The Inclusive Faith Coalition of Arlington sent the following letter to Grapevine-Colleyville ISD’s recent actions targeting LGBT students:
We, the LGBTQ+ affirming clergy and congregations of the Inclusive Faith Coalition, write to express our deep sorrow and frustration over the Grapevine-Colleyville ISD decision to further erode the dignity and rights of its LGBTQ+ students. Newly passed district policy states that teachers will not be required to address students by their preferred pronouns; bars transgender students from using bathrooms and playing on sports teams that reflect their gender identities; and disallows teachers and staff from teaching about or even mentioning sexual orientation and gender identity until children reach the 6th grade. These new policies also include censorship of books that teach students about LGBTQ+ identities as well as the history of racism, discrimination, and inequity in this country.
The adoption of these directives is dangerous and irresponsible. Such policies unleash untold damage on children who will not be able to live as their authentic selves, nor believe that their schools will be safe spaces for them to learn, grow, and thrive. This action threatens their very existence during a crucial time in their lives when they are discovering their place in the world, developing self-esteem, and exploring ways to express pride in who they are becoming. Because of these policies, vulnerable children will be subject to increased bullying, humiliation, and physical, emotional, and psychological suffering.
These policies are nothing short of persecution. As religious leaders in our Texas communities, we affirm that many of these children and their families are deeply committed to their religious faith. It is because of their faith that they affirm their children’s beautiful diversity, believing that every human being is created in God’s image and deserving of dignity – including, among other things, the dignity of being called by the names and pronouns they have chosen for themselves, and having the basic right to use the bathroom that honors those choices.
Because of our religious faith, the congregations we lead are doing everything we can to protect and support these students and their families – both those who attend our congregations and those who do not. We cannot stand by and watch the needless suffering of any of God’s children. We ask you to reconsider your decision to implement these destructive policies.
grace and peace,
the clergy of the Inclusive Faith Coalition of Arlington and surrounding communities
Cantor Sheri Allen
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism,
Rev. Ken Ehrke
Embrace United Church of Christ, Richland Hills
Rev. Dr. Katie Hays
Galileo Christian Church (Disciples of Christ),
Rev. Allison Liles
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Hurst
Rev. Kevin Johnson
St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Arlington
Pastor Curtis Smith
Trinity Metropolitan Community Church, Grapevine
Rev. Kate McGee
Westminster Presbyterian Church, Arlington
Rev. Jeremy Skaggs
Welcome Table Christian Church
(Disciples of Christ), Arlington
Rev. Jeremy Pope
hospice chaplain, Fort Worth