Missouri School Board Updates Anti-Discrimination Policy To Include Gender Identity And Expression

It's always a pleasure to add good news to this blog.

From the Columbia Daily Tribune:

"The Columbia Board of Education in a unanimous vote Monday approved adding gender identity and gender expression to district nondiscrimination and student discipline policies...

Liam Theberge, who said he is a transgender student and president of the Gay-Straight Alliance at Hickman High School, said he was proud of the school board for taking a stance on the issue.

'This is really important to me, and it's very important to transgender students like myself,' Liam said.

Student Adele Dorman, a member of the Gay-Straight Alliance at Battle High School, said the policy change would allow her to feel comfortable reporting harassment to teachers. Adele said she has been harassed for the way she dresses.

'I would be protected,' she said.

David Tager, a psychologist and one of the founders of the Transgender Health Network, said statistics show that transgender students are harassed and assaulted. He said the policy change would protect staff members from retaliation as well.

Board member Darin Preis said it was the easiest vote he had ever made.

'This issue is the current front of the civil rights movement in this country,' Preis said. 'This is an easy decision.'

Board member Helen Wade, an attorney, supports the changes and said the law is powerful.

'It's not only right, but it's necessary,' Wade said.

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Adding gender identity and gender expression to a school anti-discrimination policy ensures that LGBT students and staff have recourse when confronted with abuse stemming from another's religious beliefs, a situation that has been played out time and again on the municipal and state level. 

Of course, this vote didn't get passed without a fight. One Columbia resident even pulled his talking points straight out the Religious Right rhetoric handbook, complaining about groups "of people who get put above everybody else... I'm sick to death of creating these protected people and then everybody else is discriminated against."

Perhaps this gentleman has confused "discrimination" with "equality."