Remarks to East Hartford Board of Education on the Appointment of Julie Kieras:
Madame Chairperson, Board Members,
There have been several high profile instances of gay students committing suicide in the United States over the past few weeks.
For each gay student who commits suicide, there are many more who don’t but who die slowly from depression, anxiety or addiction.
Do you want to know why?
Because misguided people like Ms. Kieras have created and sustained in this country a climate of hostility and intimidation towards gay and lesbian people that makes them despair and hate themselves.
When Ms. Kieras testifies against equal human rights for gay and lesbian couples by insinuating that our marriages are to be compared to “bestiality, polygamy and pedophilism,” she is committing spiritual, psychological and emotional violence against gay and lesbian students.
When Ms. Kieras testifies that public school teachers should not instruct students on the topic of homosexuality, she is depriving gay and lesbian students of positive affirmation of their lives that may just help make their lives happier and worth living.
I am astonished that Ms. Kieras as a mother and a teacher in Windsor Locks could hold such ignorant and bigoted beliefs about gay and lesbian people. I don’t know how a person can become certified to teach students without knowing the basics of human sexuality and cultural diversity and basic respect.
I don’t know how Ms. Kieras can have the audacity to run for public office and refuse to answer such fundamental justice questions as, “Do you believe gay and transgender people have a right to be teachers?”
Imagine a lesbian candidate for the school board who compared heterosexual relationships to “bestiality, polygamy and pedophilia.” The anguish you would feel is what gay and lesbian people feel tonight.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the issue before you tonight is not whether Ms. Kieras holds bigoted viewpoints. That is a matter of public record according to the Connecticut General Assembly website. Since her viewpoints were posted online eighteen months ago, Ms. Kieras, to the best of my knowledge, has not asked that her name be removed from them.
The issue before you this evening is whether you will co-sign and endorse such homophobic bigotry by voting to approve the Republican nominee.
Think of the message your decision will send to the gay and lesbian and trans students of East Hartford. Their well-being is paramount over deference to the minority party.
Stand with them. Stand against homophobic bullying. In doing so, you may just be saving a life.
Read the Hartford Courant Article:
"High school junior Rachel Conboy said she attended the meeting to hear
what Kieras had to say after reading her comments, which Coboy said
"just really scared us." She's not decided about Kieras, but said that
the school's Gay-Straight Alliance would continue to take an active
interest in the board.
Said Conboy, "If she tries anything, we'll be watching."
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