Equality California on Chino Valley USD Board Vote to Forcibly Out Transgender and Nonbinary Students
Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, released the following statement from Executive Director Tony Hoang after the vote by the Chino Valley USD Board of Education to adopt a policy that will forcibly out transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming students — who may use different names and pronouns at school than those they were assigned at birth — to their parents without the student’s consent:
“Equality California is appalled and alarmed by the level of blatant homophobia and transphobia leveled against LGBTQ+ youth by the Chino Valley Unified School Board yesterday evening. With LGBTQ+ youth around the country under attack, the school board put their most vulnerable students in harm’s way with their dangerous vote to forcibly out trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming youth without their consent. The policy they passed last night is dangerous and in direct opposition to recommendations made by the California Department of Education.
In an ideal world, all LGBTQ+ students would have supportive homes with parents and guardians that are positive and active partners in conversations around gender identity and sexual orientation. Unfortunately, we know that’s not the case. According to the Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 51% of transgender and nonbinary youth identified school as a gender-affirming space, while only 32% said the same of their homes. LGBTQ+ youth are more likely to be housing-insecure, and engage in self-harming behavior — particularly if they don’t feel they have a supportive family environment.
At yesterday’s meeting, the rhetoric and behavior of many of the board members, especially Board President Sonja Shaw, was dangerous and unfit for an elected official. Shaw and fellow members referred to LGBTQ+ students as being mentally ill, a harmful and wildly false statement to make in front of students attending the meeting. They also forcibly removed meeting attendees who did not agree with their extremist agenda, including State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, Chino Valley USD students, and Equality California staff members. Shame on them.
One of the major proponents of this misguided policy change is California Assemblymember Bill Essayli, who earlier this year attempted to pass AB 1314, which would have implemented forced outing policies statewide, also attended this meeting amid his push to make the existence of LGBTQ+ youth a partisan issue. Equality California was proud to work with our partners in the legislature to defeat this cruel legislation before it even left committee.
Equality California is committed to advocating for the well-being of all LGBTQ+ students in California and will continue to closely monitor the actions of school districts around the state. We will hold elected officials who use their positions to bully and harm our youth accountable for their actions.”
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org