My Letter to the East Aurora, IL (Dist. #131) School Board re: their new trans-positive policy

For those who don’t know, the East Aurora School Board recently came under fire from the Illinois Family Institute (a designated hate group) for adopting a policy offering protections for transgender students & faculty. They are meeting tomorrow at 5:30pm to consider rescinding this policy. I encourage others to write the officials listed below. Here is my letter:

FROM:Parker Marie (____________@gmail.com)

TO: boardofeducation@d131.org, jroberts@d131.org

CC: info@d131.org,  dadams@d131.org, caird@d131.org, jglotzbach@d131.org, breyeschildress@d131.org, arodriguez@d131.org, grosado@d131.org, jbarraza@d131.org, rbassett@d131.org, mboyd@d131.org, nbradish@d131.org, ebrouch@d131.org, ccail@d131.org, ncarrillo@d131.org, sconrad@d131.org, fdelossantos@d131.org, mdemar@d131.org, cengland@d131.org, garza@d131.org, agroh@d131.org, rhedrich@d131.org, mhenson@d131.org, hkincaid@d131.org, nlittle@d131.org, amcmahon@d131.org, wmorales@d131.org, rpape@d131.org, mpatterson@d131.org

DATE: Thu, Oct 18, 2012 at 2:18 PM

SUBJECT: Protect the rights of transgender students

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing, pleading for you to not cave into pressure from the Illinois Family Institute regarding your recent adoption of policy to protect the basic human rights for transgender students & faculty within your district.

As you may not yet be aware, the Illinois Family Institute has been designated as a “hate group” by the non-partisan Southern Poverty Law Center.

Here are some choice words from the IFI’s Director, Laurie Higgins:

In 2009, Higgins compared homosexuality to Nazism, likening the German Evangelical Church’s weak response to fascism to the “American church’s failure to respond appropriately to the spread of radical, heretical, destructive views of homosexuality.” Elsewhere, Higgins has pined for the days when gays were in the closet. “There was something profoundly good for society about the prior stigmatization of homosexual practice… . [W]hen homosexuals were ‘in the closet,’ (along with fornicators, polyamorists, cross-dressers, and ‘transexuals’), they weren’t acquiring and raising children.” She’s also said that McDonald’s, because it ran a gay-friendly TV ad, is “hell bent on using its resources to promote subversive moral, social, and political views about homosexuality to our children.”

Most organizations don’t bother to take threats from the IFI seriously, which makes me ask, why are you considering abandoning a truly positive, progressive policy that will negatively impact 0 people? Did you know that more than 40% of all transgender individuals have attempted suicide? Compare that to the general population (1.6%). Why on earth would you move backwards on a policy, cowering behind fear, when you know this is an already suicide-prone group?

I am a transgender woman. Unfortunately, due to the schools I went to and the societal pressures working against feeling that way, I wasn’t able to come to terms with that fact until I was 26 years old. I went through some very dark times. Very dark times. Suicide sometimes seemed like a better option.

I was lucky to be able to hold on as long as I did. Others aren’t so lucky. Do you know what could have prevented 20 years of feeling like a broken person? Answer: a school not afraid to reaffirm me as an individual. A school that didn’t cave in to bullies like the IFI. A school that didn’t make me feel like less than a person.

Their fears are not based in fact. That’s the worst part. They claim there’s some sort of gay and trans agenda. There’s not. We just want to be treated like real people.

This isn’t about politics. This is about human rights. I certainly hope you realize and understand that.

Thank you for your time. Please feel free to reach out to me if there is anything I can help with.

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