So pathetic; see the video, below, for Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) Board’s two Republican members’ (the faaaar-right Elizabeth Schultz and the not-quite-as-far-right-but-still-godawful Thomas Wilson) comments last night on Fairfax County Public Schools’ “Family Life Education” (FLE) program and on the Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee (FLECAC). Basically, right wingers like Schultz and Wilson are having difficulty with the concept that gender is not a strict binary, that sexuality and gender identity are not 1950s “Father Knows Best”style, black-and-white, simplistic things. Wilson, for instance, riffs about his mother asking him, “after raising seven kids, could she still be a man?” Wilson wants to know if “we believe that,” also “could I be a mother at this point in my life at 52?” Uhhh…something you want to share with us, Tom?
As Fairfax County Public Schools teacher and FCPS Pride President Robert Norris Rigby wrote on Facebook late last night (bolding added by me for emphasis):
I caught the tail end of the Fairfax School Board meeting on video tonight, just in time to see Tom Wilson speak at length about the FLECAC (Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee) process. All I could gather is that the FLE presentation was not given at the school board tonight; I don’t know why. Mr. Wilson spoke at some length about “parent’s voices not being heard.” From what I can gather this whole FLECAC hubbub doesn’t arise from a grassroots “parent’s revolt” in Fairfax, but is rather an orchestrated effort by national anti LGBTQ groups (the Family Research Council and Liberty Counsel) to make an example of Fairfax. As Austin Ruse, President of the national group C-FAM (whose article in national anti LGBTQ media I believe Mr. Wilson may have quoted) said in reference to Cathy Ruse (a senior lawyer for the Family Research Council) “Cathy and her team in Virginia will handle it.” I would be regretful if our community and our kids were used successfully as a foil by national anti LGBTQ organizations…
Also see below the video for an important “action” item, by Rigby, that people can “take in support of LGBTQ students, in relation to Fairfax County Public Schools’ Family Life Education curriculum.” Oh, and one other action item I’d suggest is that Fairfax County voters boot Schultz and Wilson off the School Board next year!
There is an action that we are asking people to take in support of LGBTQ students, in relation to Fairfax County Public Schools’ Family Life Education curriculum.
The public comment period continues through June 8, by email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
“Please adopt the recommendations of the Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee with respect to sex assigned at birth and PrEP as written.”
It may be best to send a note this weekend if possible, as the school board is having a work session on FLE on Monday 5-14-18. A note to your school board member for “citizen quotes” can’t hurt (also remember to include Ryan McElveen, Ilryong Moon and Karen Keys-Gamarra, who represent everyone). https://www.fcps.edu/inde…/school-board/school-board-members
But, if you can’t do it this weekend, any time before June 8 is good.
The two topics we are focusing on are
1) using “Sex assigned at birth” rather than “biological sex” in discussing human sexuality, as being more inclusive of transgender students and family members; and
2) informing high school students about PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), which is a medicine recommended by the Centers for Disease Control to reduce the rate of HIV infection by 90% in very high risk populations.
These are already in the recommended objectives, so we are asking the school board to adopt them as written.
Send letters to email@example.com before June 8 close of business.
You may write one letter, or separate letters on the two subjects.
You may certainly add personal perspectives, or more information, in one or two letters.
The idea behind “sex assigned at birth” is that it is the language currently used by all major American medical and allied health professional organizations, and in most recent court decisions, in describing that aspect of human sexuality. Unfortunately, “biological sex” has become a dog-whistle (used by the Trump administration) as a stand-in for “real sex,” in order to erase transgender people. Also not preferred for the same reason are “anatomical sex,” “physiological sex,” and “natal sex.”
It is worth noting that one objection (posited by those opposed to acceptance of LGBTQ people) to the information on PrEP is that it is not currently suggested for minors. While that is true, the medicines themselves are approved for children age 12 and up; and besides, we teach much in school that children will use in their adult lives. We teach 7th graders about marriage without expecting them to rush out and get married. The reality is that inevitably, some of our students, at some point in their lives, will be at very high risk. Knowing about PrEP could be essential to their health.
Another stated objection to PrEP is that it will increase the incidence of risky behavior. This is demonstrated as not true. In fact, research indicates that people taking PrEP do not acquire other sexually transmitted infections at greater rates, but that the rate of transmission of HIV is reduced by 90%. http://www.thelancet.com/…/PIIS0140-6736%2815%2900…/abstract
The board is voting on these topics on Thursday June 14.
We expect many people in opposition at that meeting. Please come and wear purple in support. The meeting is at Luther Jackson Middle School in Merrifield (3020 Gallows Rd.) at 7 p.m., but it is recommended that you arrive about 30 or 40 minutes early, to get rainbow flags and pink signs from us in the lobby, and to be sure to get a seat in the auditorium. No signs larger than 8 ½ X 11 are allowed. We ask that people not engage in debate in the lobby with opponents. It serves little purpose, and only increases tensions. Also, avoid interviews with media you do not recognize as mainstream. It is very easy for an outlet to edit your words to fit a particular narrative that you may not intend.
On other notes, FCPS Pride will have booths at Reston Pride on June 2 and Capital Pride on June 10. Stop by and visit. Look for more information soon on our Community Picnic in Vienna on July 15.
UPDATE: More from Robert Norris Rigby
I like and admire Tom Wilson, Sully representative to the Fairfax County School Board, even though we disagree on some crucial issues. But, in listening to his comments about the Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee last night, I am troubled.
First, Mr. Wilson asks the question: “Do we as an organization still believe in Biology?” I hear that question as “Do we think transgender people are real?” The answer is, yes, we believe in biological and medical science, and they tell us that Gender Identity is real and that transgender people are who they say they are. The data are in, and the mainstream professional and scientific organizations are universal in their concurrence on this. All the rest is the same anti-scientific smoke and mirrors, backed up by obfuscatory pseudo-science promoted by organizations with demonstrated animus towards LGBTQ people. I am alarmed to hear that Mr. Wilson, so honorable a man, has been co-opted by that narrative.
Even worse, he spoke of an online report purported to describe the parliamentary process. He was in fact quoting an article called “Sex Ed and Stalinism at the Local School Board” by C-FAM president Austin Ruse, that describes the school board as “leftist” and snidely says that the student representatives were “no doubt chosen because they are members of LGBT student groups.” This by adults? Are these the parent voices Mr. Wilson wants represented, that use inflammatory language and make innuendo about children? Mr. Wilson goes on to say that the committee meetings were video-taped by the audience and are now posted on-line. He is endorsing intimidation tactics by well-funded national groups intended to alarm committee members, and reporting on the posting of videos on blogs so hateful that, if they were done by a school employ, would get anyone fired.
Mr. Wilson, you are flirting with some very disreputable actors unrestrained by decency. Back off, before your own reputation is damaged.