MCPS councilmembers approve resolution for transgender community


Demetrius Freeman

REUTERS/Demetrius Freeman/File Photo

On March 28, council members passed an unanimous decision that underlines how Montgomery County condemns all anti transgender acts and aims to support the transgender community. The resolution supports LGBTQ+ friendly events like Pride Month and drag story hours, which have been faced with targeted, verbal attacks. It also affirms commitment to work proactively to make our county fully inclusive of the transgender, nonbinary, gender non-conforming, and wider LGBTQIA+ community.

Recent hate groups have attempted to disrupt Drag Story Hour at Brookside Gardens, Loyalty Bookstores and more. Since 2013, there have been at least 318 transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals killed in violent attacks nationwide. In the last ten years, at least 17 individuals in Maryland were killed, including Keyonna Blakeney (Rockville, 2016) and Zella Ziona (Gaithersburg, 2015). More recently, Bells Mill Elementary School shifted an in- person PTA meeting to virtual after receiving threats after a social media post was shared of a teacher reading a book about a transgender child.

Humanities junior Rhia Basit in an interview asked a rhetorical question that if they could be called a transphobic slur, why is the blame placed on them instead of on the perpetrator. In order to truly support and protect the transgender community, Rhia explains what she believes is missing from the resolution. 

“Well, I want to see consequences… Specially at Poolesville, people who are in the wrong [are not always given appropriate repercussions]… It makes me feel unsafe in the building,” Basit said. 

Research shows that laws that target transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming individuals increase depression and anxiety within the community. The Trevor Project  Anti-transgender resolutions have been enacted in several states, including Louisiana, Oklahoma, Alabama, Florida, Texas, South Carolina, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Utah, Iowa, and South Dakota.

MCEA State elected representative Mr. De Valoes has been working hands-on to address LGBTQIA+ issues to make sure kids have a safe space.  He is one of the founding members of the Frederick Center in Frederick County Schools. The center today has a physical building with an array of programs from curriculum development, talk-to companies, schools, police and fire departments, and doctors training them to address the issues in LGBTQ communities. 

“[Students have gone] from being invisible to being a target…What the teachers can do is make [students] visible, make them count,” De Valoes stated. “The question of gender identity is really to see the students for who they are…So, [teachers should give them a] sense of purpose, visibility, support; most important [make sure they] feel safe.”