Presentation at Becker school board draws outrage from LGBT groups

LGBT students, teachers, and supporters gathered to protest a presentation to the Becker school board by a controversial group that activists said utilised anti-Transgender rhetoric.

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“I believe that goes against everything a school is supposed to do,” Heather Abrahamson said.
The special school board meeting in Becker on Monday night drew a large crowd of demonstrators.

Skyler Seiler, a transgender student at the school, stated, “This is disgusting.” “I can’t believe it, but we’re both people. I’m not sure why they treat us as if we aren’t. As school board members, it is your responsibility to ensure that students feel safe and welcome.”

The Minnesota Child Protection League gave a presentation during the meeting.
Heather Abrahamson, an adviser with the school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance, said, “I believe it’s damaging, and I think it’s going to have horrific implications.”

The MCPL is an anti-LGBTQ+ hate group, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the presentation gave an alternative perspective on Transgender adolescents, causing indignation among LGBTQ students.

“Human rights do not have two sides,” Heather Abrahamson explained, “so putting in another side just doesn’t make sense to me.”

“The sources they were quoting were not credible, and it was completely biassed and insulting,” Maggie Seiler remarked.
Many in attendance believed the information was inadequately cited and researched, and that the group should not be given a platform. The atmosphere was tense, and the audience turned away from the stage at times.

“These people, these kids, want to be respected, and I get that, but they don’t comprehend respect,” Dan McConnell remarked.

The material was well received by several of the attendees.

“Everything has more than one side,” McConnell argued.

The majority, on the other hand, questioned the district for introducing bias into the institution.

“I’m sure those kids in there feel even more isolated and as if the school doesn’t support them and as if they have even fewer rights,” Maggie Seiler said.

Becker students protest as anti-LGBT group presents to school board

BECKER, Minn. (KROC-AM News) — More than 100 protesters turned their backs on school board presenters who offered the “other side” of recent discussions on equality at a high school here on Monday, chanting messages supporting the LGBTQ community and turning their backs on messages supporting the LGBTQ community.

Following outcry from some community members when OutFront Minnesota — an organisation that supports lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, and transgender rights — presented at an August meeting, the school board invited the Child Protection League to speak at a special meeting.

The Child Protection League portrays itself as a group dedicated to preventing children from being exploited or indoctrinated. Barb Anderson was a founding member of the group, which was labelled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its anti-gay rhetoric and involvement in the Anoka-Hennepin School District after a spate of suicides and a lawsuit alleging the district failed to respond to sexual orientation harassment.

Anderson is also on an anti-LGBT watchlist, according to GLAAD, for suggesting LGBTQ antibullying initiatives are the “pied piper of depravity” and affirm sexual illnesses.

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Anderson was not present at Monday’s meeting, but Julie Quist, the chair of the Child Protection League’s board of directors, spoke about children’s books that she claimed broke community beliefs and traditions by embracing different gender identities. Quist previously worked for U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s district office. Former Becker board members Betsy Armstrong and Chris Klippen also spoke.

Armstrong spoke for nearly 50 minutes before being interrupted by demonstrators, largely Becker students, who questioned her remarks or chanted “gay rights are human rights.”

Following outcry from some community members when OutFront Minnesota — an organisation that supports lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, and transgender rights — presented at an August meeting, the school board invited the Child Protection League to speak at a special meeting.

The Child Protection League portrays itself as a group dedicated to preventing children from being exploited or indoctrinated. Barb Anderson was a founding member of the group, which was labelled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its anti-gay rhetoric and involvement in the Anoka-Hennepin School District after a spate of suicides and a lawsuit alleging the district failed to respond to sexual orientation harassment.

Anderson is also on an anti-LGBT watchlist, according to GLAAD, for suggesting LGBTQ antibullying initiatives are the “pied piper of depravity” and affirm sexual illnesses.

Anderson was not present at Monday’s meeting, but Julie Quist, the chair of the Child Protection League’s board of directors, spoke about children’s books that she claimed broke community beliefs and traditions by embracing different gender identities. Quist previously worked for U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s district office. Former Becker board members Betsy Armstrong and Chris Klippen also spoke.

Armstrong spoke for nearly 50 minutes before being interrupted by demonstrators, largely Becker students, who questioned her remarks or chanted “gay rights are human rights.”

STAR TRIBUNE’S JENNY BERG
On Monday, March 14, the Rev. Yolanda Denson-Byers, pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Becker, led a crowd denouncing the anti-gay group Child Protection League’s presentation at Becker High School.
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She focused on the “worrisome” rise in the number of transgender youth in the last decade, citing plausible causes such as anxiety, autism, or sexual trauma worsened by peer and social media influences — a “social contagion,” as Armstrong put it.

Armstrong also cited a Bible verse that states that God created two sexes — male and female — and claimed that those who follow religious beliefs are constitutionally protected and that their views should be given equal weight.

“Those interacting” with LGBTQ persons should have the choice of using a new name and preferred pronouns, according to Armstrong.

Members of the school’s Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) have been advocating for LGBTQ rights for more than a year, according to Joe Rand, an instructor with the University of Minnesota Extension and a part-time Becker district employee. After a surge of bullying and physical conflicts between students based on race or sexual orientation, students walked out of school in April.

GSA adviser and social studies teacher Heather Abrahamson said she urged district authorities for increased staff training on LGBTQ issues and justice last summer. The OutFront Minnesota presentation was intended to be a training opportunity for staff, but it turned into a community event with the board, according to Abrahamson.

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