Another DISD trustee comes out in support of a bullying policy that protects gay, transgender kids

Bernadette Nutall

A second Dallas Independent School District trustee spoke out publicly this week in support of a bullying policy that provides specific protections for gay and transgender students.

Trustee Bernadette Nutall, who represents District 9, said she’s asked DISD staff to draft a proposed policy that protects as many categories of students as possible, including those who may be bullied on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

Nutall joins trustee Lew Blackburn among those who’ve publicly stated their support for an LGBT-inclusive bullying policy.

The district has been considering a new bullying policy, but as originally drafted by the DISD administration, the proposal didn’t include specific categories of students that would be protected.

Jon Dahlander, a spokesman for the district, suggested last week that a new bullying policy isn’t necessary because DISD already has an anti-harassment policy that includes sexual orientation.

But Nutall disagreed.

“Harassment is bullying, but how many kids come home and say, ‘Mom, I was harassed today’?” Nutall told Instant Tea on Wednesday, Oct. 27. “Can’t we just keep it simple?

“I think we need to be very clear, if you mistreat someone because they are different or because they’re not like you, there are consequences for your actions,” Nutall said.

Nutall said she was bullied as a child and currently has a daughter in middle school in the district. She also said she’s a devout Baptist but believes people need to set aside their personal beliefs.

“Ultimately you have to protect all people whether you agree with them or not,” Nutall said. “It’s not about that, it’s about you have the right to be who you are.”

Nutall said she’s forwarded to district staff copies of policies from places like Broward County, Fla., and Philadelphia that include sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

Despite likely opposition from the religious right, which is fighting LGBT-inclusive bullying policies nationally, Nutall is confident her proposal will receive support from a majority of the nine-member DISD board when the policy comes back up for a vote, which is expected to be sometime in November.

“I think I have the five votes,” Nutall said. “I do believe it’s going to pass without a problem.”

LGBT advocates have encouraged people in the community to contact their trustees and urge them to support a fully inclusive police. Contact info for trustees is listed on the DISD website.

—  John Wright

Palm Center calls out Gates – nearly 36 hours since DADT struck down, no ‘enormous consequences’

When our own Secretary of Defense starts to play the drama queen, you have to start wondering just what’s motivating him. Aaron Belkin of the Palm Center rightfully calls out Gates:

Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin had this reaction:

“Today, Defense Secretary Robert Gates declared that a federal court’s injunction of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ would have ‘enormous consequences for our troops.’ Secretary Gates added that permitting gay and lesbian troops to serve openly ‘is an action that requires careful preparation and a lot of training.’

“With all due respect, Mister Secretary, implementing repeal of DADT is not difficult, and you should stop saying that it is. Indeed, there were no reports of enormous consequences for the troops yesterday after the ban was suspended. There were no reports of problems today.

As you well know, gays and lesbians are serving honorably and openly today alongside their straight peers. For this reason, and as the RAND Corporation found in 1993, the lifting of a gay ban is not difficult if leaders insist that troops work together. A protracted process involving ‘a lot of training’ is not needed.”

It’s pretty clear the Secretary of Defense holds the troops in low esteem. He keeps warning about how dire it will be to give them a simple order. Funny, I always figured we had the best military in the world, yet all those other countries, including Britain and Israel, have let the gays serve without a problem. Yet when it comes to the US military, Secretary Gates would like us to think all hell would break loose. I don’t know about you, but I think more highly of our military than that. Too bad our own Secretary of Defense doesn’t.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

BYU student tells truth about why Mormons backed Prop 8; student newspaper axes letter

ABC 4 in Salt Lake City reports that a senior at Brigham Young University recently wrote a letter to the editor of the student newspaper, The Daily Universe, saying Mormons should be honest about whey they supported Prop 8. Cary Crall told the TV station that his letter was initially rejected, then turned into a full-blown op-ed, then pulled from the newspaper’s website and labeled offensive:

Crall wrote that Mormons ought to be honest about the real reasons they put so much time, money and effort into passage of Prop 8. After reading the decision of the federal judge in the Prop 8 case, he concluded there is little rational basis for many of the arguments for Prop 8. So if such arguments were not the real reasons for their support, then what? “The real reason,” he wrote, “is that a man who most of us believe is a prophet of God told us to support the amendment.”

“If the real reason for supporting the amendment is a privately held religious opinion and belief in a prophet — that a prophet is telling us to do it — then we need to be honest about that and take the consequences,” Crall told ABC 4. “I think the Mormon community owes that kind of introspection to the rest of the world for our actions in Proposition 8.”

Read Crall’s full letter at PoynterOnline.

—  John Wright