May 27, 2022
All youth in Maine should be safe at school, including LGBTQ+ youth. This ought to be obvious. So we are all deeply disappointed to see that playbooks used in other states that fearmonger about transgender young people in our communities have made their way to Maine. It is deeply hurtful to see young people’s lives become the subject of attack ads and controversy that disrupt their and their families’ lives.
Whether you’re a parent, teacher or community member, we all know that young people do best when they are seen, loved and supported. We all want kids to feel that support and care, and to succeed at school and in life. LGBTQ+ youth, including transgender youth, need and deserve that same support and care.
We understand that not everyone knows a transgender person and may have questions. We are all here to engage with you about those questions. Some of us are transgender and grew up here. All of us know that LGBTQ+ youth, including transgender youth, are part of our communities and with support, are succeeding in ways that would make anyone proud.
The Department of Education should be applauded for its stance on supporting all LGBTQ+ students, families and staff, and its recognition that every student deserves a safe and equitable school environment. We also recognize and appreciate that teachers do the hard work of helping young people learn in ways that are age- and educationally- appropriate. The Department can do more to build out its commitment and to support schools and teachers in this work. Organizations like ours are advocating for parents and families who seek safe, supportive, and successful schools across Maine.
There is a need for more conversations and action to ensure every child gets the support and education they need to succeed. But let’s not pretend that the wake of an attack ad is the time or place for it.
GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)
Maine Women’s Lobby