School-aged children all over the country are still coming under fire from conservative, anti-LGBTQ+ groups and school boards who find it well within their rights to dictate how they will speak, what they will read, what sports teams they’ll play on, and what bathrooms they use.
Despite the looming presence of these closed-minded ideas and groups like Moms For Liberty busting at the seams to instill “traditional family values” onto all of us, some parents are not having it, and they’ve had just about enough.
A video of Cody Conner, a Virginia Beach dad, is going viral after he spoke up at a school board meeting last month. The father of three gave a deeply moving and heartfelt speech about the state’s “discriminatory policies” and called out anyone who stands in favor of them.
“You are never going to find a right way to do the wrong thing and Governor Youngkin’s policies are wrong,” he began his speech.
The Virginia governor’s “model policies” for public schools require students to use the bathroom and sports team that matches their assigned sex. It also requires written instruction from parents for a student to use names or gender pronouns that differ from the official record.
This means that teachers and administrators have full permission to use a student’s dead name — referring to them by their prior name— if paperwork isn’t filled out by the parents. This also requires the school to inform parents if a student is “questioning their identity,” according to 13 News Now.
Conner told PRIDE that he worries about the future of his 13-year-old trans daughter who is now in the 8th grade after he and his family moved from rural Virginia to Virginia Beach. Conner hoped the move would help his daughter, who came out as trans a year ago, and put her in a school system that would be supportive. Thanks to Youngkin, though, that has not been the case.
In his speech, that now has almost half a million views on TikTok, Conner pointed out that the fact that the Proud Boys and the “parental rights” group Moms for Liberty support these kind of policies proves the point that these policies are wrong.
The Proud Boys and Moms For Liberty are both considered hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“Never in history have the good guys been the segregationist group pushing to legislate identity,” he said.
“Never in history have the good guys been closely connected with and supported by hate groups like the Proud Boys. And the good guys don’t put Hitler quotes for inspiration on the front of their newsletters. News flash: they’re the bad guys. They’re the bad guys supporting bad policy. And if you support the same bad policy, guess what? You’re one of the bad guys too.”
He concluded his moment by reminding the school board members to “be the good guys while you still can.”
Conner’s ability to deliver a strong and powerful speech in such a calm demeanor truly captured the internet with thousands of people supporting his choice to stand up and have a voice for his daughter and all the other children who will be negatively affected by these policies.
“You speak so gently but so powerfully, you seem like you’re probably a wonderful father and I wish more kids had a parent like you,” one user wrote.
“This brought tears to my eyes, sir. So powerfully and beautifully said. Thank you. ✊️,” another echoed.
Another said, “You just healed something in my 46yr old Trans Spirit. Thank you for being this Dad. This Man. Thank you for this taste of hope and safety.”
One more wrote, “As the mother of a trans child whose very existence is threatened daily by ignorant, bigoted politicians…THANK YOU!”
“In a very real way the LGBTQ+ community gets treated by a lot of people as if they’re unwholesome in some way, with zero acknowledgment that so many members of the community have been isolated and ostracized from these presumed wholesome places and traumatized in places like the family dinner table,” Conner told PRIDE. “And I just wanted to take that back, create a safe space to sit down and break bread with people [who are] welcome and wanted.”
This type of parenting and support from adults who can actually use their voices for good and change are what this world needs more of.