Qmmunity: SBOE Debates the Good, the Bad, and the Bass-ackwards

Plus, join AIDS Walk Austin Saturday to step to zero new HIV infections by 2030

These boots are made for stepping to zero with AIDS Walk Austin Saturday.
These boots are made for stepping to zero with AIDS Walk Austin Saturday.

Late last week, the State Board of Education debated the good, the bad, and the bass-ackward as it works to overhaul Texas' sex ed curriculum. While new standards for teaching seventh- and eighth-graders about birth control methods were spared evisceration in preliminary voting, the GOP-dominated SBOE rejected amendments to teach middle school and high school students (and I quote) "the importance of treating all people with dignity and respect regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity." District 2 Dem Ruben Cortez Jr. also proposed teaching students to "define and differentiate between sexual orientation and gender identity," though that was defeated. (All SBOE Dems backed the proposals, with D7's Matt Robinson the sole Republican to support them.) The clownery continued with debates on teaching kids about sexual assault: The board rejected specific references about consent. (D5 Republican Ken Mercer, in a feat of world-class WTF, even suggested that "consent" was a "gateway term" for pedophiles to exploit kids.) "The SBOE is actively choosing not to take care of students who already experience heightened levels of bullying and harassment [when] they have the option to enact real changes that would benefit all students," Out Youth's Texas GSA Network Coordinator Heather Frederick told me. And I'll add that those actions couldn't be clearer – or more dangerous – in their message: Queer and trans youth lives don't matter. The board is expected to take its final vote on the curriculum in November, but what are some actionable ways we can fight against the bigotry? I agree with Frederick's suggestion that allyship is crucial: straight and cis allies supporting LGBTQIA folks; white allies supporting Black and Indigenous folks; nondisabled allies supporting disabled folks. Frederick added, "Voting for candidates who respect our humanity is the bare minimum," and we'll have the chance to do just that as eight SBOE seats go on the November ballot, including Travis County's districts 5 and 10. The SBOE failed Texas' 5 million public school students – we can do better.

2 to Do

Unsettled Tom Shepard's doc follows LGBTQIA refugees and asylum-seekers as they flee persecution in their home countries and resettle in the U.S. Post-screening discussion with Refugee Services of Texas in Austin. Thu., Sept. 17, 6:30pm. Online. Free (RSVP required). www.agliff.org.

AIDS Walk Austin For its 33rd year, AIDS Walk Austin is going virtual: Choose from self-guided routes around the city to raise money for 10 local and statewide AIDS service organizations in Central Texas and to ultimately reach zero new HIV infections by 2030. Sat., Sept. 19, 9am-1pm. Online. $25+. www.aidswalkaustin.org.

Q'd Up

Contraception and Pregnancy Test Kits Just text 866/999-5263 for delivery. Free. www.janesdueprocess.org.

Queer and Trans Community Closet Bus passes, groceries, and more. Out Youth, 909 E. 49th½, 512/419-1233. Free. www.outyouth.org.

Body Talk With Kelly Jensen, author of the YA book Body Talk: 37 Voices Explore Our Radical Bodies. Thu., Sept. 17, 7-8:30pm. Online. www.fb.com/bookwomanaustin.

BedPost Confessions Former "Gay Place" scribe Andy Campbell and Fat Bottom Cabaret's Nikki DaVaughn on all things sex-ay. Fri., Sept. 18, 7:30-9:15pm. Online. $10. www.fb.com/bedpostconfessions.

ATX Pride Book Club Austin Black Pride's first book club! Fri., Sept. 18, 8-9pm. Online. www.fb.com/austinblackpride.

Workout! With Erica Nix Make exercise fun again. Saturdays, 10:30am. Online. Price varies. www.patreon.com/workoutwithericanix.

Stay Home Book Club and happy hour with BossBabes ATX. Mon., Sept. 21, 6-8pm. Online. Donations welcome. www.fb.com/bossbabesatx.

GOTV Phone Bank in the name of achieving equality at the polls. Wednesdays, 5:30-7:30pm. www.fb.com/equalitytexas.

Want more queer? Visit austinchronicle.com/qmmunity

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Austin LGBTQ, Austin LGTBQ, State Board of Education, sex education, Out Youth, Frederick Heather, Ruben Cortez, Ken Mercer, Matt Robinson, November 2020 election

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