Two more teachers have joined a lawsuit against a Loudoun County School Board policy that asks staff to use the correct pronouns of trans students.
The lawsuit attacking the new trans policy began in June with just one claimant, PE teacher Tanner Cross, but has now been joined by Monica Gill, a history teacher, and Kimberly Wright, an English teacher.
They argue that using the correct pronouns for trans students goes against their religious beliefs.
The teachers are being represented by lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an Evangelical Christian law firm that opposes abortion, women’s and LGBT+ rights, and was designated an anti-LGBT+ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre in 2016.
Cross told the Loudoun County School Board in May that he wouldn’t use the right pronouns for trans students “because it’s against my religion” and “sinning against our God”. He also described affirming a trans child’s gender as “lying to a child” and “abuse to a child”.
ADF lawyer Tyson Langhofer told Fox News that the lawsuit is asking for “accommodation for all teachers to be able to speak without being forced to speak things that they believe are untrue and that are harmful to students”.
“The accommodation they’re seeking is they would use whatever name students want, they just want to be able to avoid using pronouns that are inconsistent with a student’s biological sex,” Langhofer said.
Loudoun County School Board’s new trans policy
The new policy, which was passed by school board vote on 11 August, advises that schools should allow trans students to “use their chosen name and gender pronouns that reflect their consistently asserted gender identity” and asks teachers to use their name and pronouns, too.
Staff or students who “intentionally and persistently refuse to respect a student […] by using the wrong name and gender pronoun” will be in violation of the policy, which also says that trans students should be able to play sports, use the bathroom and take part in other gendered activities in accordance with their identity.
“All school mental health professionals will complete training on topics relating to LGBTQ+ students, including procedures for preventing and responding to bullying, harassment and discrimination based on gender identity/expression,” the policy says.
Parents who oppose the trans-inclusive policy and the guidance on teaching about race protested outside the school board meeting, leading to one person being arrested.
One teacher, Laura Morris, dramatically quit her job during the school board meeting saying that the new trans policy goes against her views as “a believer in Christ”.
While parents of trans pupils and teachers at the school spoke in favour of the new policy, many with Christian beliefs opposed it.
Substitute teacher Emily Hart said that it would be a violation of her religious rights: “[It] would force teachers to act against their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Rene Camp, parent of three, said she is a “Christian mom” and believes that God “created us male and female”.