An LGBTQ-affirming charter school in Alabama claims it’s had to increase campus security after a Republican gubernatorial candidate attacked the school for “exploiting” the youth who attend the school.
Tim James, who is challenging incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey in the GOP primary, criticized Ivey for allowing the Birmingham-based charter school of about 240 students — believed to be the only explicitly LGBTQ-affirming charter school in the southeastern United States — to receive taxpayer dollars, reports Salon.
“Now here in Alabama, we charted the first transgender school in the South using millions of your tax dollars. The faculty put on a drag show for children,” James says in a 30-second spot now airing on television that shows the faces of students and teachers at the school. “That’s not education. That’s exploitation.”
While the charter school, now in its first year, is open to all students — not just LGBTQ youth — looking for a refuge from bullying, James has accused the faculty of “abuse” for exposing children to LGBTQ-related issues, for holding the drag show, and for allowing children to explore issues of identity, which he referred to as “perversion.”
James has promised that, if elected, he would defund the charter school and shut it down. While Ivey has already signed several anti-transgender or anti-LGBTQ bills into law — including a ban on transgender athletes competing on sports teams that align with their gender identity, a law prohibiting trans youth from accessing gender-affirming health care, and a law that prohibits LGBTQ-related discussions in schools — James is hoping that capitalizing on the school’s existence will endear him to social conservatives who invariably will determine who the next governor of the heavily Republican state will be.
According to a New Gray TV/Alabama Daily News poll, 46.1% of Republican primary voters in Alabama would prefer Ivey, while James came in second, with only 12.4% of primary voters selecting him as a first choice. That result would trigger a runoff election, as a candidate must win more than 50 percent of the vote to secure their preferred party’s nomination. If Ivey continues to hold a similar lead, James’ best chance is to blame the incumbent for not shutting down Magic City Acceptance Academy, in the hope of forcing her into a runoff election where he can challenge her on a one-to-one basis.
But school officials at Magic City Acceptance Academy say James’ rhetoric has already placed a target on the school’s back and is “scaring the hell out of our kids,” according to principal Michael Wilson. Wilson says the school has had to partner with a local wellness center to provide counseling for some of the students.
“The Tim James ad is nothing short of an adult bullying children,” Wilson, said. “It’s causing more anxiety. You are talking about kids who are four times more likely than their straight counterparts with suicide ideation.”
The first week that James’ ad ran, Wilson told the Birmingham-based CBS affiliate WIAT that someone drove by the school and yelled slurs at students standing outside. In another incident, a woman attempted to film some of the students without their permission before being stopped by staff.
Wilson said that some of the students pictured in the ad are angry that they are being used as campaign fodder. He said a parent of one of the students pictured in the commercial sent the James campaign a cease-and-desist letter. The campaign then edited the photo to exclude only the child in question, while leaving others visible.
The James campaign claims they never received a letter, only an email from a parent angry about their child’s inclusion int the commercial, and “obscured the student from the ad” in response. But the campaign also slammed the complaining parent, saying that if she were “truly concerned about her child, she would remove her from the Magic City Acceptance Academy, period.”
Alabama Democratic Party Vice Chair Patricia Todd, a former state representative who was the first out LGBTQ person elected to the Alabama Legislature, called James’ ad “extremely dangerous to youth,” adding: “If anything happens, such as a hate crime to those kids, that will be on [James’] hands.”
Wilson told WIAT that, regardless of the machinations of politicians, the school would stand by its mission to serve as a place for students who have been marginalized or bullied in traditional schools.
“We’re an educational space for all students,” he said. “We’re built on pillars of trauma-informed care because most of our kids have faced marginalization of some kind — because they’re LGBTQ, because of color, because of the level of poverty… We’re the space where we hopefully break down barriers so that kids can continue to learn and continue to grow and eventually become the adults that they want to be.”
Surprise! Rebel Wilson has become a mom! The actress revealed the birth of her first child on Instagram on Monday, November 7, though an exact birth date was not provided.
"Beyond proud to announce the birth of my first child, Royce Lillian," Wilson wrote on the social media platform next to an image of her adorable newborn. She then went on to reveal that the child, a daughter, was born via surrogate.
"I can't even describe the love I have for her, she's a beautiful miracle! I am forever grateful to everyone who has been involved, (you know who you are), this has been years in the making…," Wilson continued in the photo's caption, eventually singling out "my gorgeous surrogate who carried her and birthed her with such grace and care."
A federal judge has dismissed a second lawsuit challenging Florida's "Parental Rights in Education" law, also dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" law for its restrictions on speech related to LGBTQ issues.
U.S. District Judge Wendy Berger, of the Middle District of Florida, a Trump appointee, dismissed a lawsuit brought by LGBTQ students, parents and their families, along with several civil rights groups, refusing to grant a preliminary injunction to block the law from being enforced. However, Berger did give the plaintiffs until Nov. 3 to file an amended lawsuit, reports The Associated Press.
By Charlotte Clymer on October 22, 2022
Recognizing that one needs to let go after loss is half the battle; actually letting go is multilayered pain all by itself, which, deep down, one realizes may never be resolved.
Michelle Ehlen's Maybe Someday (★★★★☆) — which she wrote, directs, and stars in — is a deeply moving and frequently delightful meditation on rebuilding life after loss.
Ehlen plays Jay, who is moving across the country after separating from her wife Lily (Jeneen Robinson), their relationship is beautifully and painfully referenced in flashbacks throughout the film.
Jay is trying to find out who she is without her soon-to-be ex-wife and cobbles together an understanding of her core through Jess (Shaela Cook), an old high school flame, and Tommy (Charlie Steers), a charming gay man she meets during the trip.
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!