Virginia legal group gets book about transgender teen banned in Wisconsin school
A Madison, Wisconsin, elementary school faced legal threats from a conservative Virginia legal group after the school tried to read a book about transgender teens to their students.
Jennings was diagnosed with gender identity disorder as a child and has documented her struggle with gender extensively on Youtube. The book in questions, authored by Jennings and Jessica Herthel, furthered documented her struggle as a child dealing with transitioning and aimed to provide that message for other youths unsure about their own gender identity, or willing to learn about other peoples struggles with the topic.
“We believe all students deserve respect and support regardless of their gender identity and expression, and the best way to foster that respect and support is through educating students about the issue of being transgender,” read a letter, signed by the school’s principal, psychologist, and counselor, and sent to parents ahead of the scheduled reading. “It is our primary responsibility to provide a safe and nurturing environment for all of our students.”
But it appears a parent who disagreed with this message contacted Virginia’s Liberty Councel, a group who has adamantly defended same-sex marriage bans around the nation, including a failed bid here in Virginia. The Southern Poverty Law Center also lists the firm as a hate group for their anti-LGBTQ activism.
Liberty Counsel’s Richard L. Mast, Jr., authored an e-mail threatening to sue the school for reading the book to their students saying it would cause the following harm:
1. Promoting non-factual, radical, and controversial assumptions about “gender”–which is neither the right nor business of government schools to do;
2. substituting the beliefs of the principal, school psychologist, and school counselor for those of parents;
3. necessitating many parents teaching their children about a psychological and moral disorder about which they believe their children are too young to learn;
4. making other children uncomfortable;
5. confusing many children;
6. disturbing children who will now falsely believe that one can choose one’s gender; and
7. undermining modesty and privacy rights of students; 8. undermining the religious free exercise and free speech rights of teachers and students in relation to incorrect pronouns.
“This decision and these harms violate parental constitutional rights to direct the upbringing of their children,” read Mast’s letter. “ The book is a false and misleading book.”
Mast’s letter also referenced a Virginia federal case dealing with transgender student Gavin Grimm, 16, who’s currently suing the Gloucester County School Board over the right to use the male bathroom in line with the gender he currently identifies with. Mast cited Federal Judge Robert G. Doumar’s ruling to dismiss Grimm’s case, but the ACLU has since appealed.
After the letter was sent and made public, Jennings took to Twitter to directly or indirectly support her cause.
All that matters is that I accept myself, even if others don’t
Last month, a Fairfax County judge tossed out a lawsuit Liberty Counsel brought against the county’s school board in an attempt to reverse protections for transgender students and staff. The Christian legal organization said then they planned to appeal it, and that’s exactly what they have done. Libery Counsel filed an appeal of the judge’s decision [...]March 24, 2016
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