E. Winter Tashlin

Bigoted Interference Edition [What You Need To Know]

Filed By E. Winter Tashlin | December 14, 2012 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living, Marriage Equality, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: April Ashley, East Aurora School Board, GOP, Orange County Florida school system, Tammy Baldwin, transgender students


I've written before about how tired I am of the seemingly eternal debacle that is the East Aurora Illinois School District's policy/non-policy/policy debate on equality for trans* students in that district. In October, I recapped the situation and expressed my grave concerns that the district's plan to hold hearings open to the general public on the matter would turn dark and ugly.

Sadly, my fears were justified. With backing and organizational support of the Illinois Family Institute, classified as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center, more than 120 religious and conservative protesters showed up to picket the meeting. Some behaved in what has been described as a threatening manner, and speakers who supported trans* students were "hissed at, booed and shouted down by the protesters."

Ad Hoc committee member Joanie Rae Wimmer, an attorney who is herself trans*, in particular felt threatened by a protestor who singled her out publicly as being a threat to children.

As of this writting, the committee's chairwoman has chosen not to set a date for the next meeting, and the process seems, if not derailed, certainly stalled.

I'm terribly sorry that supporters of an inclusive policy, and Ms. Wimmer in particular, have been put in a situation where they feel (possibly rightly) threatened. But, as I wrote about in October, I'm even more worried about how this whole tragic mess has effected the trans* kids that this school district originally set out to protect.

Interestingly, a remarkably similar situation recently occurred twelve hundred miles away in Orange County, Florida (warning: link contains some problematic language).

A call to action from the head of the Florida Family Policy Council brought two hundred protestors to a meeting of that county's school district, which was seeking to implement a trans* inclusive anti-discrimination policy for teachers and students in order to bring the district into alignment with the county and the district's own anti-bullying policies. From available reports, it sounds like the protestors used language and strategies that neatly mirrored those used up north in Chicago.

The parellels between this story and the origin story of the East Aurora mess are striking.

I could be wrong, but it sure looks like the Illinois Family Institute and the Florida Family Council are using the same playbook to plan their respective strategies. However, despite a loud and somewhat fraught meeting in Florida, the Orange County School Board went ahead with implementing the policy in question.

It's certainly a pattern to watch out for moving forward.

And now, here's what else you need to know today:

  • As you saw in Wednesday's WYNTK, the South American nation of Uruguay is poised to legalize same-sex marriage. PRI's The World reports that this looks likely to lead to a modernizing of that country's baby naming laws as well.
  • April Ashley, the first UK citizen to ever undergo gender affirmation surgery, has been awarded the MBE for her decades of service to the trans* community.
  • A trio of queer students blogging anonymously from a conservative Christian college have created quite a stir, especially with the college's founder and chancellor.
  • With the end of 2012 rapidly approaching, After Elton has collected some of the most memorable and historic quotes involving the LGBT community from what was, by any estimation, a pretty remarkable year.
  • Having already dealt with her share of intolerance and injustice in the wake of her firefighter husband's death, Nikki Araguz is now shining a light on ignorance and bigotry at Houston Community College, where she's enrolled as a student.
  • The Pope has given his blessing to Rebecca Kadaga of Uganda, one of the biggest proponents of the proposed "Anti-Homosexuality Act," which calls for live imprisonment of LGBT people, and at times during the revision process has included the penalty of death.
  • America's first homosexual senator-elect, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, has landed seats on four Senate committees that deal with issues vital to the LGBT community.
  • Eastern Michigan University has elected to settle out of court for $75k with Julea Ward, the bigoted student who refused to treat a suicidal young gay person because doing so would have violated her Christian faith.
  • In Illinois, supporters of marriage equality in the state legislature believe that they are close to the needed votes to legalize same-sex marriage in that state.
  • House Republicans have quietly increased the cap on permitted expenditures to defend DOMA from $1.5 million to 2 million.
  • Pennsylvania may soon be facing a new push for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, thanks to Republican state representative Daryl Metcalfe.
  • Finally, maybe I was simply uninspired last night, but I couldn't find a single video that I really wanted to share with you this Friday. So if you've got an interesting or fun clip to usher out the week and bring in the weekend, share it in the comments below.
  img src: "The Call For Safe Schools by Flikr user basykes

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