Yesterday evening, the Fairfax County Public School Board held a meeting, at which several Fairfax County residents expressed their views on LGBT protections and family life education in the schools (see below for video). I’ve included three of those speakers — two in support of LGBT protections and one (Andrea Lafferty of the rabidly anti-LGBT, extremist Traditional Values Coalition) — to highlight the stark contrast between understanding and ignorance, love and hate, inclusion and exclusion, acceptance and bigotry.
I was particularly impressed with the first speaker, a transgender student named Bennett Shoop. In my view, Shoop is courageous to speak out against “the outrageous trans panic epidemic,” which is making trans students “feel a little bit unsafe without specific regulations in place,” with some students actually “talking aggressively about their hatred and animosity for trans students.” As Shoop argued, that’s why Fairfax County needs to follow the federal guidelines for transgender students, as well as teach the family life education (FLE) curriculum to “dispel all the myths spread about us.” Shoop further pointed out that transgender students “pose no threat to anyone,” are actually “more likely to be assaulted in public restrooms than non-trans students,” and “we have no ulterior motive” but “live a lot of our lives in fear.” Exactly!
Josh Israel followed with a strong case for protecting LGBT students and faculty from discrimination. As Israel pointed out, “multiple studies have shown that inclusive curricula actually makes schools safer for LGBT students.” Israel argued that “LGBT youths’ rights must be protected” in Fairfax County schools, commended the School Board for the progress it’s already made in that direction and urged them to continue.
Finally, after those two sane, sensible speakers, I present to you…raw bigotry, ignorance, nastiness and weird obsession with oral and anal sex, in the person of Andrea Lafferty of the so-called “Traditional Values Coalition.” Lafferty starts off by mangling the English language, referring to parents’ supposed “lack of distrust and faith in you because of your arrogance and disregard for their parental rights and concerns.” Lack of distrust? I think she meant “lack of trust,” but whatever.
Anyway, Lafferty then proceeds to her litany of horrors, including sex education lessons (GASP!) on sexually-transmitted diseases, “oral and anal sex,” etc. As one attendee at last night’s meeting snarkily noted, Lafferty bemoaned the fact that “oral sex is mentioned 10 times and anal sex 21 times in 8th-grade curriculum,” but “they appear nine times in her 3-minute speech.” Heh. Other than that, Lafferty ranted against the Obama administration (this is de rigeur among right-wing extremists, apparently), claiming that the Fairfax County Public School Board is “in cahoots with the Obama administration on this crazy [transgender] guidance,” which she claims is illegal.
Anyway, as you watch this video, ask yourselves who’s more persuasive, appealing and informed: a) Bennett Shoop and Josh Israel or b) Andrea Lafferty. I don’t think this is a difficult question to answer correctly (hint: the answer is not “b”), at least not for anyone with the tiniest bit of empathy and understanding.