School Board Member Recants His Vote Supporting Transgender Students: ‘I Do Not Support the LGBT’

Earlier today, I posted about a school district that voted unanimously to make things better for transgender students:

The East Aurora school board voted to unanimously approve a policy that affects transgendered students Monday night.

The new policy specifically states that transgendered and gender nonconforming students have the right use the restroom that corresponds to their gender-related identity that is consistently asserted at school. The student has the right to be addressed by the name they want to be called, too.

“A court-ordered name or gender change is not required, and the student needs not change his or her official records,” the policy states.

“In no case shall a transgender student be required to use a locker room that conflicts with the student’s gender-related identity,” the policy reads.

When a news story says it was a unanimous vote, it suggests that all the board members agreed on the policy.

That may not be the case.

Reader Zachary, like many of you, sent a note to the members of the East Aurora Board of Education (in Illinois) thanking them for their vote.

He received a response from board member Raymond Hull that suggests Hull wants to take back his vote on the issue:

Raymond Hull

Zachary, I do not support the LGBT. I slept on the truth; shame on me

I’ve emailed Hull to ask for more clarification, but I’m appalled that any school board member would say he doesn’t support a significant percentage of the students in his district.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

    Shame on him *now*

  • brianmacker

    ” The student has the right to be addressed by the name they want to be called, too.”

    As long as any student has the right to be addressed by the name they want to be called too.

    • http://twitter.com/The_Adoring_Fan Lee Love

       This is kind of like saying that because Jewish and Muslim students are allowed to wear particular head coverings, everyone should be allowed to wear hats in school.

      There is a difference between head coverings for particular religious groups, and random students wanting to wear Yankees hats and such. And there is a difference between one respecting a transgender person’s gender by using a proper name, and some random kid named Joe wanting to be called Hattie Mae instead.

      • brianmacker

        I agree, and everyone should be allowed to wear hats if Jewish and Muslim students get to.  If Sikhs can carry knives then everyone else should be allowed too.  See how this works.  It called equality with no legal preferences.  Religious choice is merely freedom of conscious and whose to say that my beliefs don’t require me to carry around a knife wherever I go the same as any Sikh?  I am the authority on my own religious beliefs.   So if they can carry around knives on this basis, or where hats, or masks, then I should have the same right.

        What if some random transgendered person wants to be called Hattie Mae?   Why isn’t that a ‘proper name’?    You telling me I can’t name my son or girl by the name Hattie Mae if I want to?   If Frank Zappa can name his kid Moon Unit Zappa as an official registered name then I seen no problem with Hattie Mae.   Hattie Mae is in fact many peoples official name so it is perfectly proper, and so why can’t Joe be called Hattie Mae if he wants to be?

        Isn’t that your exact position that Joe be allowed to call himself Hattie Mae if he wants to?  Not only that but cut off his penis, to boot.

        • http://twitter.com/The_Adoring_Fan Lee Love

           No – I don’t “see how this works”. There is a particular reason for
          particular students to be given exceptions. 3lemenope brought up several
          good points to counteract my own, as concerns what is necessary for the
          operation of the school. The main problem I saw in my mind, as was also
          pointed out in that comment, was the idea of students wanting their
          name changed every other day, or whenever their mood changed, etc. I
          spent a year as an intern teacher while earning my Master’s degree, and I
          could certainly see some of my students wanting to change names every
          day. I allowed them to be called by nicknames, or by middle names. Some
          students did not like me to say their last name, especially if they did
          not have a good relationship with the father from whom it came. Allowing
          such is reasonable – allowing random names with no rhyme or reason is
          not.

          I disagree with your idea that every student should be
          allowed to do what every other student can do. That isn’t equality –
          it’s some kind of pseudo-sameness which does not respect the differences
          between students and their needs. I had students who were on IEPs
          (Individualized Education Program) which allowed special accommodations
          for those particular students. I had a student who had part of her brain
          removed when she was a child, and so educating her was different than
          educating the other students. She had an aide to help her in the
          classroom – should each student have been allowed to have an aide? Some
          students had medical issues which required them to be given special
          restroom passes which allowed them to go whenever they needed to –
          should each student be given a free pass to the restroom?

          I’m all for equality. But equality means, to me, equal opportunity. Not treating everyone as if they were the same. They aren’t.

          (And by the way – Hattie Mae is my aunt’s name. I don’t find anything wrong with it. I just pulled it from my own experience.)

          • brianmacker

            Your reply is to read because of a formatting screwup so I’ll just respond to this:

            “The main problem I saw in my mind, as was alsopointed out in that comment, was the idea of students wanting their name changed every other day, or whenever their mood changed, etc..”

             I assumed you had this kind of behavior in mind and  didn’t bring it up because the same kind of behavior is possible for the transgendered.  So if a transgendered individual wanted to do this then should it be allowed?  Of course not.   You seem to think I’m advocating different rules for different people.  I’m not.   That’s what I meant by see how this works. Same rules for everybody.   If that is your concern then change make the rules take this into account.  

            I agree that elemnope made a good case and touched on points I didn’t.

            I agree that I was wrong “in a sense” given your example of the person who needs special help.  Or at least I did not address such issues, and perhaps “same rules for everybody” isn’t as clear as I think it is given your example.   However the rules still can be written so it applies to all alike.  For example in your case, “If disabled temporarily or permanently a child can bring a helper into the classroom while disabled”.   

      • 3lemenope

        Actually, I kind of disagree with this line of reasoning. The rules exist for the continuity of the operation of the school in pursuit of its mission, and since we live in a free society, regulations to that end should be least restrictive possible that achieve that purpose. If the rule against hat coverings was essential in this sense to the mission of a school, then it doesn’t make sense to admit the exception for yarmulkes and keffiyehs; if on the other hand the presence of such prescribed headcoverings don’t impact the mission of the school, it calls into question the utility of the general rule against hats. 

        Obviously borderline cases can render any analysis absurd. If a kid comes to school and wants to be called by a different name each day, that would be unacceptably disruptive. But, if a student consistently wished to be called some name other than their current legal name (a nickname, cognomen, epithet, or whatever), it doesn’t make sense from a policy point-of-view to only consider such requests from the perspective of determining whether that change is “important enough” to that student to warrant being honored. 

        The policy is good primarily because it helps transgendered students to fully socially adopt their preferred gender identity. But, that shouldn’t be taken as cause to assume there aren’t many other good reasons for wanting to have the same consideration, and so long as the request seems to be sincere I don’t see a good reason to say that such a privilege should be extended *only* to a particular subgroup of students.

        • Chris Baglieri

          Ah…..but refusing to call “Steve” by the name “Chico” is not the same as persistently calling poor “Steve” by his original name, “April,” despite his consistent demonstration that he identifies as male. 

          Name changes do not disrupt the academic environment, and the  national model policy makes it clear that these requests can only be honored in situations where a student consistently identifies and expresses a given gender.
          Don’t fall into the trap of equating gender identity with the wearing of clothing that one can change on any given day.  This is not a “hat” that they can remove.

          • 3lemenope

            Name changes do not disrupt the academic environment…

            They certainly can, if done frivolously or with intent to disrupt. 

            …and the national model policy makes it clear that these requests can only be honored in situations where a student consistently identifies and expresses a given gender.

            I’m not even sure what this is supposed to mean. All that the national model policy makes clear is that the people who write the national model policy think that these are the only circumstances in which these requests should be honored. I, clearly, disagree, and think that such a policy draws the circle way too tightly for no perceptible policy reason. I can easily conceive of several legitimate reasons why a student may wish to be known by something other than their birth-name, and can conjure no terribly compelling reason why they should be excluded from this dispensation. 

            Don’t fall into the trap of equating gender identity with the wearing of clothing that one can change on any given day.  This is not a “hat” that they can remove.

            Where did I do that? All I have argued is that being consistently known by the name you wish to be known by is a universal right, not one only meant to be enjoyed by and protected for transgendered people. Now, I will readily, happily, easily argue that transgendered people are the population most obviously in need of a policy such as this one. I simply think, recognizing how important a person’s name is to their public identity and self-identity, that there are no good policy reasons not to make such a rule more broadly based.

    • TheKevinBates

      are you pointing out a typo in the text of a linked article?

      • brianmacker

        No.   Are you perhaps responding to a different comment.  The text I quoted was from the linked article, but it was also copied above.   Also from the article:

        “A court-ordered name or gender change is not required, and the student needs not change his or her official records,” the policy states.

        “The student” refers to the transgender, and I’m arguing that the policy needs to be sex neutral, and apply to everyone regardless of gender.
         

  • maloner

    From Ray’s district profile:

    “I am a committed advocate for all the children and tax payers of East Aurora.”

    Might need to revise your choice of “all” there, Ray.

  • MartinRC

    He can say he doesn’t support the movement all he wants that is his personal right to beliefs, but my concern is his comment “I slept on the truth”.  So after some rest, he is now against protecting students….

    • viddy_well

      He’s probably referring to the Jesus-certified Truth®.

    • Stev84

       More like “I prayed on the truth”

  • http://twitter.com/AchronTimeless Achron Timeless

    I prefer to sleep on a bed. The truth seems to be a bit hard for people, so I don’t think it’d be very comfortable.

    • 3lemenope

      The truth contains pokey bits and is not suitable as a bedding material. :)

      • http://twitter.com/AchronTimeless Achron Timeless

        Pokey bits? Ok, yeah.. can someone toss me a rope to pull my mind out of the gutter?

        • 3lemenope

          t’s and h’s are uncomfortable looking letters.

          • http://twitter.com/AchronTimeless Achron Timeless

            Well if you’re going by the shape of the letters, allow me to blow your mind: the word bed looks like a bed.

            • 3lemenope

              Whoa.
              :)

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001627228091 Alexander Ryan

          It’s probably best you stay in the gutter, actually. ‘Tis very anti-religious.

  • Trickster Goddess

    For a homobigoted wingnut, I must say that at least he knows how to use punctuation properly.

    • brianmacker

      Well semicolons, not periods.  He left off the closing period.   He probably knows how to use periods too despite that fact. 

      Never underestimate typos.  I just typed where and whose when I meant wear and who’s.   I know how to use the proper spellings for these homonyms, but my brain and fingers just don’t cooperate.  

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    What the heck does “I slept on the truth” mean?

    Does he mean he was asleep at the Board of Education meeting, and the rest of them interpreted his snoring as an affirmative vote? I’m sure that wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened in a government assembly.

    Does he mean he used the truth as a mattress and it got all wrinkled and messed up?  I had to sleep on a newspaper once. It was unreadable in the morning. Most of the ink was on me. Not that it was the truth, but you know what I mean.

    Maybe he meant “I slept on the Truth” with that annoying capital T that some pious folks are so fond of using, indicating their “divine, higher order Truth” that doesn’t have to meet any of the standards that mundane, good old fashioned, reality-based small t truth has to meet. So he was negligent in supporting his ectoplasmic Truth, but by default, he was accidentally supportive of truth that consists of …molecules.

    Well Ray, don’t be too hard on yourself.  Sometimes we do good things for others despite our best efforts.

    • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

      So, I realize email is a sometimes informal medium, but am I the only one who would expect better writing mechanics and clarity coming out of a *school board member*??

    • brianmacker

      Never heard the phrase and an internet search comes up empty.  Can’t help you.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

       I think that in his email school board member Raymond Hull might have made a typo.

      Sometimes voice recognition software can cause word substitution errors…

      I wonder if maybe he said “I slept on the YOUTH; shame on me”.

      • Baal

         I wish folks would stop doing this.  By this I mean imagining folks you don’t like is humiliating or illegal situations.   Imagining a school board member sleeping with kids absent some evidence to that effect is not ok; even (or especially) in jest.

        I don’t mean to single you out godvlogger, lots of folks do it.

    • Darwin’s Dagger

      I slept on the truth = I’m too damned lazy to read the shit I’m voting on.

  • edgar ayala

    Its 2012 and we have people that are supposed to be nurturing and educating children that think like this. When will the future arrive?

  • Cincinatheist

    Did anyone else catch the modifier “the” in front of LGBT in his response? I do not support THE LGBT. Like it’s a big scary monster or something. Similar to a Kraken. “Release the LGBT!!!!”

    What a douche.

  • brianmacker

    Is that a Crying Game stach I’m seeing in the picture?

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/forest_whitaker/pictures/

  • Don Gwinn

    I assumed that “I slept on the truth” meant “After a night’s sleep, I realize that I think my vote was wrong.”  Just a variation on the idea of “sleeping on it” to make a hard decision; he did the decision first, and the sleeping after.  
    Whatever, dude.  You made the right call.  If you don’t want the credit, enjoy the shame.

  • Ewurst
  • Randy

    I agree.  It is appalling that any school board member would claim not to support certain students, simply based on who they are.


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