Home Staunton’s LGBTQ community apprehensive about City Council, School Board candidates
Local

Staunton’s LGBTQ community apprehensive about City Council, School Board candidates

Rebecca Barnabi
your vote matters
(© 1STunningART – stock.adobe.com)

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8, and topics affecting Staunton’s queer community have been on the table for discussion.

Erika and Jordan Zipser of Staunton have three children in Staunton Schools.

They are also part of the Queen City’s queer community. Both are queer, and Jordan identifies as transgender nonbinary.

“Local elections are more important than people realize,” Erika Zipser said. “This one will affect the representation of the queer community in Staunton.”

According to Zipser, only three candidates running for Staunton School Board are friendly toward the local queer community and not supportive of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposed new policy, including Kristin Siegel.

In a video posted on his Facebook campaign page Wednesday, Staunton School Board candidate John Wilson referred to the current members of Staunton School Board as “limp-wristed screw-ups,” a slur which arose in the 1980s against gay men.

Erika Zipser said “that’s dehumanizing.”

Candidates for school board who support the governor’s modified policies for students are focused on parental rights, not on the well-being of students, according to Jordan Zipser.

“It’s unsafe for kids, and there are people who are running for school board who support these policies,” Jordan Zipser said.

The Zipsers are also concerned about Lisa Hatter running for school board.

“We would obviously prefer to see the candidates we support elected,” Erika Zipser said.

While the current members of Staunton School Board appear not inclined to change policies, the Zipsers are more concerned about when others up for election in 2024 are replaced.

“That’s when things could dramatically shift,” she said.

Jordan Zipser said the couple “really want to see people who support queer and transgender get elected” in 2022 or a seismic shift will be felt in 2024.

As for Staunton City Council, Erika said they are “a lot less scary.” They are “very business focused,” and not concerned about making symbolic gestures for marginalized members of the community.

This election year is not as important as the next will be for Staunton’s queer community.

Jordan said that any adult who thinks the governor’s policies will not affect them is wrong. They said it’s easy to target children with policies because they are underage and have no authority to govern themselves.

“The problem is that policies like this are the first step in a slippery slope of taking away the rights of adults,” Jordan said.

The governor extended the comment period on the policies to the end of November.

Eventually, policies could impact adults, particularly women and other marginalized groups.

“It really does impact everyone,” Jordan said.

At Staunton PRIDE on October 23, the Zipsers had a booth where they collected cards containing comments for the governor. Erika said she spoke to several children, and the cards were an opportunity for them to provide their feedback about the policies.

“They don’t feel that they have any power in the situation,” she said.

Erika said she encourages everyone to get out and vote.

“It does affect someone you care about, whether you realize it or not,” she said of the governor’s proposed policies.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.

Latest News

baseball
Baseball, Sports

Baseball: Virginia completes 3-0 weekend in Florida with 6-4 win over Auburn

vcu
Basketball, Sports

VCU overcomes sluggish first half, rallies past Saint Joseph’s, 73-69

VCU shot 72 percent in the second half to rally from a 27-21 halftime deficit on its way to a 73-69 win over Saint Joseph’s on Sunday at the Siegel Center.

preparing to bake a pie
Basketball, Sports

Scott German: How about that piece of Tony Bennett humble pie now?

After a dismal 76-60 loss at NC State in early January that saw Virginia fall to 2-2 in ACC play, I did the unthinkable, writing about the possibility of UVA coach Tony Bennett being near the finish line at his tenure in Charlottesville. 

coach mox
Basketball, Sports

Women’s Basketball: Virginia stuns #20 Louisville, 73-68, for third Top 25 win

uva bennett staff
Basketball, Sports

Bennett has the blueprint for how to fix his offense: He just doesn’t want to use it

ncaa tournament
Basketball, Sports

Metrics: Virginia continues to fall in computer rankings with another L

Cops & Courts, Virginia

Update: Virginia Tech student talks with authorities in Missouri, case considered closed