Marilyn at MISD, Sept. 2018
Galileo Church continues to serve as the community organizing hub for Mansfield Equality Coalition, an alliance of hundreds of individuals and advocacy groups demanding protections for LGBTQ+ students and staff in the written policies of Mansfield Independent School District. We attend school board meetings each month and coordinate speakers for the public comments — faculty, religious leaders, students, and parents connected with MISD. This is Marilyn B’s speech at the September meeting. Content consideration: a frank description of the bullying of LGBTQ persons, including name-calling, is included.
My name is Marilyn, and I am a Jesus follower, AP III English Teacher at Mansfield HS, a Galileo church member, and a Mansfield Equality Coalition member.
I have advocated and will advocate for my students and their well-being. I want them to be healthy mentally and emotionally; intellect cannot thrive until these basics are met. I especially advocate for those who are marginalized.
From what I understand the board is hesitant to take action on implementing LGBTQ protection policies for students and faculty until a certain court case has reached its conclusion.
I am here to say that we cannot wait years or months until that time.
When we know that LGBTQ youth are 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual youth,
when talented athletes are afraid to join a team because of their identity,
when students tell me stories of teachers mocking and belittling the LGBT community, we cannot wait to change our policies.
When 4 out of 10 LGBTQ youth say they are not do not feel accepted in their community,
when my co-workers who are effective and amazing teachers wondered if they should renew their contracts with MISD for this year,
when my husband, without a second thought, can surprise me by bringing me Starbucks at school, and my LGBTQ co-workers’ spouses are afraid to, we cannot wait to change our policies.
When our LGBTQ youth are bullied twice as much as their heterosexual peers and a third of the time it’s on school property,
when students tell me that their first name becomes “fag”, their middle name becomes “fairy”, and then last name becomes “that gay kid,”
when my students tell me that there are only a few rooms in the building where they feel safe, then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait to change our policies.
When the National Alliance for Mental Illness says the LGBT community experiences minority stress,
when my students are constantly trying not to hate themselves,
when LGBTQ teens experience depression six times the rate of heterosexual teens, we cannot wait to change our policy.
When my students are harassed by day and shamed by their families at night because of who they love or their orientation, regretting who they are, never quite feeling safe, and are plagued with self-resentment; we find it difficult to wait to change our policies
Over the summer, this Coalition was led to believe the policy and procedure committee would take action. I respectfully ask you to take the action now to explicitly protect the LGBTQ teachers and students from bullying and discrimination.