Right-Wing Groups Pressure IL School District to Rescind Transgender Student Protections Passed Four Days Prior

Last Friday, on GLAAD's Spirit Day, the East Aurora, Illinois school district rescinded protections for transgender students it had passed on Monday of that week after outcry from 'pro-family' right-wing conservative groups, the Beacon News via the Sun-Times reports:

AuroraThe rescinded policy said that in most cases, transgendered students
should have access to the locker room that corresponds to their
gender-related identity, and be called by the name they identify with.
It further stated that classes or teams that are segregated by gender
should also be open to students according to the gender that the student
self-identifies with.

Here's how it went down:

At a board meeting Monday, board members unanimously approved a policy addressing the rights of transgender students. On Friday, in a special meeting, that policy was rescinded. Only four of the board’s seven members were on hand for the vote. Mary Anne Turza and Stella Gonzalez were out of the country, and board member Ray Hull left the meeting early to attend his child’s Senior Night activities.

Christie Aird, the district’s assistant superintendent of secondary education who formed the policy and brought it to the board, has been put on administrative leave. Hundreds of supporters of Aird, and the policy, turned up at the school service center wearing red and holding signs, urging board members to uphold their decision.

Of course a "pro-family" hate group was behind it:

On Tuesday, the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) published a letter addressing the district, and asking for the repeal of the policy. IFI tags itself as an “independent non-profit ministry dedicated to upholding and re-affirming marriage, family, life and liberty in Illinois.”

In the letter, IFI calls acceptance of the policy “an outrageous and ignorant decision.”

Organizations including the Illinois Safe School Alliance, The Trevor Project and Equality Illinois have taken the opposite stance.

“It would be extremely sad on today of all days to buckle under to the bullying of a ‘hate group’ and not provide needed protections to all of our students in safe school environments,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois. “Let’s be clear where the pressure for this meeting is originating. The Illinois Family Institute … is generating the hate and the heat.”


  1. Jason says

    The logic behind the fear is that transgendered students would expose other kids to concepts of self that fall outside of a morally based but ethically backward religious belief. If you refuse to allow students to self identify, then you risk their life, expose them to violence, and condone social bullying from groups like IFI (and their kids). The kids in dire need of escape routes from bullying are pawn is a morality game played by small minded arrogant people. People, for whom difference is a sin. I hope Illinois can overcome this issue. Kids have a right to education free from harassment, intimidation and also one that fosters inclusion. Never side with bullies, especially the religious ones, because they base their hateful message on misinformation, misreadings of the scripture, and fundamental misunderstanding of the place of morals. Love one another, treat others as you would have them treat yourself, and love thy neighbor, are supposed to take precedent over all other values. Ethics and morals without heart result in corrupt ideology.

  2. Sean McQuillan says

    This is terrible, but I’m not really clear. Did they suspend one member of the board, wait until 2 were on vacation, and then hold an emergency meeting where they rescinded the policy on procedural grounds?

    This is going to end up in court.