October 31, 2013

I am outraged

I've got the right to be meI have been outraged the past couple of weeks as I’ve learned about a smear campaign directed at a Colorado transgender student. As you might expect, the made-up accusations originated with an anti-LGBT organization and its allies in conservative media.

When I asked the student’s mother what GLSEN could do to help, she said the thing her daughter needs most right now is support. She asked if GLSEN supporters would be willing to send her daughter messages of encouragement.

It is the least we can do. I hope you’ll take a minute to send the student a message of support.

Part of what makes this story so heartbreaking is that this student’s school experience could have been one of hope and progress. School is rarely welcoming for transgender students, but the girl’s school district has offered support at every opportunity.

When a small group of parents objected to the student using the girls’ bathroom, the school held firm. So the anti-LGBT Pacific Justice Institute stepped in and made up a story that she was harassing girls in the bathroom. Conservative media like Fox News then spread the lies.

According to the school district and fellow students, the accusations are completely false.

Anti-LGBT extremists will stop at nothing – including attacking an innocent teenage girl – to roll back any progress for LGBT students.

Some media have since fully recanted their stories, but the girl has had to live with the harassment the stories have generated. She has even received death threats simply because she wants to be able to be herself and be safe in school.

If you’re as outraged and heartbroken as I am, I hope you’ll take a minute and send her a message of love and encouragement.

Please help us show our friend she’s not alone.

Eliza Byard

About Eliza Byard

Dr. Eliza Byard is the Executive Director of GLSEN - the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.

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