WATCH: A documentary series about trans pioneers you really should see

Star3On Thursday, the Emmy nominations will be announced, and among the contenders is a webseries of documentary shorts called We’ve Been Around. Lasting just five minutes apiece, the episodes each have a different narrator, a different subject, but the same style and topic: Pioneers of the transgender community, from Sylvia Rivera and Marsha Johnson’s courage during the Stonewall riots to obscure trans people like gospel singer Little Axe and Civil War soldier Albert Cashier. And what’s great about the series is, you don’t have to wait for it to come on: The entire series is available on the Internet … and you can watch them all here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Ad on transgender people and public bathrooms set to air during RNC, DNC

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A new ad from FairnessUSA explains why it’s dangerous to force transgender people to use the wrong restroom.

Even as the nation mourns the deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Philando Castile in a suburb of Minneapolis and Officers Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarippa, Michael Krol, Michael Smith and Lorne Ahrens in Dallas, right-wing anti-LGBT forces continue to ignore the need to address the systemic racism at the root of the violence and instead focus their efforts on making sure LGBT people don’t have equal protection and transgender people can’t pee in public.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, July 12), one month to the day after 49 people were murdered in an Orlando gay bar in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on the First Amendment Defense Act, which would allow individuals, many businesses and nonprofit organizations to legally discriminate against LGBT people. It would, for instance, allow a privately-owned business to refuse to let an employee take time off to care for a same-sex spouse who was ill. It would also eliminate many of the protections for LGBT people enacted under the Obama administration

Donald Trump, presumptive GOP nominee, supports the measure, of course.

But there are those who are fighting back against the hate. FairnessUSA — a joint project of Freedom for All Americans Education, Fund, the Movement Advancement Project, the National Center for Transgender Equality and Equality Ohio Education Fund — will be airing a new ad depicting challenges faced by transgender people accessing public restrooms during both the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention.

The ad, which you can watch below, will have its national TV debut on Fox News Channel on Thursday, July 21, during the final night of the RNC in Cleveland. It will air nationwide again on MSNBC during the DNC in Philadelphia.

—  Tammye Nash

Ken Paxton files injunction against federal guidances protecting trans students

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Texas AG Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today (Wednesday, July 6) announced that Texas is leading a 13-state coalition asking for a preliminary injunction to block enforcement of “Obama’s bathroom rules.”

“Obama’s bathroom rules” refer to a list of guidances issued earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice to help school districts avoid discriminating against transgender students. Paxton and other right-wingnuts — including Chief Protector of the Bathrooms Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — insist that those guidelines, along with Fort Worth Independent School District’s comprehensive policy for interacting and protecting transgender students, put women and children in danger by allowing men to use the same public restrooms and locker rooms as long as the men/boys are willing to declare that they feel like a woman/girl that day.

Federal officials have noted that school districts that insist on discriminating against transgender people risk losing federal money because such discrimination violates Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools. Federal officials and federal courts have already determined that “sex” in this case means gender and includes anti-trans discrimination.

Paxton said, in his press release, “The nation’s schools, and every place of employment, are now in the crosshairs of the Obama administration, which maintains it will punish those who do not comply with its orders. Schools are facing the potential loss of funding for simply exercising the authority to implement the policies that best protect their students. Every employer is now being threatened for not bowing to anyone that identifies as the opposite sex.”

The press release then goes on to explain that the Obama administration is “attempting to rewrite Congress’ use of the term ‘sex’ in multiple federal lawsuits to now include ‘gender identity.’ If successful this radical change simultaneously opens up all intimate areas within schools and workplaces to members of both sexes.”

Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas, issued this statement in response to Paxton’s motion for an injunction:

“Equality Texas condemns Attorney General Ken Paxton’s refusal to acknowledge the existence of 1.4 million Americans who are transgender, and his choice today to target the most vulnerable segment of that population — transgender kids.

“Attorney General Ken Paxton has already wasted millions of taxpayer dollars, discriminated against his fellow Texans with taxpayer money, and deprived thousands of Texans of their dignity and respect in a losing effort opposing the freedom to marry. Now, the attorney general has determined to waste millions more in an obviously futile attempt to prevent our transgender citizens, and in particular transgender kids, from being afforded the most basic dignity to use the bathroom, despite the fact that the Fourth Circuit and various government agencies have made the law clear.

“His actions undermine federal protections for gay and transgender children. In particular, this injunction seeks to punish transgender students protected by Title IX and the U.S. Department of Education to harm Texans who have done nothing wrong.

“The actions being initiated today by Paxton will ultimately fail, just as they did with marriage equality. Attorney General Ken Paxton shows an obsession with discriminating against the LGBT community. Statements already made by Paxton demonstrated a shameful animus towards the transgender community, which will ultimately lead the Supreme Court to declare all laws unconstitutional which relegate members of the LGBT community to a second class status. The U.S. Constitution will never uphold blatant discrimination against our citizens.”

Following is a list of the 13 states filing for the injunction. The number in parenthesis following each state’s name denotes where, as of 2015, that state ranked, nationally, in terms of the quality of their educational systems:

Texas (31st); Alabama (39th), Arizona (48th), Georgia (35th), Kentucky (10th), Louisiana (43rd), Maine (20th), Mississippi (45th), Oklahoma (34th), Tennessee (28th), Utah (16th), West Virginia (46th) and Wisconsin (4th).

(These numbers are the School System Quality Ranking of each, according to a study conducted by WalletHub and based on “13 key metrics that range from student-teacher ratios to standardized-test scores to dropout rates.”)

And by the way, Ken Paxton is the same one facing has been charged with two first-degree and one third-degree felony counts of violating state securities laws, and similar state charges, too.

—  Tammye Nash

BREAKING NEWS: DOD’s ban on transgender servicemembers to end in July

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The U.S. Department of Defense announced today that its ban on open military service by transgender men and women will end in July.

“This final remnant of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will now be put to rest,” said Victoria Rodríguez-Roldán, J.D., director of the Trans/Gender Non-Confirming Justice Project of the National LGBTQ Task Force.

“This decision is a great victory for the many trans people who have served and sacrificed in the military over the years,” Rodríguez-Roldán continued. “They also served in fear of being discharged from the service for simply being who they are. Thankfully this now will change. We look forward to hearing more implementation details.”

The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus also issued a statement applauding the decision to lift the ban. Roddy Flynn, executive director of the caucus, said, “The entire LGBT Equality Caucus thanks the White House and the Pentagon for this historic policy change. The repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was an important step forward, but LGBT equality is not complete if the transgender community is left behind.”

Flynn added, “This country has the greatest fighting force in the world because we place readiness and security above arbitrary exclusion or discriminatory policies. Transgender service members should not have to hide their identity to serve their country. For too long these courageous soldiers have been forced to serve in silence.  Thanks to this new policy, we will have a stronger, more focused and more just military.”

Flynn said the caucus thanks Secretary Ash Carter for “his vision and leadership in bringing this discriminatory ban to an end.”

Retired Navy SEAL Kristen Beck and retired staff sergeant Shane Ortega, national transgender military liaisons with the Military Freedom Coalition, issued a joint statement: “We are elated at the news of the pending repeal of the transgender military ban and are thankful to everyone who worked so hard to see this day come to pass. We look forward to working with our military brothers and sisters to see successful implementation. We march forward into an age of greater equality.”

—  Tammye Nash

Task Force releases new resource for employers on trans inclusivity

Victoria Rodriguez-Roldan

Victoria Rodriguez-Roldan

The National LGBTQ Task Force and the District of Columbia’s Office of Human Rights today published “Valuing Transgender Applicants and Employees,” a “first-of-its-kind” resource to help eliminate discrimination against transgender and gender nonconforming individuals in the workplace.

The booklet offers in-depth “best practices” to help employers create “genuinely inclusive and welcoming” environments.

Victoria Rodriguez-Roldan, Trans/Gender Nonconforming Justice Project director for the Task Force, said in a press release, “Everyone, including transgender people, deserve a fair chance at a good paying job and the ability to provide for themselves and their families. Transgender people face formidable discrimination and harassment in the workplace. This new resource provides vital recommendations for employers and human resource specialists looking to ensure that transgender people are treated with dignity and respect in the workplace.”

Monica Palacio, director of the DC Office of Human Rights, noted that the District of Columbia  is “fortunate to have a strong law” protecting transgender people from employment discrimination. But most jurisdictions offer no such protections.

And even in places where protections are in place, Palacio said, “many times employers that want to create welcoming environments are unsure of how best to do that. We believe this best practices guide will be an important starting place for those employers that want to build transgender-inclusive workplaces.”

According to the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey report, 90 percent of transgender people in the U.S. report experiencing harassment, discrimination and mistreatment in the workplace. In 2015, the DC Office of Human Rights report “Qualified and Transgender” showed that 48 percent of employers surveyed appeared to prefer at least one less-qualified applicant perceived as cisgender over a more-qualified applicant perceived as transgender.

Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have explicit workplace nondiscrimination protections based on gender identity and expression.

Go here to read the report.

 

 

—  Tammye Nash

‘Deport Hate’ bike ride, picnic planned for Tyler’s Bergfeld Park on Sunday

LGBT people and their allies in and around Tyler will gather Sunday, May 22, in Tyler’s Bergfeld Park for the “Deport Hate: Bike or Hike Pride Ride.”

The gathering is being staged to “show some love” to a bicyclist who rides regularly through the city’s Azalea District, near the park, wearing a shirt that says “Deport LGBT.”

“This isn’t a gay pride rally, though the themes are to show LGBT faces and our allies,” organizer Hannah Morris wrote on the Facebook page announcing the event. “This is pride in our city, in our relationships with each other, in how we handle ugliness. And in Tyler, Texas, we come together and show support for one another to handle ugliness. Because we are proud citizens of this beautiful city.”

Bergfeld Park

Bergfeld Park, located near the center of town, is the park from which 23-year-old Nicholas West was abducted in 1993 before being driven to a gravel pit in Noonday and brutally murdered. His death made national headlines and helped spark efforts to pass an LGBT-inclusive hate crimes bill in Texas.

Jenell Volmer, who grew up in Tyler and was friends with Nicholas West, now lives in Austin. But she said she will be returning to her hometown for the rally on Sunday.

Nicholas West

Murder victim Nicholas West

“I came out on the front page of the Tyler paper after being interviewed at the Stop the Hate Rally we held after Nick was killed. I became an activist for a short period but my career took off and I gladly moved away from Tyler. … I still struggle with the emotions from that time and it continues to impact me to this day,” Volmer told Dallas Voice in an email, explaining why she will be returning to Tyler to attend the rally.

In a post on Facebook, Volmer noted that she was bullied and harassed and even assaulted in high school because she was gay. She said another classmate was “chased down by a car and shot in the head,” because he was gay. And while those events and Nicholas West’s murder happened more than 20 years ago, the cyclist’s jersey and the January 2015 murder of trans woman Ty Underwood in Tyler prove the hate still exists.

“I plan to show up in Tyler this Sunday on Harvey Milk’s birthday to join this event to peacefully show East Texas that families and every day people oppose this message of exclusion and hate,” Volmer wrote. “Please join me in Tyler.”

The event begins at 11 a.m. at the park, at 1510 S. College St. in Tyler. Participants who are willing and able will participate in a hike or bike excursion along a route through the Azalea District that’s less than a mile long and chosen with those who are differently-abled in mind. After the bike/hike, participants return to the park to continue with their picnic.

Organizers have asked that those who attend keep in mind that this a peaceful gathering, intended to not be confrontational but rather show the diverse face of the LGBT community to the Tyler community at large. They have asked that those attending be mindful of not littering (no confetti please) and that if they encounter the “Deport LGBT” cyclist, not to engage him in any way.

They also encourage participants to wear “their fanciest handmade ‘DEPORT HATE’ shirts.”

—  Tammye Nash

AG Paxton issues yet another statement on Department of Education’s guidance on trans issues

Ken Paxton

Texas AG Ken Paxton

In his latest effort to protect the innocent, helpless women and children of Texas and the rest of the U.S., Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has issued yet another statement condemning the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice’s letter — issued last week to in response to requests from school officials around the country for such guidance on how to deal with transgender students — after having joined two other equally concerned and protective state AGs in sending a letter to the Obama administration.

The other two officials signing the letter to the administration are Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt, and West Virginia AG Patrick Morrissey.

Paxton said, in part:

“The so-called ‘significant guidance’ issued by the Obama Administrations raises more questions than it answers, just as it creates concerns among anyone who believes sex is a biological fact and not a personal preference. As billions of dollars appear to be at stake based upon schools’ compliance with this guidance, the Obama Administration must be extremely clear about what is and isn’t allowed, and explain how their actions do not add requirements to the law, as their letter claims.”

Read the full text of their letter to the administration here.

—  Tammye Nash

Lives in the balance

Death of local trans musician makes the cost of hate obvious

Leslie McMurrayBack in 1986, Jackson Browne released an anti-war song called “Lives In The Balance.” The lyrics of that 30-year-old song ring just as true today in the fight for transgender equality as they did in ’86 when the Iran-Contra scandal was coming to light: Lives are in the balance and people are dying.

The last couple of weeks have been pretty insane. My Facebook feed has been relentless with reminders that I am transgender and there are people in power and in pulpits that don’t want me to exist.

Just in the past few weeks:

• North Carolina passed HB2 restricting transgender bathroom rights.

• Pay Pal, Bank of America and dozens of other companies came out in vocal support of trans people and opposing HB2.

• Calls to the Trans Lifeline nearly doubled after HB2 passed. (If you are in crisis, there is help. Please please please call 877-565-8860.)

• Oxford, Ala. passed a local ordinance similar to HB2.

• Jim Pruitt, mayor of Rockwall, Texas tried to get a discriminatory ordinance passed. It failed. I was asked to appear on WFAA Channel 8 news to talk about the hearing in Rockwall there.

• Target reiterated its policy in support of trans people.

• The extreme Christian fringe nutjobs announced a boycott of Target and sent men into women’s restrooms to try and make a point. They failed. The American Family Association — listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center — initiated this boycott.

• The Fort Worth Independent School District reiterated its policy of inclusion and respect for all students and issued guidelines to aid in following this already-existing policy.

• I appeared on radio in Sacramento, Calif. to talk about the issue of trans women and which bathroom they should use.

• Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick descends on Fort Worth for a hastily-thrown-together press conference to demand the resignation of FWISD Superintendent Kent Scribner over his support of equality.

• Dan Patrick speaks at the GOP convention in Dallas and goes on a media blitz to declare that trans students (who make up 0.3 percent of the population) using the bathroom is the biggest issue facing Texas schools.

• Similar legislation restricting access to sex-segregated facilities is pending in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin. Such bills have failed in Louisiana, Mississippi, South Dakota and Virginia.

And then, on Friday, May 13, trans woman Krissy Arnold takes her own life. Krissy played bass in a Dallas band called Mercury Rocket. I didn’t know her but her death affected me deeply.

Ordinarily, when someone commits suicide, it leaves those left behind wondering why. But in Krissy’s case, I don’t think I need to ask. I think I know.

I don’t think I’ve met a trans person yet that hasn’t at least seriously considered suicide — if not actually attempted it. Including me.

Look, it’s not that we are unstable; most trans people I know are unbelievably strong. You have to be. Being transgender is hard, unnecessarily so. Even under the best conditions, it’s difficult, painful and expensive.

For those who have had their friends or family turn away, it can be more than a person can take. The feelings of hopelessness can be overwhelming. When you are bullied or government leaders propose laws to restrict your freedom or religious groups tell you that you are sick and an abomination, it can push you to the brink.

I’m fighting depression myself right now. I admit it; this is hard to take. There is no break. It’s relentless.

Even those who mean well all want to talk about where I go to the bathroom and what I think about this law or that, or what I think about Dan Patrick telling people that trans women are a danger or threat to women and children.

I’m exhausted. I am tired of fighting for this most basic human right. I’m tired of defending myself and my brothers and sisters who have done nothing wrong yet are the targets of so much hate.

Krissy, I wish I had known you. I wish I could have been there for you. Most of all, I wish you were still with us. We need you. Your life was worth living.

I feel so heartbroken that people who are running for office don’t understand that their words can hurt. That their words can kill.

I wish that people who call themselves “Christians” would follow the words of Christ and love each other rather than trying to destroy God’s children —  like you, Krissy.

I cried when I heard you died. I cried long and hard, inconsolable tears. I mourn your loss and the loss of others like you — some dying at their own hand, and others being taken from us in violent murder.

My insides are in knots.

I am encouraged by the support of those who oppose HB2 — from Bruce Springsteen to the NCAA, Equality Texas and the HRC, my friends who are cis-gender who know me, love me and want to witness equality in my lifetime.

I really believe that we are on the right side of history and we will eventually prevail.

But as in any war, there will be casualties. And they will be tragic.

We aren’t just statistics. We aren’t men in dresses. We aren’t a danger to women and children.

We are complex, living, breathing, creative, loving people with families. We deserve nothing less than full equality. We know who we are, we just wish that you’d get to know us.

Disagree if you want, but please, be civil. Your hatred is killing us.

Leslie McMurray, a transgender woman, is a former radio DJ who lives and works in Dallas. Read more of her blogs at lesliemichelle44.wordpress.com

—  Dallasvoice

A matter of public safety: Dan Patrick continues the bathroom battle

Patrick for web

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, above, encouraged public schools to tell President Obama that they “reject his 30 pieces of silver,” and to ignore suggested federal guidelines for protecting transgender students. (Tammye Nash/ Dallas Voice)

 

Tammye Nash  |  Managing Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com

 

“This is a matter of public safety.”

That’s what Texas Values policy analyst Nicole Hudgens said this morning on Dallas’ Fox 4 News about the battle over bathrooms raging across the country, and right here in North Texas in the Fort Worth Independent School District.

And you know what, Nicole Hudgens is right. Only, not in the way she claims.

On Tuesday (May 10), Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick showed up in Fort Worth for a press conference condemning the comprehensive guidelines Superintendent Kent Scribner issued in late April explaining the process for implementing FWISD’s 2011 anti-bullying policy related to transgender students.

Early this morning (Friday, may 13), the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice sent out a “Dear Colleague” letter offering guidance for schools nationwide on how, specifically, to prevent discrimination against transgender students. And Patrick, in Dallas for the Texas GOP Convention, hopped right up to hold another press conference in which he declared that the question of what bathroom or locker room transgender children are allowed to use at school is “the biggest issue facing families and schools since prayer was taken out of the schools.

(Point of fact, Lt. Governor: Prayer organized by faculty/staff in which all students are required to participate is not allowed in public schools, because it discriminates against those who have different religious beliefs from the majority. But no one has taken prayer out of schools. Student-led events with voluntary participation, like the See You at the Pole events, are certainly allowed. And go to any class on any test day, and I can guarantee someone there is praying!)

Patrick when on to declare that the letter — letter containing suggestions, not policy; but then, Dan Patrick doesn’t know the difference between a policy and a guideline, either — is “the most damaging domestic policy [President Obama] has put forth, and that’s saying something with this president” who enacted “Obamacare.”

Patrick ramped up the fear-mongering rhetoric even higher then, saying that the president is stealing food from the mouths of poor children since the federal dollars that could be withheld from schools that don’t protect transgender children is used primarily for free meal programs. The president is “attacking parents,” Patrick claimed, and forcing 14-year-old girls to shower with 14-year-old boys.

Patrick also noted that he’s telling all the school superintendents in Texas that the letter is not law, just “a recommendation with a threat,” and that they should ignore the letter from the U.S. Department of Education and not implement any of the suggestions. Don’t compromise, he told them, and don’t worry, those evils feds “are not coming and taking our children” on his watch.

The lieutenant governor urged Texas schools not to take “Obama’s 30 pieces of silver,” and not to let the president “blackmail” them. Just hold on until Donald Trump’s in the White House, because President Donald will know what to do!

Oh, and one more thing: The U.S. Department of Education sending a letter to schools with suggestions on how to protect transgender children is a government overreach and the federal government trying to meddle with local control. But Patrick descending on Fort Worth to insist that the local school district superintendent resign and the board repeal its anti-bullying policy is justified because these bathroom battles are “a state and a national issue.” And anyone who questioned the validity of him interjecting himself into FWISD business is a hypocrite.

He said more in his Friday morning press conference, but that’s the main gist of it: Federal over-reach … blahblahblah … coming for our children … blahblahblah … blackmail … blahblahblah … hypocrites … blahblahblah … and on and on.

But here’s the fact of it all: He is full of crap. So is Nicole Hudgens. Because as much as they and their ilk want to insist that this “isn’t about transgender people,” it is.

It’s totally about how a bunch of bigots don’t like transgender people because they don’t understand transgender people, and they don’t like the gays and lesbians anyway, and they are pissed off the homos can get married now but there’s nothing they can do about that because of the Supreme Court, so they are going after the trans people now because they are the easiest target.

They are trying to turn trans people into the big, scary, snarly monster in the closet — or in this case, in the bathroom — that’s just waiting for you to turn out the lights so they can come rushing out to rape their wives and eat their children. Why? Because when there is a monster, you have to have a monster-slayer, and people like Dan Patrick and Nicole Hudgens want people to think they are the heroes who will kill the monsters and keep them safe.

Except, in truth, they are the monsters.

But Nicole Hudgens, as I said at the outset, is right about one thing: This is a public safety issue. It’s about the safety of transgender people — men, women and children — who have, indeed, been and remain easy targets for discrimination, hatred and violence.

Take this stat, for instance, which Resource Center reminded me off this morning in a press release praising the letter from the Obama administration: According to the 2013 Texas School Climate Survey conducted by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network), 60 percent of students surveyed have experienced verbal harassment over their gender identity art school. And 23 percent of that harassment came from school staff members.

About one in eight — one in eight, people! — transgender students report having been physically assaulted at school, although most of the incidents went unreported because the students didn’t think anyone would take them seriously or do anything to protect them. And a national study conducted in 2007 indicated that more than half of all trans youth have attempted suicide at least once by the time they turn 20.

(Of course, Dan Patrick noted Tuesday that only about 1 percent of the FWISD students are transgender, implying that that’s not enough to warrant taking action to protect them.)

Nell Gaither over at Trans Pride Initiative today sent a statement praising the letter as well. And in her statement, she cited the 2011 study, “Injustice at Every Turn,” which found that nationwide, 78 percent of students expressing a trans identity or gender nonconformity in school face discrimination. Of those, 35 percent reported being assaulted, including 12 percent being sexually assaulted.

The rates in Texas, according to the study, are similar or higher: 85 percent experiencing harassment, 46 percent being physically assaulted and 9 percent experiencing sexual assault.

The study went on to note that trans and gender non-conforming adults have an overall lifetime attempted suicide rate of 41 percent, but that increases to 51 percent among those who have been harassed, 64 percent for those who were physically assaulted, and 68 percent for those who were sexually assaulted.

Last year, at least 21 transgender people were reported murdered in the United States. The actual number was likely much higher, because many such murders go unreported and/or the victims are misgendered in police and media reports.

From 2013 to the end of 2015, 53 transgender people were murdered, and not a single one was prosecuted or reported as a hate crime, according to a report by Human Rights Campaign.

Attempted suicide rates as high as 68 percent; 53 people murdered in two years. Yes, Nicole Hudgens, protections for transgender students are definitely a public safety issue. But it’s the safety of the transgender people that’s at risk, not yours.

It’s time you and Dan Patrick and all the self-involved and bigoted haters out there figure that out.

—  Tammye Nash

Dan Patrick coming to Fort Worth to protest ISD’s trans guidelines

Dan-Patrick

Dan Patrick is coming to save FWISD from the transgenders

Fairness Fort Worth was already asking for LGBT people and their allies turn for the Fort Worth ISD board meeting tonight (Tuesday, May 10) to show support for guidelines on how the district’s personnel and students are expected to interact with transgender students, faculty and staff, including guidelines on public bathroom use.

Now Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — who issued a statement yesterday calling for FWISD Superintendent Kent Scribner to resign for putting his personal political agenda ahead of the well-being of the district’s students — has announced he is coming to Fort Worth tonight to hold a press conference outside the school district’s administration building to, well, to say why his personal political agenda should be put ahead of the well-being of FWISD students. You know, this school district that Patrick has no children in, in a city where Patrick does not live.

There have been rumors that Glenn Beck, the right-wing radio host who also does not live in Fort Worth and does not have children in the district, will attend tonight’s meeting as well.

The guidelines, which have been under construction for about a year, are not new policy, but simply a more detailed explanation of existing policy. As such, they needed only Superintendent Kent Scribner’s signature to go into effect, rather than approval by the FWISD’s board.

Despite the uproar and Patrick’s call for Scribner to resign, FWISD School Board President Jacinto “Cinto” Ramos Jr. issued a statement Monday declaring the board’s support for Scribner:

“Mi querida gente. Rest assured, the safety of ALL children is our highest priority on the Board. We are completely capable of handling this in Fort Worth. We are applying the existing policy to make sure ALL children feel safe at school. We are here to look out for ALL children; not some, not most, but ALL children. ‪#‎AsiDerechito‬ con puro amor…no odio. ‪#‎WeGotThis‬.”

(Not sure about the translation, but I believe it says, basically, “We’re gonna do this right, with pure love, no hate.” The #WeGotThis is pretty obvious.)

Fairness Fort Worth President David Mack Henderson today re-issued the call for supporters to flood the board meeting tonight, and to wear red. But he also stressed the importance of supporters of Scribner and of the guidelines, behaving respectfully:

“If you are coming to the FWISD board meeting today we (LGBTQA community leaders) are asking people to please wear red, and we urge people to avoid letting agitators press our buttons. Some would like nothing more than to distract us. No thanks. Our kids come first. That includes those present tonight for athletic honors and also their teachers of the year who we rely upon. We want our message to be positive, clear and unequivocally grateful to Supt. Scribner and our trustees for true leadership. Our focus is to make sure ALL our students have equal and safe access to education with dignity. Please, help us keep our message clear and constructive and concise. Thank you all for making Cowtown proud!”

 

 

—  Tammye Nash