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Unite against LGBTQ+ Hate

Rainbow ribbon underlining the words "Unite against Hate"

The Financial and Emotional Costs of anti-LGBTQ+ Rhetoric

In the first two weeks of Pride month, I have been struck by increased hate, fear, and anger against the LGBTQ+ community, specifically against our schools. As a mom and active school volunteer, I find this concerning because I know how harmful it is to students, educators, and families. Not only are these wild accusations and misinformation scary, but they also make parents and guardians feel threatened for the safety of their children in and out of schools. 

Additionally, there is also a financial burden to the schools, as the actions triggered by such rhetoric requires additional safety personnel in schools and at meetings, while school staff and leaders need to take valuable time away from education to create safety plans to protect students and educators in schools, and their families at events.

I have seen this with my own two eyes that over the past three years, there is an increased security presence at school board meetings after threatening words and behavior from participants in anti-LGBTQ+ rallies. 

Parent standing watch while wearing the Kinky Boots shirt with the saying "You can change the world when you change your mind"
Standing strong to protect students, families, and staff from hate

More recently, I witnessed this at a recent musical production of Kinky Boots, where the Superintendent and security kept a watchful eye on the entrance door of West Potomac High School to ensure the safety of the families, students, and staff running and watching the family friendly drag show brunch before the matinee of Kinky Boots. Security was also out front of West Potomac to ensure that the 30 or so protestors, most of whom came from at least three known SPLC-defined hate groups, did not overly impede access to the school with their air horns, shouts, and ugly slogans.

Protestors hold signs and blow horns while distracting theater goers attending Kinky Boots musical at West Potomac HS.
Hate Groups and Colonial Mount Vernon Republican Women’s Club protest high school student musical

How much did this cost our school system? I have no idea, but the emotional cost was also high, as West Potomac moms and dads stood watch on the street, at the entrance, and around the theaters to ensure that no harm came to their children from these hell-bent on disruption hate-groups.

Such hateful rhetoric drives lawsuits that suck money from our students’ education, including the recent American First Legal lawsuit, a legal group formed by former Trump administration official Stephen Miller, which seems to be more focused on raising a ruckus (i.e., publicity) than actually accomplishing any change. FCPS Pride described the lawsuit to be “abhorrent.” 

Hopefully, it will be found that the plaintiff lacks standing. Likely, the lawsuit would violate Biden revised Title IX regulations that bar transgender bathroom bans while strengthening harassment and assault protections. However, the lawsuit is being argued by Ian Prior (American First Legal and Fight for Schools) in court right now, so we do not know the outcome, but like the 2023 National Merit case brought by Attorney General Jason Miyares, it will likely cost our school district a lot of money.

If it is not clear, much of this hate is politically motivated from the far right and is amplified and accepted by members of only one party. However, to me, this is not a political issue, but an issue of human and civil rights, so I am confused why one party repeatedly calls LGBTQ+ parents and their children such horrid names while endangering them with abominable legislation and actions.

Why does the party that purportedly pushes “parents’ rights” call parents alphabet people, mutilators, and angry "Karens" while accusing them of being in a cult? We are parents and guardians! We know best for our children! Parent your own child and leave us and our kids alone!

All of that being said, the emotional damage of this hateful rhetoric to families and children is immense. We, the parents, and our children see the name-calling, bomb threats, and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, and we know they are true threats to the health and safety of our families and children. Thus, we need to spend time and money protecting our families and ensuring their physical and emotional safety.

In some cases this hateful rhetoric causes people to be afraid to wear rainbows in public, to be hyper-vigilant at June Pride events, and fearful about sharing pronouns. The proliferation of such hateful rhetoric means that we need to see our “friends” reposting hateful local opinion pieces or anti-trans memes. 

To them it is political, but to us, it is our heart. Each of us knows that when hate comes for our children, it is like a knife in our own heart, because we feel what they feel and cry when they cry.

So, I beg of each and every one of you to continue to wear your pride and “be kind” shirts. Speak up in your school and to the school board. Protect and support all students, because you never know who may need that extra love and support.

Rainbow Washington Nationals t-shirt, "Nats with Pride"

How do I know? Well, my husband and I wore pride shirts to a graduation after Reston Pride two weeks ago. As we were leaving the party, a parent ran up to us to say “thank you” for wearing our rainbow shirts because she knew we were supporting her and her LGBTQ+ child. 

In this world, sometimes kindness and support from strangers can mean a lot. So wear your love on your chest, hat, and car. Let the world know that human rights should always come before politics. If we show our love for our children, families, and community, we can defeat the hate, because love always trumps hate.   

The intent of the hate is to silence us and push all of the rainbows (and those who wear them) back into the closet. Resist. Together. With Love and Pride.

Hands holding a heart with the words "Resist together with love and pride"


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