October 21, 2015 at 4:16 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Group attacks pro-LGBT candidates in Fairfax
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(Photo by Mario Sanchez Prada; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The anti-LGBT Traditional Values Coalition launched an email campaign earlier this month attacking all but two members of the Fairfax County School Board for “working against” students and parents by adopting what it says is a pro-gay and pro-transgender agenda.

The California-based group was referring to the board’s approval this year of a policy banning discrimination against transgender students and employees in the Fairfax public school system and a Family Life Education curriculum that calls for teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity in sex education classes in grades 7-10.

“The current school board’s recent actions demonstrate a deeply troubling pattern of a (1) lack of transparency, at times to the point of deceit and a (2) total lack of responsiveness to the point of hostility to the community of those sharing concerns about family values and respect of faith issues,” one of the group’s emails to voters says.

The board voted 10 to 2 in support of the two LGBT supportive measures during meetings where a majority of large audiences opposed the measures and booed and jeered while school board members spoke in support of the proposals.

Phil Hicks, an official with the Metro D.C. chapter of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), has testified before the school board at various public hearings that he believes a majority of parents support the LGBT-supportive policies.

The Traditional Values Coalition has endorsed candidates challenging most of the incumbents. In an action expected by LGBT activists, the group has endorsed the two school board members who either abstained or voted against the two LGBT-supportive measures.

LGBT advocates and their allies have focused on one race in the Providence District in which incumbent Patty Reed, who opposed the LGBT-supportive measures, is being challenged by Dalia Palchik, a teacher who has expressed strong support for LGBT rights. The district includes the western section of Falls Church.

Palchik has been endorsed by LGBT Democrats of Virginia and the state’s two openly gay state legislators – State Sen. Adam Ebbin of Alexandria and State Del. Mark Sickles of Fairfax. Also endorsing Palchik is Mark Levine, an openly gay candidate for a delegate seat from Alexandria.

Palchik said she would have voted for the transgender non-discrimination measure and the LGBT-inclusive Family Life Education curriculum, saying the two measures were needed to protect the rights of students vulnerable to discrimination and bullying.

Reed has said she did not vote for the trans non-discrimination policy because she believes the board needed more information through a cost-benefit analysis before voting on the measure. She has said she voted for an earlier measure banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The election is scheduled to take place Nov. 3.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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