Equality Texas, the largest nonprofit in Texas focused on securing full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people, and GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, are responding to proposals passed by the Carroll Independent School District (ISD) in Southlake, Texas, removing established protections for LGBTQ students.
Carroll ISD joins other school districts in North Texas, including Keller, Frisco and Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, in targeting transgender students by restricting bathroom access and pronoun use that aligns with a student’s gender identity.
The approved measures in Carroll ISD were passed on July 25 and are set to go into effect for the upcoming school year. They require students to use the bathroom or locker room that “corresponds to their biological sex assigned at birth” and remove policies that require district employees to use pronouns that align with a student’s gender identity. The board also removed mentions of sexual orientation and gender identity in the district’s handbook and code of conduct.
Many elected board members are backed by Southlake Families PAC, a group formed to reject diversity and inclusion efforts to address topics including race and racism. The PAC describes itself as protecting Southlake’s “tradition of excellence” that is “unapologetically rooted in Judeo-Christian values.” Carroll ISD faces numerous investigations by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, including racial, gender and sex discrimination and violating the rights of students with different abilities. Students have alleged they were severely bullied based on their race, gender and national origin.
“All students should feel supported and cherished at school, including trans and gender-expansive students. Forcing trans girls to use the men’s room and trans boys to use the women’s restroom is inhumane,” Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas said. “Young queer people are already disproportionately targeted by classroom bullies, now the Carroll ISD school board has stripped students of a small dignity that most young people take for granted. That a group of publicly elected adults have decided to wield their power to further isolate young trans people is mind-boggling. It’s alarming to see how money from one influential phone company has undermined the values of a whole community. We know that Texans believe in freedom and equality, we should demonstrate those values to our kids. Just a little kindness and compassion can enrich a child’s life.”
“These policies go against all available research about how to create environments where every student is safe, and shamefully attempt to erase LGBTQ people and families from schools and communities. Every student and staff member should feel safe in school, be able to use facilities they feel safest in and be called by their names and pronouns, a matter of basic decency and common sense,” Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD said. “LGBTQ people are in our schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces, and we have the support of our families, friends, neighbors and colleagues. Every voter and leader should be speaking out against school boards that work harder to attack vulnerable children than provide safe and successful places to learn and grow.”
- 82% of LGBTQ students experienced first-hand harassment or bullying in their school
- More than 30% of LGBTQ students reported missing school because they felt unsafe.
- Over half of all LGBTQ students of color experienced in-person attacks based on their race or ethnicity.
- Transgender and nonbinary young people whose schools are gender-affirming reported lower rates of attempting suicide.
- Transgender and nonbinary young people whose pronouns were respected reported attempting suicide at half the rate of those who lived with others who did not respect their pronouns.
- GLAAD’s Accelerating Acceptance Study (released June 2023) notes a 96% of non-LGBTQ Americans agree that schools should be a safe and accepting place for all youth. 91% agree that LGBTQ people should have the freedom to live their life and not be discriminated against.
- CDC research shows inclusive policies benefit all students, and restrictive LGBTQ policies negatively impact all students, including heterosexual peers.
About Equality Texas:
We envision a Texas where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Texans and their families have full equality in the hearts and minds of our fellow Texans and in all areas of the law. Equality Texas works to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Texans through political action, education, community organizing, and collaboration.
About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.