We’re weeks away from an enormously important election, the novel coronavirus continues to slam the nation, unemployment is sky-high, people are terrified of losing their housing, and, somehow, parents are still finding time to protest a (very mild) proclamation about supporting the LGBTQ community in schools. As reported by local outlet WPTV, parents attended a Martin County School Board meeting in Stuart, Florida, on Tuesday evening. The hot topic of the night was whether or not to move forward with a “proclamation” for LGBTQ history month to be recognized in the schools. 

According to the outlet, Victoria Defenthaler, the board member who proposed the proclamation, said, “Our young people need to be seen and to be heard and know they belong, and that’s what we’re talking about with the LGBTQ students.” But some in the community disagreed—and the proclamation ultimately did not pass.

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“I get it,” one father against the proclamation said at the meeting. “People of all different styles, all different types, all different kinds. Let our kids figure it out on their own.” What’s so wrong with that reasoning? Well, in a system that assumes cisgender identity and heterosexuality as default, many LGBTQ youths receive latent messaging that there is something inherently wrong or inappropriate with the way they (or their loved ones) are. As various studies have shown, LGBTQ youth experience higher rates of bullying and harassment than their peers. LGBTQ youth are also more likely to drop out of school without diplomas and experience homelessness. The very least schools should be doing is practicing explicit acceptance. 

There’s also the reality that when LGBTQ topics are washed from history, students, well, learn less-accurate information. LGBTQ people have been involved in all history, all movements, and the intersections of sexuality and gender identity have always been relevant. Talking about gay or transgender people from the past, for example, is a way to give students not only correct information but also positive visibility in a society that is rife with tropes and negative messaging about queer people. Interestingly, however, this particular proclamation didn’t even ask to change the curriculum. It was only about messaging. Sadly, this is far from the first time parents have argued against inclusive messaging here in the United States.

One parent even argued that “Little kids need their innocence,” but there’s nothing inherently mature or scandalous about being LGBTQ. 

“I’m a minority in that lobby and I’m a minority in life and it feels very apparent tonight,” one woman in support of the proclamation said. She added that the proclamation was a “step in the right direction” and said she applauded the effort. 

In the end, the board went for an anti-bullying resolution that supports diversity in more general terms, including support for clubs and groups for marginalized students, anti-bullying policies, and a diverse role model for students each week. This passed with a 4-1 vote. 

With so much going on in the nation (and the world) it’s easy to let small-scale instances like this fall into the background. But rights and equality for marginalized groups don’t stop being issues just because broader scale problems, like the literal pandemic our federal administration is failing to adequately handle, are getting the most attention. We know Republicans have no problem trying to quietly push anti-trans agendas while the nation is mostly distracted by the virus and a presidential election, and even on smaller scales like a school board meeting, parents apparently have no problem making time to counter inclusivity measures. 

We’re weeks away from an enormously important election, the novel coronavirus continues to slam the nation, unemployment is sky-high, people are terrified of losing their housing, and, somehow, parents are still finding time to protest a (very mild) proclamation about supporting the LGBTQ community in schools. As reported by local outlet WPTV, parents attended a Martin County School Board meeting in Stuart, Florida, on Tuesday evening. The hot topic of the night was whether or not to move forward with a “proclamation” for LGBTQ history month to be recognized in the schools. 

According to the outlet, Victoria Defenthaler, the board member who proposed the proclamation, said, “Our young people need to be seen and to be heard and know they belong, and that’s what we’re talking about with the LGBTQ students.” But some in the community disagreed—and the proclamation ultimately did not pass.

A lot of vote suppression shenanigans are happening in Pennsylvania, because it’s the tipping point state that will give Joe Biden 270 electoral votes. We must do all we can to win Pennsylvania, so we have cobbled together all get-out-the-vote activities available to win Pennsylvania. Volunteer today.

“I get it,” one father against the proclamation said at the meeting. “People of all different styles, all different types, all different kinds. Let our kids figure it out on their own.” What’s so wrong with that reasoning? Well, in a system that assumes cisgender identity and heterosexuality as default, many LGBTQ youths receive latent messaging that there is something inherently wrong or inappropriate with the way they (or their loved ones) are. As various studies have shown, LGBTQ youth experience higher rates of bullying and harassment than their peers. LGBTQ youth are also more likely to drop out of school without diplomas and experience homelessness. The very least schools should be doing is practicing explicit acceptance. 

There’s also the reality that when LGBTQ topics are washed from history, students, well, learn less-accurate information. LGBTQ people have been involved in all history, all movements, and the intersections of sexuality and gender identity have always been relevant. Talking about gay or transgender people from the past, for example, is a way to give students not only correct information but also positive visibility in a society that is rife with tropes and negative messaging about queer people. Interestingly, however, this particular proclamation didn’t even ask to change the curriculum. It was only about messaging. Sadly, this is far from the first time parents have argued against inclusive messaging here in the United States.

One parent even argued that “Little kids need their innocence,” but there’s nothing inherently mature or scandalous about being LGBTQ. 

“I’m a minority in that lobby and I’m a minority in life and it feels very apparent tonight,” one woman in support of the proclamation said. She added that the proclamation was a “step in the right direction” and said she applauded the effort. 

In the end, the board went for an anti-bullying resolution that supports diversity in more general terms, including support for clubs and groups for marginalized students, anti-bullying policies, and a diverse role model for students each week. This passed with a 4-1 vote. 

With so much going on in the nation (and the world) it’s easy to let small-scale instances like this fall into the background. But rights and equality for marginalized groups don’t stop being issues just because broader scale problems, like the literal pandemic our federal administration is failing to adequately handle, are getting the most attention. We know Republicans have no problem trying to quietly push anti-trans agendas while the nation is mostly distracted by the virus and a presidential election, and even on smaller scales like a school board meeting, parents apparently have no problem making time to counter inclusivity measures. 

Daily Kos