ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In early July 2016, the National PTA (known historically as the Parent Teacher Association) adopted the “Recognition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) Individuals as a Protected Class” resolution at its annual convention and expo held in Orlando, Fla.
The resolution calls for federal policies that specifically protect LGBT youth and local practices that create and maintain safe, affirming and inclusive learning environments for all students.
“Every child deserves to go to school excited to learn in a safe and nurturing environment, without the fear of bullying, violence or discrimination. However, the vast majority of LGBT students are bullied, physically assaulted and feel unsafe in school because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or identity,” said National PTA President Laura Bay. “National PTA delegates have taken a stand to push for policies and protections for LGBT youth to make sure they have positive school experiences.”
As outlined in the resolution, National PTA and its constituent associations will advocate for legislation that explicitly recognizes LGBT as a protected group and addresses discrimination based upon sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. The association will also seek to ensure educators have the training to support all students and that health education standards appropriately address the issues of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
The association is now encouraging state, councils and local units nationwide to review district and school policies that address bullying and support revisions and amendments to these policies that specifically discuss sexual orientation and gender identification/expression as they relate to harassment and discrimination.
All of this has transpired at a time when President Barack Obama sent out a presidential order directing public schools to permit transgender students access to bathrooms that match their gender identity. Since that action, a number of states have sued the administration for what they feel is a forced policy.
Additionally, the National Education Association approved a new business item calling on the association to join a national effort to prevent acts of violence targeted at LGBT individuals and to protect their civil rights.
Military personnel celebrate Pride
PHILIPPINE SEA, S.E. Asia — A military personnel member helped to bring Pride to the high seas during June.
Yeoman 2nd Class Elexis Rogers from Jacksonville, Fla, sang the National Anthem aboard the Navy’s U.S.S. Ronald Reagan on the aft mess decks during the Pride month observance ceremony. The event was organized by the Gay, Lesbian and Supporting Sailors Association. It also organized fundraisers, community relations projects and morale building events.
Lt. Jon Fujiwara, from Westminster, Colo., spoke to the crew about being proud of who they are as individuals. “It’s awesome to see everyone come out and support the community, and it was an awesome event,” said Fujiwara.
The U.S.S. Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.