Amid Equity Backlash, Loudoun Supervisors Celebrate Local LGBTQ Heroes

As Loudoun lands again in national headlines over a backlash to protections for transgender students in the schools, the county’s other governing board has passed a resolution marking the work of some of the people working for equality.

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors’ proclamation recognizing June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month spotlights the advocacy work of Maha Majdoub and Antonio Maradiaga, owners of Twinpanzee Brewing Company, and Charlotte McConnell and other members of Equality Loudoun. Twinpanzee hosts an annual Pride Party, and McConnell is credited with helping relaunch Equality Loudoun in 2017.

“To not support this resolution is a blatant refusal to adapt to changing culture and dehumanizes our neighbors, and to argue against affirming the rights and the existence and the work of the LGBT community,” Supervisor Juli E. Briskman (D-Algonkian) said during the June 15 board meeting. “It goes also against our vision that we adopted as a board and as a county, that we will strive to be an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable community at where residents feel free to live, work, learn and play.”

Loudoun has been in national news as some Loudouners and national conservative political groups have descended on the county to protest two equity initiatives: addressing structural racism in schools, and developing new state-mandated protections for transgender students.

The ceremonial resolution did not pass unanimously.

Supervisor Caleb A. Kershner (R-Catoctin) said he would not support the resolution because of a passage in the Board of Supervisors Rules of Order, which holds that “due to the nature and purpose of Board Resolutions, they should not be controversial, and it is preferable that all resolutions be approved by a unanimous vote from the dais.”

Instead, Kershner voted against the resolution and Supervisors Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) and Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) left the dais before the vote. Kershner, Buffington and Letourneau also did not sign the resolution.

“I think the most individuals would agree that all humans should be treated equally, not because of their sexuality, because they are humans and because they are fellow Americans,” Kershner said. “But thousands of people in Loudoun County and across the United States would not agree, or would certainly find this resolution controversial, especially those people of faith who have different views on sexuality.”

Supervisor Michael R. Turner (D-Ashburn) pointed the long history of using biblical passages to justify discrimination.

“When I was going through helicopter training in Ogden, UT, in 1974, there was a big issue in Salt Lake City and Ogden that the local Boy Scouts would not allow a Black boy scout to join the Boy Scout troop,” Turner recalled. “And the reason was biblical, apparently. There was some link back to Cain and Abel that that they were not equal and therefore should not be allowed to join.” He also recalled the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the military during his U.S. Air Force service.

“If we try really hard, we can always find segments of our society to ostracize and hold up as different than the rest of us,” Turner said. This resolution simply recognizes and respects the LGBTQ community here in Loudoun County as a vibrant and important element of our community, just like so many other groups in our community.”

He described the uproar over LGBTQ as overblown.

“This is a faux controversy by certain elements within our society, writ large across the nation, and it’s, like so many other faux controversies we have going on right now, it’s a stalking horse for other personal agendas and political agendas,” Turner said.

“These are families coming out in defense of their children, trying to make sure their children have the best life possible,” Supervisor Kristen C. Umstattd (D-Leesburg) said. “This is not a group forcing this on anybody. It’s families and individuals who just want to be treated equally and with dignity.”

“Sometimes I don’t know what to say when people have put their beliefs on a group of people and, just to try to put them in a corner, like they don’t exist, or they don’t want them to exist, or what they’re doing or how they live their lives is wrong,” Supervisor Sylvia R. Glass (D-Broad Run) said. “You know, I thought that we’ve come a long way.”

And County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) drew from her own faith—pointing to Sundays in church, Wednesdays in Bible study, Thursdays at deacon meetings, and Saturday mornings in choir practice.

“You do not want to go to the toe with the Bible with me,” Randall said.

She also recalled when a member of her family came out as gay in her twenties, after a life of dating men.

“She said, ‘Phyllis, I tried everything I could try to not be gay. I didn’t want to be gay. I don’t want to be gay, and I tried because I know my large Christian family, it would be hard for you all,’ she said. ‘But no matter what I do, no matter who I date, no matter how much I pray about it, I’m gay.’”

“This is not a choice. If it was a choice, I know one young lady who would not have made that choice,” Randall said.

“Religious freedom in America means that we all have a right to our religious beliefs, but this does not give us the right to use our religion to discriminate against and impose those beliefs on others who do not share them,” Briskman said.

After the resolution passed, it was presented to members of Equality Loudoun.

“We are all worthy of respect and love and dignity, and it is not a choice, so Equality Loudoun is going to continue to persevere,” McConnell said. “And my freedom of speech in saying these are my pronouns, that should be respected, because if a gym teacher called my child stupid, I would have something to say about it, so it’s just as offensive when you misgender a student.”

7 thoughts on “Amid Equity Backlash, Loudoun Supervisors Celebrate Local LGBTQ Heroes

  • 2021-06-16 at 5:36 pm
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    “If we try really hard, we can always find segments of our society to ostracize and hold up as different than the rest of us,” Turner said.”

    You really know people who ‘try really hard’ to find other people to ostracize Mike? For real? You should find a better class of folks to hang out with. The suddenly found reliance on religion among these supers isn’t a coincidence. You just know there’s an internal e-mail saying “go big on the God thingy.”

    Once again, a gang of public servants telling us how evil Loudoun is, and we’re a big nest of bigots who sneak around looking for people to oppress. Who are the real bigots here — looking down with their smug ignorance at the rest of us?

  • 2021-06-17 at 3:02 am
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    Let’s get it straight: they’re not working for Equality, they’re working for EQUITY. The two are nowhere close to the same thing. We can all agree that Equality (as in equal opportunity) is a good thing. Equity as it is being used means equal outcomes without equal effort or circumstances. That is NOT a good thing, it is foundational communism and a destroyer of all that drives a growing, thriving society and economy.

  • 2021-06-17 at 10:25 am
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    The argument I’m seeing from the religious fanatic right seems to be:
    ”we are a protected group under the law and we have the right under that protection to hate and hurt whoever we want.”

    The recent deliberate attacks on LGBT property in Lovettesville and protections for LGBT children in the LCPS demonstrate the darkness in the rights hearts. It’s no coincidence that the Alliance Defending Freedom ( described by the SPLC as an anti-LGBT hate group) was ready to step into the fray. Hate groups hate. They ( by SPLC definition) are willing to twist the truth and lie to achieve their aims.

    Loudoun’s LGBT community just wants to live their lives with being subjected to hatred and bullying. That’s it. That’s the big evil agenda. Leave us alone.

    • 2021-06-17 at 10:37 am
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      Corrected a typo : Loudoun’s LGBT community just wants to live their lives without being subjected to hatred and bullying. That’s it. That’s the big evil agenda. Leave us alone.

  • 2021-06-17 at 11:05 am
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    The author’s bias is raging here: “As Loudoun lands again in national headlines over a backlash to protections for transgender students in the schools,”

    That’s not why Loudoun is in the news. The county board is literally conspiring with the school board and Commonwealth Attorney to persecute citizens who disagree with them on a highly contentious issue.

    I know children who have been confused about their sexuality. I know people who transitioned and now wish to transition back but face enormous medical and emotional and other complications as they try to do so.

    We certainly can treat everyone with respect and afford dignity to troubled people. But that’s not what Ms. Barts and Mr. Ziegler have done. They have used the power of their offices to vindictively persecute people who disagree with them.

    It’s time to recall politicians and civil servants who abuse their offices and restore some sanity to Loudoun County.

  • 2021-06-17 at 12:57 pm
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    Today, the Supreme Court delivered a unanimous defeat to LGBT couples in a high-profile case over whether Philadelphia could refuse to contract with a Roman Catholic adoption agency that says its religious beliefs prevent it from working with same-sex foster parents. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in an opinion for a majority of the court that Philadelphia violated the First Amendment by refusing to contract with Catholic Social Services once it learned that the organization would not certify same-sex couples for adoption.

    The key problem with the LGBT community is that it works through the Democrat Party to bully its beliefs on others. Time and again, we have seen individuals and organization punished because they hold legitimate objections and opposition to the LGBT lifestyle. Today, the Supreme Court made the UNANIMOUS statement that this is still America and government cannot coerce organizations to support ideas that are against their beliefs.

  • 2021-06-17 at 5:15 pm
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    I agreed that I should be allowed to refuse to hire, promote or otherwise provides benefits to an employees simply because of their sexual preferences. I agree that if I’m selling my home to the public I shouldn’t be allowed to deny a person from buying my house simply because of their sexual preferences. However I don’t agree I should call a Male anything beyond he, him and his. I don’t believe a female should be permitted in a males bathroom. I don’t agree that the government should set aside funding for such groups unless equal funding is provided to other groups not related to Title VII classifications. Denying someone equal opportunities is different than giving unequal opportunities.

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