On behalf of the board of directors of Pride New Albany, we’d like to express our disappointment in the New Albany Board of Education’s changes to Policy 2416. These changes, which were adopted in August 2022, prohibit students under the age of 18 from using their preferred names and pronouns without parental permission. This policy is having a profound and traumatic impact on New Albany students.
Pride New Albany’s mission is to show LGBTQ+ people of all ages that they belong in New Albany. We aim to serve as a beacon of awareness and positivity. When we formed nearly four years ago, our charter was to celebrate LGBTQ+ people. Now, as the Silicon Heartland takes shape and our community steps onto the global stage, we realize that we can’t yet celebrate while our LGBTQ+ youth are under attack.
We stand with LGBTQ+ students and their families, as well as students and families who identify as allies. We stand with teachers and administrators who support their students.
Over the last year, LGBTQ+ students have shared their experiences of bullying with members of the Board of Education. They have asked the Board of Education for support and safety, and we ask the Board of Education to give it to them. Furthermore, we ask the Board of Education to modify Policy 2416 to allow students to use preferred names and pronouns without parental permission. We believe this will protect LGBTQ+ students, allow ally students to support their friends, demonstrate that all New Albany students belong in our community, and keep vulnerable LGBTQ+ students alive.
Last October, members of our board were interviewed by 7th grade social studies students in honor of LGBTQ+ History Month. Afterward, several of those students sent thank-you notes. Here’s what some of them said:
“Thank you for explaining more about the LGBTQ community and how they are being treated and how we can improve…I love how you used the word ‘belong’ which made me understand more.”
“Thank you for doing this interview, it helped a lot of people.”
“Thank you for helping younger people know it’s ok to be different.”
“I’m really happy that you started this…I think it helps a lot of people, including me.”
“Thank you for making sure LGBTQ people know they matter and they’re worth it.”
“Thank you for making everyone feel like they belong. I think it really helps a lot of people, especially when kids can be mean when they don’t understand something.”
“People for sure feel safer knowing that there is always someone who supports them.”
“Thank you so much for bringing awareness, I know it makes my classmates feel safe, but also me as well.”
“I have a friend who is part of the LGBTQ community and you just made me think how I need to know about pronouns.”
“…I do not identify as LGBTQ+ but many of my friends do. I’m so glad that you’re making people feel like they belong.”
Here’s to a world where we all feel lifted up and celebrated. Here’s to a community where we all feel comfortable being our true selves. Here’s to feeling like we all belong.