Austin-based right-wing lobbying group Texas Values is leading the protest against the San Antonio Independent School District’s new policy protecting LGBT students and employees in the district from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender express.
Opponents of the policy, approved by a unanimous vote during the school board’s August meeting, criticized the board for allegedly passing the new policy without adequate public input.
Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz — who apparently found his calling as an anti-LGBT zealot after his wife left him for another woman — said at a Monday press conference, “The parents weren’t given consent, why were [they] shut out of the process?”
(As an aside, when a reporter with San Antonio Current asked the about 30 people attending Saenz’s Monday protest how many were actually parents of SAISD students, only two raised their hands. But one woman in the crowd made sure the reporter knew they were all taxpayers.)
SA Current also noted that the protesters were angry over more than just their parental rights being disregarded. They were also basing their protests on “outdated, long-debunked theories claiming that transgender people are just mentally ill.” And Charles Flowers, pastor for Faith Outreach Center in San Antonio, also claimed that trans children are a threat to students who have been sexually abused.
According to the SA Current’s report, Allan Parker, president of the so-called Justice Foundation, which is in fact a far-right legal organization, said, “We are a binary sex species. A person’s belief that he or she are something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking. This is not something to be encouraged. We should treat these people with respect as people that have a disability. But we should not treat it like it’s normal. It’s not.”
The Current noted, “Aside from having no medical or scientific background, Parker has spent his career fighting against abortion access and women’s rights in Texas. Known for comparing abortion and evolution to concentration camps, Parker likened the new SAISD rule to a government plot.”
The new policy was actually proposed by a group of SAISD students who were concerned that LGBT students were being treated unfairly. And despite fear-mongering attempts by Saenz and his posse of bigots to link the policy change to bathroom access, SAISD officials said it was, in actuality, just a move to update and clarify existing policy.
District spokeswoman Leslie Price told MySanAntonio.com, “The updates to our nondiscrimination policies did not change how our facilities are used. We now have a more inclusive policy that ensures all students know they are respected and have the right to an educational environment that is free from discrimination, harassment and retaliation.”
Price said the district requires students to use the restroom facilities assigned to the gender on their birth certificates, but that the district will work with to provide single-occupancy restrooms when it is requested.
Price said, “The updates to our nondiscrimination policies did not change how our facilities are used. We now have a more inclusive policy that ensures all students know they are respected and have the right to an educational environment that is free from discrimination, harassment and retaliation.”