“Hi, my name is Ember Nova Quinn and I’m a queer transgender nonbinary person. I would like the board to consider the drafting of this policy specifically recognizes and legitimizes LGBTQ people and prevents this legitimacy from being debated in this public forum. You have the power to derail this ongoing campaign by the pseudo-religious far-right to disappear us from public spaces and pretend we do not exist. We have equal rights as per Vermont law. Undermining that law before of this body is inappropriate and destructive. If queer people are valued enough to be hired as educators in this district then we should be protected from having our very existence questioned at every other school board meeting. It makes me feel unsafe and I can only imagine how it makes trans and queer students feel. Allowing public debate gives audience to hatred and an echo chamber for that hatred has and will again lead to violence. Trans people should not be intentionally misgendered and queer people should not be overly sexualized and deemed inappropriate. It is not merely appropriate to discuss LGBTQ people with children but necessary and valuable. Queer and trans kids need to feel safe and straight kids need to learn to be kind to us. Teaching children to hate us and laugh at us is cruel. We are not a concept, a belief system or an opinion. We are human beings. Our identities are not a choice. Who we love is not a choice any more than it is for straight people. History and science both show this to be true. It is time for our leaders to acknowledge and protect this reality. I’m asking the board to publicly affirm all LGBTQIA+ identities and protect us as we protect the children you entrust with us. This is not Florida, you can and should say gay. It’s not a bad word. Please stand with us as there’s no place for neutrality where human rights are concerned. I would seriously like a response from the board on this matter. Thank you. Also, happy pride month.”

               This statement speaks quite well for itself. It calls for silencing opposition and violating the first amendment rights of community members here in Milton. The claims are ridiculous and over the top.

               These words were written by a local LGBTQ activist and Milton Town School District employee who works with preK and kindergarten students. This statement immediately claims that adoption of the equity policy will prevent anyone in the community from speaking in public about this subject in a less than positive manner. While there is nothing specifically in the equity policy that spells that out, it is now going to be expected by those in support of the policy, should it be adopted adopted. Ember obviously expects once the policy is adopted no one will be able to speak out against LGBTQ propaganda within the school and specifically at school board meetings. This sentiment is absolutely incorrect as it would be a violation of first amendment rights.  

               The statement then goes on to claim that the school board has the power to stop “pseudo-religious” and “far-right” people from speaking at meetings. First, there is the absolutely false statement that anyone speaking at meetings are pseudo-religious and far-right. There are parents and community members speaking against the propaganda from all walks of life. They are both religious and non-religious. None are “far-right”. None of those parents or community members are pretending trans people don’t exist. None have tried to silence trans people in any way. Ember, in fact, has spoken at several of the last school board meetings slandering other community members without repercussion. Refusing to celebrate the movement themselves and wanting schools to focus on academics as they were designed to do instead of holding pride parades is not silencing anyone. LGBTQ people are free to be in public and speak in public just like anyone else. They are afforded equal rights under the law. They are not afforded extra rights to be able to speak while others cannot, which is what this statement calls for. The iron law of woke projection never misses as LGBTQ activists are the ones calling for silencing anyone in opposition to them. Again, the school board does not have the power to stop the community from politely speaking at school board meetings on any topic as that would be a first amendment violation.

               Ember continues to go on calling for first amendment violations. That the school should not allow people to speak in public against the LGBTQ propaganda because it supposedly makes some feel unsafe and fuels hatred. That is precisely why we need the first amendment. It is there to protect controversial or otherwise potentially unfavorable speech. Speech that everyone agrees with, speech that is not controversial, needs no protection. There is specifically a call to end “public debate”, because Ember claims that it leads to violence. That is so outlandish that it barely needs to be addressed. Only those who have no argument to stand on call to end debate. They want to end the debate on this because they go on to say that teaching about LGBTQ topics and sexuality to children is necessary. They know that this is an unpopular statement so they must shut down any dissent by calling for silencing any oppositional voice. I’m not aware of anyone who is teaching kids to laugh at LGBTQ people and children should be taught to be kind to everyone.  

               The end of this statement is just a bunch of tag lines that don’t really mean anything. Only a couple need to be addressed. One, is that history and science don’t prove what Ember is saying. Perhaps some studies do, but certainly you can find data for both sides of this argument. That is the problem with studies and data. You can find some and cherry pick them to say whatever you want. The second, is that you can and people do “say gay in Florida”. That was a reference to the Parental Rights in Education bill which doesn’t have the word gay in it at all. It simply states that schools cannot teach sexuality of any kind to children younger than 4th grade. I think the question that needs to be asked is why these people are so set on teaching young children about sexuality.

               This is an activist teaching your young children about sexuality, and who clearly knows next to nothing about the founding documents of the United States as they repeatedly call for our school board to break the highest law of this country, the constitution and bill of rights. If left unchecked, this is what our children still in the school system will grow up believing; that men can be women, sexuality is whatever you want it to be and silencing your opposition is good.


1 Comment

Christina Smith · September 9, 2023 at 1:32 pm

1. I believe the issue is that some people question the legitimacy and therefore existence of LGBTQIA+ people’s rights to exist as equals compared to cisgendered straight people. 2. Studies and data can indeed be cherry picked by either side; the key is to citing reputable peer-reviewed sources not funded or underwritten by those with a hidden political agenda. 3. While I I do not know all educators in Milton, the caliber of those I do know is quite high, and they contribute to our students’ lives and the communities in which we live. Go ahead, speak your minds under the First Amendment. But don’t try to deny others’ existence and expect no backlash.

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