Saturday, October 20, 2012

Updates 10/20/12 - Open-hearted plea.

Hello everyone.

We have some news from Chuck, and then a plea from me.

-- [Chuck] Malala is a young girl, aged 15, who was shot in the head by the Taliban after standing up for her right to get an education. Malala's story has touched millions, and girls around the world are standing up and saying "I am Malala." Here is a great article about one parent explaining to their children what happened, and how the children react. It's touching and well-written.

-- [Chuck] A plant (actual green, growing plant, not factory) from China may have some amazing medicinal qualities, according to new research. The "thunder god vine" may cure certain cancers within 40 days. As amazing as this is, the people performing the research on the plant are looking to patent and sell the drugs they create with it, offering Big Pharma another way to make money off of little plants that should be free.


On to my plea. 

In this past week, one Illinois school has done something amazing and something sad. The East Aurora School District Board of Education voted on Monday to put in place a brand new policy that would protect transgender kids. It would let them use restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity, be called the name that they desire, and not have to reveal themselves to their parents or guardians until they were ready. In short, the new policy provided massive support for students that are ten times more likely to lose support and attempt to self harm or take their own lives. What a great change for these kids. Could you imagine waking up one day and finding out that your school board has made it so that you can safely be yourself at school? How wonderful!

But then a group stepped in against it. The Illinois Family Institute is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and I see why. In my recent research, I've discovered some horrible things about this group. They refer to the LGBTQA anti-bullying initiative "Day of Silence" as the "Day of God-Defaming." They believe that homosexuality and abortion should be criminalized in all cases. They believe that bullying LGBTQA kids is okay, as long as it's done based on your religion, because that should be protected speech. I'm sorry, but following someone around day after day telling them that your God says they should die and go to hell isn't free speech, it's simple harassment and bullying. 

IFI won. They convinced the school board that they overstepped their bounds in creating this policy. They rescinded it at the request of a few parents and this horrible group. They let the bullies win against their own students. As a result of this, I personally emailed the Board President. Here is what I said:



My name is ------------, and I wanted to urge you to continue supporting your recent decision to protect transgender students. I am a Masters student in Linguistics at Southern Illinois University, but I speak on the behalf of only myself. I believe it is important to speak out for those who cannot or will not do so, for fear of retribution or loss. 

While I am genderqueer, my wife is transgender, and I often watch her struggle to deal with the treatment she receives from others, and even which restroom she should use at our university. The fact that you voted unanimously to protect these students was amazingly uplifting to me. I know when I tell my wife, about it later, there is no doubt she will tear up in joy, then break down in sadness when she hears you have removed it. She has previously told me that she wishes her school had done something to protect her when she was younger. 

Please, don't let the Illinois Family Institute bully you into forgetting about these students. The IFI is a classified hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and should not factor into your decisions. I have seen what harm they can cause to people, under the guise of "protecting marriage and family." I've recently done research on this group, and much of the information I have found is appalling. They oppose anti-bullying laws for LGBTQ groups under the guise of the First Amendment, because they believe that it is not truly bullying if you are attacking someone based on your religious beliefs. It is almost as if they do not see a difference between proselytizing and harassment, although I am sure the rest of us do. They have referred to the LGBTQ "Day of Silence," an anti-bullying initiative, as "God-Defaming Day." In my opinion, these people do not care about the safety of our children. They care about their own goals, and whoever gets in their way is trampled and left in the dirt. 

So many trans students attempt suicide or self harm because they are bullied and lack the support they so desperately need. My wife is among those statistics, and so am I. By working together to give these students a strong network of support, we can help prevent them from feeling ostracized and from attempting to take their own lives. I ask that you please return to the changes that you made to policy that protects these young adults. They are not "confused," as the IFI puts it. They are lonely and afraid. I read in a news article that the Board has received no complaints of mistreatment from trans students. Logically, do you really think these students would come forward to complain? Of course not. If they did, the consequences for them could be dire. I also saw that some were concerned that students may take advantage of the policy to "pretend" to be trans so they could sneak into locker rooms and restrooms of the opposite sex. If the concerned parties had done their research, they would see that, statistically, that kind of event almost never transpires.

The Board said that it should be the State Board of Education who makes these decisions, and I ask you why. Your policy change, while some consider it to be progressive, was within our state laws. Sometimes it takes a small Board of Education to adopt a policy before the state realizes it must do so as well. Your Board should have been proud to be the first to enact it, not afraid of the backlash of a minority of parents and a hate group. Please, stand up for your students. They deserve it. They deserve to attend a school where the Board says, "No. We will not back down. Our students deserve our care and protection. They deserve to be able to attend school unafraid and without discrimination. We stand for them. All of them."

Let them know you care about them. You could save their lives. You can do the right thing.

Thank you for your time. I truly hope you consider this. If you would like to contact me, my email and cell number are both in the signature of this message. I will gladly help in any way I can. 


This letter is honest. I am among the statistics for genderqueer individuals who have attempted suicide. I know these students will not come out and speak for themselves. Someone has to. Here is the plea I have for you. The first link I will post is a petition, to get them to keep the policy. Please, sign it. Doing so not only lets the Board know that you support it, but also tells the students that you support them.The second link is to the contacts of the School Board. If you have the time, send them an email encouraging them to reinstate the policy. These kids deserve to be protected.


To contact me, email 



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