implementation of the regulations. They are waiting for the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on whether or not to stay the mandate of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals directing school systems to accommodate Transgender students. Although courts are unpredictable, our best estimate is the the Supreme Court will not take this case, thus permitting the mandate to stand. We strongly encourage the school board to move forward as soon as possible after that ruling; Transgender students and their parents who have waited 16 months for this are losing their childhood. 
 
If you can attend May 25: It is possible that some anti-LGBT speakers will also speak. Our presence is needed.
Come a few minutes early and get a small rainbow flag to hold in support, and a pink sign. 
If you make your own sign, pink or fuscia is the color. Signs must be 8 12 by 11 or smaller. Wear purple.
Be sure to stay civil and polite, regardless of what is said in opposition, and despite how outraged we may be. 
Avoid references to other people’s religion or politics, or use of the words “hate” and “bigot.”
 
Note: there will be a need for folks for a small silent protest on June 8, and more speakers on June 22, so never fear if you can’t make that night.
 
If you are interested in speaking, contact Robert Rigby at president@fcpspride.org
 
A)     Below are some of the unfriendly things said at school board meetings:
“There will be shemales in the classroom”
“Don’t touch my son; don’t you get near my son” (said to a trans employee testifying)
A chant of “Child abuse” aimed at a mother testifying about her trans child
“Evil, evil” as an outburst when a trans person gave video testimony
“The Rockville Rapists were not transgender, but they well could have been”
“You may regret your vote at the hour of your death, or soon thereafter”
“A 250 pound cross-dressing male in the ladies’ bathroom”
 
B)      From Elizabeth Schultz, school board member from the Springfield district: 
i.                     In December 2015, a link on twitter to an article that said: “transgenders (sic) are men who have mental illness and sexual perversion;” and that school systems which allow students to use the facilities consonant with their gender identity “facilitate the sexual abuse of young girls.”
ii.             In the summer of 2016, a tweet with the picture of a member of our community, saying this: “Why question aggressive agenda? This person went in girls bathroom >w/ young children present at #FCPS Board mtg*”; after being questioned on this, Ms. Schultz sent the tweet again two weeks later.
 
iii.            At a Forum about Fairfax County Public Schools sponsored by the Family Research Council on May 5, Ms. Schultz said: “Certainly that comes to pass. If you were a biological male and you’re identifying as a female and you’re allowed access into the locker room and you’re aroused, is that sexual harassment? Now, an actual aroused male in a girls’ locker room isn’t sexual harassment. It sounds funny but it’s not.”
 
C)     Most alarmingly, on May 12, 2017, a girl in a Fairfax County school was attacked, suffering bruises and a concussion. The family asserts that this followed on a discussion in her class about whether she is a girl or a boy, and the attack was because of her transgender status. 
 
Faithfully
Tuck Bowerfind

From FCPS Pride:

Friends,

We will have several speakers at the Fairfax County Public Schools school board meeting on Thursday May 25, during “Citizen Participation.” Our speakers plan largely to ask the school system to retain Family Life Education lessons that are inclusive of LGBT people, and teach about Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation. Some speakers may address the challenges met by transgender students in being participants in any Family Life Education curriculum.
In the past year LGBT students have been verbally assailed in this public forum and others, with some pretty unfriendly language, including some statements by school board member Elizabeth Schultz. Recently a physical attack on a trans student has come to light. This is described below. Although we may make reference to this on May 25, our focus for that meeting remains Family Life Education.
The meeting is in the auditorium at Luther Jackson Middle School at 3020 Gallows Rd., Falls Church. It begins at 7:00 with the pledge, announcements and a series of awards; then comes the Citizen Participation part. That segment should be done by 8:30, although the board will continue to discuss the budget much later into the evening. There is not a vote on or board discussion of FLE scheduled that night.
It is possible that some anti-LGBT speakers will also speak. Our presence is needed.
Come a few minutes early and get a small rainbow flag to hold in support, and a pink sign. If you make your own sign, pink or fuschia is the color. Signs must be 8 ½ by 11 or smaller. Wear purple.
Be sure that we stay civil and polite, regardless of what is said in opposition, and despite how outraged we may be. Avoid references to other people’s religion or politics, or use of the words “hate” and “bigot.”

Note: there will be a need for folks for a small silent protest on June 8, and more speakers on June 22, so never fear if you can’t make that night.
If you are interested in speaking, contact Robert Rigby at president@fcpspride.org

A) Below are some of the unfriendly things said at school board meetings:

“There will be shemales in the classroom”
“Don’t touch my son; don’t you get near my son” (said to a trans employee testifying)
A chant of “Child abuse” aimed at a mother testifying about her trans child
“Evil, evil” as an outburst when a trans person gave video testimony
“The Rockville Rapists were not transgender, but they well could have been”
“You may regret your vote at the hour of your death, or soon thereafter”
“A 250 pound cross-dressing male in the ladies’ bathroom”

B) From Elizabeth Schultz, school board member from the Springfield district:

i. In December 2015, a link on twitter to an article that said: “transgenders (sic) are men who have mental illness and sexual perversion;” and that school systems which allow students to use the facilities consonant with their gender identity “facilitate the sexual abuse of young girls.”
ii. In the summer of 2016, a tweet with the picture of a member of our community, saying this: “Why question aggressive agenda? This person went in girls bathroom >w/ young children present at #FCPS Board mtg*”; after being questioned on this, Ms. Schultz sent the tweet again two weeks later.

iii. At a Forum about Fairfax County Public Schools sponsored by the Family Research Council on May 5, Ms. Schultz said: 

“Certainly that comes to pass. If you were a biological male and you’re identifying as a female and you’re allowed access into the locker room and you’re aroused, is that sexual harassment? Now, an actual aroused male in a girls’ locker room isn’t sexual harassment. It sounds funny but it’s not.”

C) Most alarmingly, on May 12, 2017, a girl in a Fairfax County school was attacked, suffering bruises and a concussion. The family asserts that this followed on a discussion in her class about whether she is a girl or a boy, and the attack was because of her transgender status.

 


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