- The Magazine
A crowd of Trump supporters and conservative Christians yelled anti-LGBTQ slurs at children outside a Florida school this week.
The crowd waved homophobic and transphobic signs and yelled “queers” and “pedophiles” at supporters of transgender rights, who had gathered outside a Brevard County school board meeting.
At issue was proposed new guidance for Brevard Public Schools mandating that transgender students have their identities recognized and validated, including allowing them to dress according to their gender identity and allowing access to restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.
Florida Today reports that the guidance has been in development since last year and is based on state and federal laws, as well as a recent court ruling affirming the rights of a transgender student.
The school board even clarified that, regardless of transphobic outrage, “the guidelines which are causing so much controversy…would be our reality whether there was a policy or not.”
But that didn’t stop twenty or so people from descending on the school board meeting on March 9 to protest the guidance.
Holding signs reading “straight & proud,” “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” and various anti-President Biden signs — including one labelling the president a “pervert” — they stood opposite pro-LGBTQ counter-protesters, who were holding signs reading “trans students matter” and “moms for equality, liberty for all.”
In addition to yelling slurs at the pro-LGBTQ crowd, which included children, the anti-LGBTQ protesters reportedly became angry and yelled at police officers after they were refused entry to the school board meeting — not realizing that restrictions were in place due to COVID-19 and anyone wishing to speak had to note their name on a sign-up sheet.
Inside the building, of those who spoke, twice as many supported the guidance and transgender students than those who protested against it.
While a number of adults spoke against the guidance during the meeting, no students voiced opposition to it.
One trans student, Andrew Triolo, said he had been discriminated against by both teachers and fellow students, and urged the board to enforce the guidance.
“We are just children going to school,” he said. “We want to learn to make friends and play sports, nothing more. Queer students are no different from other students in our school.”
Misty Belford, chair of the school board, told those who demanded changes to the guidance that she couldn’t “make any promises going forward because we are all subject to state and federal law.”
“To the point: Are we legally required to do the things on the document? We are, and we will,” she said.
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