November 12, 2015 at 6:52 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Fairfax school board member retweets anti-trans article
Elizabeth Schultz, gay news, Washington Blade

Fairfax County Public School Board Member Elizabeth Schultz (Photo courtesy of FCPS TV)

A group that represents LGBT employees of the Fairfax County School District has called upon a school board member who voted against adding gender identity to an anti-discrimination policy to apologize for linking to an article that describes transgender people as mentally ill.

FCPS Pride has also requested that Elizabeth Schultz, who represents the Springfield District on the Fairfax County School Board, meet with trans students and their parents.

Schultz on Nov. 7 retweeted an article that Matt Walsh wrote for TheBlaze.com, a website that conservative talk show host Glenn Beck founded, in which he criticized a ruling from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights that said an Illinois school district violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by preventing a trans high school student from using the girls’ locker room.

“‘Transgenders’ are men who struggle with mental illness and sexual perversion,” wrote Walsh. “Of all the men to permit in a girls’ locker room, one might argue that ‘transgenders’ ought to be last on the list.”

Walsh further accused President Obama of “facilitating the sexual abuse of underage children” and said the “homosexual/transgender lobby can never be appeased.”

Schultz in May was the only member of the Fairfax County School Board to vote against a proposal that added gender identity to the district’s anti-discrimination policy. She pointed out to the Washington Blade on Wednesday during a telephone interview that a consultant hired by the district has yet to issue a report on how to implement the new regulation.

Robert Rigby, Jr., a spokesperson for FCPS Pride who teaches at West Potomac High School in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County, told the Blade on Tuesday during an interview that Schultz has proposed a “roundtable where stakeholders can have their voices heard, regardless of their viewpoints.”

“She either doesn’t understand or isn’t responding to what I proposed, which is she meet with transgender students and their parents to get to know them as people,” said Rigby.

Schultz on Wednesday acknowledged that she supports a meeting between “all stakeholders” and newly elected school board members.

She said privacy concerns must be taken into account before such a meeting can take place.

Schultz told the Blade that Rigby “demanded to meet with me.”

“I let him (Rigby) know right away it’s an excellent idea,” Schultz told the Blade, referring to the meeting. “It should have been done from the onset, but we have to be very careful…it’s not just something you just do.”

School board member doubles down against critics

Schultz admitted to the Blade that she did not read the entire article before she retweeted it.

“I had an excerpt about what happened in Chicago and grabbed a link,” she said. “The business that any one person links to something that somehow there is an assertion that they agree with everything in it is such a red herring.”

“It is used to bully people when it’s convenient,” added Schultz.

Several Twitter users have criticized her for sharing the link to Walsh’s article.

Schultz has engaged directly many of these critics on her Twitter account in recent days.

“It disturbs me greatly when people get into mud-slinging,” Schultz told the Blade. “I call it out on both sides…I’m not afraid to answer and engage.”

Schultz on Nov. 4 won re-election after she ran unopposed.

The Traditional Values Coalition, a group that opposed the inclusion of gender identity to the anti-discrimination policy, endorsed Schultz.

Patty Reed, a Republican board member who abstained from the vote, lost to Democrat Dalia Palchik by a 58-41 percent margin. The Traditional Values Coalition also endorsed Reed.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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