When news broke of this lawsuit filed by three parents in the Mt. Lebanon School District, I reached out to Lebo Pride and requested a statement. I urge you to connect with them on social media to resist this attack on trans students ~ Sue
All over this country, buzzwords and phrases such as “parental rights” and “indoctrination” are being wielded as the latest weapons to dismantle the charge towards a truly inclusive education for all and now it is happening in our neighborhood.
The most recent attempt to upend inclusivity and deny the existence of transgender students comes at the hand of three disgruntled parents in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania. In a lawsuit recently filed, the trio alleges that their parental rights have been violated by the teachings of “gender dysphoria and transgender transitioning” and that their children are part of an “unconsented to social/thought experiment.”
The Mt. Lebanon School District responded swiftly, indicating that allegations lodged against the district are “untrue or based on partial truths that mischaracterize events for sensational effect.” The district has also made it abundantly clear that they are committed to providing a safe educational environment for all, regardless of identity.
And it is identity that has a certain subset of the population clutching their proverbial pearls. The box in which they would like humanity to fit is binary and the education they feel they are owed has only one direction. Straight.
But the beauty of humanity does not exist in a linear quality.
The beauty of humanity is in the way it bends
and doesn’t break.
The way color clings to our nooks and crannies,
finding the nuance.
Denying the humanity or identity of another does not change the fact that we exist, but only strengthens our resolve to be seen. The path chosen propels us to shine the light on ignorance and extinguish it.
We are extending a hand and asking to be seen.
See us in your classrooms.
We exist here.
See us in your buildings of faith.
We exist here.
See us in your neighborhoods.
We exist here.
It is harmful that instead of taking the opportunity to learn about queer and gender diversity, and ways in which inclusive schools can be created for all, the path of denial is chosen instead. The message being sent is that education for all means only in a heteronormative sense. That books and literature detailing the lives of straight couples are acceptable, but those that acknowledge and celebrate the wide rainbow of identity are not. That public school is not really for the whole public, but for the public these parents feel have passed their litmus test of acceptability. The pain inflicted upon our queer students by parents demanding to have control over all educational decisions is unacceptable. Identity is not up for discussion or argument. It is not determined by someone other than the human possessing it. Identity is as unique and innate as human expression.
Submitted by Lebo Pride,a grassroots initiative led by local LGBTQIA+ community members and allies created to show that Mt. Lebanon residents welcome, celebrate, and support their LGBTQIA+ neighbors.
Sources & References
- Civil Docket No.: 2:22-cv-837: Carmilla Tatel, Stacy Dunn, and Gretchen Melton vs Mt. Lebanon School District filed by David J. Berardinelli of DeForest Koscelnik & Berardinelli on June 8, 2022.
- Jon Moss, “Mt. Lebanon parents file lawsuit alleging teacher misconduct on gender issues” (Jun. 9, 2022). Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Amy Wadas, John P. Wise, “Lawsuit aimed at banning transgender discussion in Mount Lebanon School District” (Jun. 9, 2022). CBS News Pittsburgh.
- Megan Guza, “Mt. Lebanon mothers sue school district, teacher over gender identity lessons” (Jun. 9, 2022). Trib Total Media.
- Bob Mayo, “3 parents file federal lawsuit to bar discussion of transgender topics in Mount Lebanon School District” (Jun. 9, 2022). WTAE Pittsburgh.
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