Republicans have one clear mission amid the novel coronavirus pandemic: Stomp down on trans folks—and especially, trans youth—as much as possible. Whether that means stoking hysteria about girls’ sports for kindergarteners, trying to bar patients from receiving gender-affirming health care (and physicians from providing it), or working to erase trans folks from legal documents, Republicans across the nation have shown us once again that when it comes to distracting from their failures, they’re happy to ignite hate and distract by any means possible. And sometimes, the overlap of poor COVID-19 leadership and transphobia is just too blatant to ignore.
Take U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel, for example, as covered by LGBTQ Nation. The pro-Trump Republican who recently compared refugees to alligators showed up at a Butler County school board meeting to rant about masks and trans-inclusive policies that would offer vulnerable youth a shred of dignity and respect. While it doesn’t erase the harm he caused by spewing his hateful ideas, there is a glimmer of relief in knowing he was escorted out of the meeting after causing a ruckus.
“Here in the Lakota District and throughout the state of Ohio, children should not be forced to wear masks,” Mandel, who doesn’t actually live in the district, said on Monday night. Mandel asserted that kids were being used as political “pawns” in the mask debate.
As we know, of course, masks help to keep both the person wearing them and those around them safe. This is important, period, but especially so given that many young people are not yet eligible for vaccines or might be going home to folks who have compromised immune systems. Of course, given that Mandel has literally compared vaccine mandates to the Holocaust, it’s no surprise he’s an anti-masker, but it’s still disappointing and harmful to have his views spewed in a place where he might have influence.
Mandel continued his rant by adding, “children should not be forced to learn about to pick a gender or not pick a gender. Boys are boys, girls are girls.” Boys are boys and girls are girls, sure—meaning cisgender and trans boys are boys, and cisgender and trans girls are girls. Though given his trail of anti-trans tweets, again, this is not surprising.
When two security guards tried to remove him, Mandel repeatedly questioned whether not it was a public meeting. After some in the audience affirmed that it was a public meeting, Mandel said he was just trying to “stand up” for moms and dads.
“Why am I not allowed to speak?” Mandel, who actually lives in the Cleveland area, asked after the guards tried to remove him again.
“Because you don’t live here,” a woman’s voice is heard saying.
“I’m just trying to stand up for kids,” Mandel said.
A debate broke out as the audience (both masked and unmasked) recorded the rest of the interaction. Lakota Local School District board candidate Darbi Boddy apparently asked Mandel to speak, which, according to him, would overrule the requirement that he has to be a resident to speak. However, board President Kelley Casper said that Boddy merely “yielded her time” to speak but did not designate Mandel as the speaker on her behalf.
As explained by local outlet WCPO, the district’s policy specifies that one must either be a member of Lakota staff or actually live in the district to speak. They must also have a “legitimate interest” in the board’s decisions.
Betsy Fuller, the spokesperson for the Lakota Local Schools, gave the Cincinnati Enquirer a statement about the meeting, in which she said Mandel violated the policy by “bringing his own videographer” without contacting the superintendent ahead of time and not being introduced as a resident’s designee according to policy.
“Mr. Mandel’s appearance at the meeting was a staged event meant to disrupt a public meeting,” the statement adds. “The clear disruption he caused is why he was asked to leave the meeting.”
Mandel, of course, was more than happy to share video snippets to Twitter, where you can watch and listen to the above interactions happen.
You can watch the school board meeting below. However, because the board stopped recording when the recess was called, you’ll notice the above videos (taken by folks in the audience) are not part of the footage.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.