Alarming Comments on LGBTQ Youth from the Woman Who Wants to Be Washington State’s Top Education Official

Comments

2
I appreciate the updated information on these candidates. The Stranger is one of many resources I look to for candidate information and I voted for Jones in the primary. I will be voting for Reykdahl n November.
3
It is clear that Ms. Jones is an up and coming feminist woman who I am sure is fighting for the equality of all women, children, families and people of color. Im sure like all women running for politics she will bring civility and sanity back to our political system in a fair and even-handed way and now thanks to The Stranger, I now know who she is and she has my vote!
4
Where are the two candidates on in areas of educating the kids who are in public schools? Seriously, that's what I'm worried about. And how each candidate is going to get the legislature to fund public education.
5
@4, if you go to the candidates' websites you can see where they are with that. Reykdal has a very clear plan about how to address fully funding education and working with the Legislature (it will be easier for him since he has been a state rep for the last 5 years). Jones does not have a clear plan for anything.
6
Mercy.
Candidates for public office simply must learn all the Politically Correct terms and pat phrases and answers before venturing into the public arena.
We shouldn't even be having to discuss this in 2016….
7
You guys would have an effigy of Reykdahl burning outside your office he made those comments.
8
Hmm. Really troubled by that part at the end. It's a really simple question: "is being gay a sin?" There's only one answer: "no, of course not." Erin Jones can't bring herself to say that. And that's a big problem.
9
Erin Jones, said: ““teaching transgenderism” in elementary schools by saying “I do not think it is appropriate” and that such instruction could cause students to “feel additional pressure to ‘choose an orientation." Note the part. [to Choose] This woman wants to be: superintendent of public instruction, when she is ignorant of anything Transgender. An example of this is: At the same time, Jones told The Stranger that she didn’t “know exactly” whether kids “choose an orientation.”

“I think they’re born that way,” Jones said. “I’m not a scientist. [and she see's fit not to educate herself on this] I don’t know exactly. I think for most children it’s not a choice.” Maybe, but for some it is???? The woman is out in space and needs an education on Transgender for herself. Ms. Jones I knew when I was Two that I was different, so when did you choose to be a female, remember you said it can be a choice.
ChloeAlexa.
10
Welp, she just lost votes, but in reality probably gained more. All my Republican friends and their circles are all voting for Jones. I will too.
11
i also think teaching transgenderism is not appropriate in kindergarten. We don't teach sex education til 5th grade right now and I'm sure there are reasons for that. Why would we choose then to teach transgenderism to kindergartners? Is the idea that sex education will be taught every year starting in kindergarten and include a unit on transgenderism? Ridiculous. In Kindergarten kids are still learning how to act and be in a group of kids and learning about themselves. It's way too early to be teaching sex ed.
12
So, "if you're not with us, you're against us"?
13
"Transgenderism" is a dogwhistle, not a word.
14
You can teach kids that gay and transgender people exist without talking about buttsex or vaginoplasties. They make it very clear that the discussions will be age appropriate.

The people who are freaked out by this are projecting their own personal beliefs and misunderstandings about queer people onto the kids. This just underscores how important it is to start these discussions at a young age, so these kids don't carry the same baggage into adulthood that so very many people clearly do.
15
@11
Sex and gender are not the same thing. Sex education is primarily the science behind sex and procreation. Gender identity and how to navigate that socially should start at a younger age, ie. when you are learning gender pronouns. You only need to tell them there are different people that identify differently at a young age, not how to have sex with them.
16
They are not going to teach transgenderism to kindergarteners. What they will be doing is laying the groundwork by pointing out to kids that some boys like pink and some girls like football and playing with dolls is for everybody. It's social understanding - across the spectrum of behavior and appearance - that everyone is not the same.
17
Even if she made a totally forgivable mistake and there are no lingering questions about Jones' views on LGBTQ issues; is there anything to recommend her for office other than her status as a non-white male?
18
An open letter:
Today I have been left saddened and in disbelief after reading the Stranger earlier this morning. I am saddened because I have a longstanding, strong support for LGBTQ rights. I recognize and regret using overly equivocal wording on issues related to the LGBTQ community that has let friends and supporters down. I am apologetic that I used language that could be too easily interpreted as equivocal.
I have been asked over the course of this campaign if I think being LGBTQ is a choice and if I think it is a sin. Let me be crystal clear on this issue: NO. I do not believe sexual orientation is a choice. I do not believe you have a choice in the matter, just as one has no choice as to what color they will be or what blood type they will have. I also do not believe we should refrain from teaching the most accurate, compassionate and open-hearted curriculum in our schools to help support every child. It is true that my perspectives and language on LGBTQ issues have changed, as I have intentionally sat in spaces to learn and gain better understandings that will help me best serve our students, and our communities. In my answers to the SW Washington Blog, and some of my responses to the Stranger I made mistakes, however, I have shown true commitment to grow in my understandings of these issues.
My personal and professional life experiences and actions with the LGBTQ community are a mirror into who I am and have always been as a person. As a teacher, I worked to ensure that all my students felt safe and knew they were accepted and loved for who they were regardless of their sexual orientation. As a mother, I have two biological children, an adopted daughter who is biologically my niece, and two adopted sons who were disowned by their families after “coming out”. These young men are not biologically mine, yet have adopted me as their surrogate mother who accepts and loves them for who they are. The thought of rejecting a child for being their authentic self makes my heart sick.
I am running for OSPI precisely because of my combined personal and professional experiences. These experiences have led me to serve for over 20 in classrooms and schools with some of the highest need, highest poverty, and most ethnically, culturally, and sexually diverse communities in our state. I am proud of my work and support for the rights of all people—and all children—regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity or economic status. I too recognize that I have work to do as a person and professional to align my language with my values. But I know my values, and they are strong, and fully manifest in my work, life, and commitment to the kids of our state.
~Erin
19
My Leader, Erin Jones
8-30-16
To Whom it May Concern:
I am voting for Erin Jones for Superintendent of Public Instruction. My wife is voting for Erin Jones for Superintendent of Public Instruction. I am an obnoxiously opinionated, blatantly gay, radical feminist educator entering my 18th year in the profession, and I couldn’t be any more certain of my choice for superintendent.
When I was in grad school some 20 years ago, I was told in no uncertain terms by my professor that I would not be hired by Tacoma Public Schools if I continued to be openly gay. I went in to the closet, got hired, and served in silence for several years. A lot has changed since then, both in my country and in my district, but questions about sexuality continue to make many Americans squirm, and uncertainty about the best approach to take with children abounds.
Erin Jones is a thinker and a reflector and an EDUCATOR. Hearing her wrestle with some of the biggest issues in education today is REASSURING to me, not off-setting. I am an adamant supporter of civil rights for families like mine, I know that sexuality is not a choice, and I have had conversations with my own son about gender identification and sexual orientation and basic biology since he was old enough to ask (it starts early, folks!).
Erin and I have had probing conversations about these issues, and listening to her really think and ponder what is best for kids only serves to reinforce my belief that she is far and away the better choice for state superintendent. Perhaps first and foremost because no one can help LGBTQ kids who is not around LGBTQ kids. Erin Jones is in the schools, learning with children, every single week. Her unconditional love and affirmation has been field tested, again and again, and many times with my very own students in my very own school. I don’t need any more proof than that that she is an advocate for LGBTQ kids. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words, and Erin’s actions have told me all I need to know to earn my vote.
My apologies to Chris, whom I’ve never met, but I don’t need a slick politician with all the right answers and none of the right hours logged in classrooms and school buildings. I need ERIN JONES with her commitment to STUDENTS, regardless of any defining demographic. THIS GAY TEACHER/MOTHER/WIFE IS VOTING ERIN JONES for Superintendent of Public Instruction, and I hope you do, too.
Determinedly,
Anne Hawkins
National Board Certified Teacher
Jason Lee Middle School
20
Erin Jones says, in the open letter posted here, "I have been asked over the course of this campaign if I think being LGBTQ is a choice and if I think it is a sin. Let me be crystal clear on this issue: NO. I do not believe sexual orientation is a choice." But she doesn't actually or directly answer the question about whether she believes it is a sin. Her answer is all about choice. Just as in the Stranger article, she won't directly or clearly answer that question.
21
Good to know. Thank you. I was already planning to vote for Reykdahl due to Jones's obvious willingness to kowtow to the charter schools industry. Now I have another reason.
22
@18

Tough break.

But this is Seattle
and you just lost the
"Who Can Stick Their Nose Faster Farther Up The Ass Of Queer Victim Nation" Derby….

next time you'll know….
23
Way to frame these opinions expressed months before the primary as breaking news. how did you knuckleheads miss this in the first place when endorsing her? does SECB do research, or just vote based on identity, as when endorsing mr "oops i somehow made payday loans worse than they already were" for treasurer, a position that miiiight require some financial awareness - but he's youngish and gay, so, hooray! progress!
24
The thing about Erin is that I think she's absolutely sincere, she's absolutely a great candidate for the job, and she's absolutely afraid of offending anyone. It's nice to say that you're running to represent everyone and want to give every viewpoint its due respect, but some folks really do deserve only to be told to fuck off.

One way to judge a politician is by their enemies, and I don't know who Erin's enemies are. That bothers me.
25
So "transgenderism" is a slur?? seriously, so was there a memo with all the acceptable code words that i missed??

Also, it is highly ironic that a trendy "leftist" paper in a moment of trendy atheist inspiration asked a trailblazing Black political candidate about her belief in sin...it was a sadly transparent test of her religious beliefs in order to judge Ms. Jones based on her religious beliefs (or lack thereof).

If Ms. Jones had answered with "I'm an atheist" then you trendy hypocrites would be doing Simone Biles impersonations while doubling down on your Jones endorsement..so it was a crass litmus test pure & simple.

Frankly, the Stranger's gotcha tactic is every bit as offensive as the word "transgenderism" (apparently) except you get to play the "typical latte leftists with an (undeserved) superiority complex" card. Meanwhile, your wholesale acceptance that there is no acceptable scientific disagreement regarding childhood development and sexual orientation is every bit as dogmatic as someone who believes in "sin" (of any type). What a bunch of clowns! lol

The problem remains that you haven't addressed whether Ms. Jones is the better candidate for the Superintendent position. But vote for the white person is always a safe default for your type...so there's that.

I have an idea, why don't go **** yourselves (i'm sure you already are) until you can write an actual political endorsement with some substance?
26
She has my vote.
27
She had my (queer, trans, educator) vote, and she still has it. She is a lifelong educator with experience at OSPI, not a career politician with limited educator experience...

Has anyone read her updated open letter? Note the part where she says "NO, I do NOT believe it is a CHOICE or a SIN." Note the part where she describes opening her home to two young queer/trans people.

Why on earth hasn't the Stranger reached out to Erin Jones for comment?? Responding less-than-perfectly to a badly worded, loaded question isn't cause to get out the pitchforks. Erin Jones has posted an open letter in response:

"Today I have been left saddened and in disbelief after reading the Stranger article earlier this morning. I am saddened because I am a longstanding, strong supporter of LGBTQ children and adults and their rights to be treated equally, respectfully and lovingly in their schools and communities. My lesson learned today is that I have work to do as a person and professional to align my language with my lived values. I recognize and regret using overly equivocal wording on issues related to the LGBTQ community that has let friends and supporters down. I am sorry that I used language that could be too easily interpreted as murky.
I have been asked over the course of this campaign if I think being LGBTQ is a choice or a sin. My answer to both is NO. I do not believe one has a choice in the matter of sexual orientation or gender identity, just as a person has no choice as to what color they will be or what blood type they will have. I also believe we should teach the most accurate, compassionate and open-hearted curriculum in our schools to help support every child, including age-appropriate instruction about sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
In my answers to the SW Washington Blog and some of my responses to the Stranger, I made mistakes. As a leader, I have shown true commitment to grow in my understandings of these issues. I have spent hours on the phone talking with friends who are members of the LGBTQ community, allies, experts on sexual health, parents of LGBTQ youth and LGBTQ youth themselves. I plan to continue these conversations long after the campaign has run its course.
I have intentionally sat in spaces to learn and gain better understandings that will help me best serve our students and our communities, because, for me, this conversation is not just about a campaign. It is about growing as a person. As a teacher of teachers on issues of culture, I am always very open that we all have blindspots. Not one of us (including me) is free of bias and prejudice, because we are human. We have all been socialized to believe certain things. The worst thing I or anyone else can do is not acknowledge and address blond spots when they are made evident.
My personal and professional life experiences and actions with the LGBTQ community are a mirror into who I am, and have always been. As a teacher, I worked to ensure that all my students felt safe and knew they were accepted and loved for who they were, regardless of their socioeconomic status, religious beliefs, gender identity, expression or sexual orientation. As a mother, I have two biological children, an adopted daughter who is biologically my niece, and two surrogate children who were ostracized by their families after “coming out.” These young people are not biologically mine, yet I have embraced them and they adopted me as their surrogate mother, because I accept and love them for who they are. The thought of rejecting a child for being his/her/their authentic self makes my heart sick.
I am running for OSPI precisely because of my combined personal and professional experiences. These experiences have led me to serve for over 20 years in classrooms and schools with some of the highest need, highest poverty, and most ethnically, culturally, and sexually diverse communities in our state. I am proud of my work and support for the rights of all people—and all children—regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity or economic status. Again, I have work to do as a person and professional to align my language with my values. But I know my values, and they are strong - to make sure every child is valued, that every school environment is inclusive, that every student is supported to be able to become his/her/their best selves. I believe these values fully manifest in my work, life, and commitment to the students of our state.
My sadness today is not about an election, but about the attack on my character. I am sad because I want to be the best human I can be and I want to make sure I engage with all children...all people in a way that shows value, not merely tolerance.
~Erin Jones"
28
@20 - I don't get what you're missing. "The answer to both is NO." Why are you struggling with this??

@24- I think we just became best friends.
29
To consider:
1) Jones said some ill-advised, unclear things to a conservative education blog and ERW and yet it wasn't until The Stranger asked questions that she walked them back.

2) She also lead a chapter of Young Life, a high school Christian group. That's fine but some chapters are homophobic and she says hers wasn't. I did check with the regional YL and their leaders all have to sign a "faith and conduct" contract for their own lives which is to embracing their teachings and reject "the gay lifestyle." They also said all kids are welcome and not questioned about their views and the leaders are not there to try to change anyone.

She also said - at her campaign Facebook page - "When I answered "NO" I was referring to both the sexual orientation being a choice question as well as if it (sexual orientation) was a sin question. The answer is NO to both. I do not believe people make a choice in regards to their sexual orientation or it is a sin for those that are apart of the LGBTQ community."

You'll note she does not directly say "being gay is not a sin"; what she said was that it is not a sin to be a part of the LBGTQ community. That's something akin to what the Catholic Church says - you can be gay but you can't act on it. You can be a part of that community but don't act on your feelings.

She also has not answered any questions about her role as state superintendent and guidance to schools on supporting transgendered students.

It's all a little confusing about what Jones does or does not believe.

Does The Stranger have some egg on their faces? Sure but they at least are willing to admit their mistake. They have rescinded endorsements before and it's not like it's the week before the election.

I have a hard time believing in someone like Jones who does not speak with clarity on her positions or shape-shifts as she gives them. She's a smart, decent person but I don't think she's ready for this job.
30
I've been an out white lesbian for 30 years, and I get how ignorant and potentially dangerous E.A.'s comments are, and what they probably reveal about where she's at with our issues. But I have a black daughter, and I strongly suspect that when she's old enough to enroll in SPS, she'll be treated better if she turns out queer.

Racism is a festering wound afflicting more than half our kids. This is what we need transformative leadership on, right now. Being gay, frankly, is a well-supported if not easy road these days in Seattle. Undoing racism is not going to be as quickly achieved, for many reasons, including that it doesn't affect wealthy white men. It's time for our community to acknowledge its relative priviledge in this case and triage the crises of our school system like adults.

The Stranger should be ashamed for yanking it's endorsement of this well-qualified candidate.
31
Watching the left eat their own makes me wonder where to go? I can't go right. Perhaps . . . just to sea.
32
Jones has equivocated too much, trying to soften what I suspect is a Christian objection to gay people actually behaving gay. But the bottom line for me is that in reviewing her responses to questions and then her letter of dismay, I'm left with wondering just whether she's bright and coherent enough to be SPI.
33
If Sydney had written this post as clearly as she laid it out for Eli in this week's Blabbermouth Podcast, a lot of us wouldn't be scratching our heads so much as, indeed, Ms. Jones's comments are troubling.
34
For those who really KNOW Erin Jones, then you know that her record has been STELLAR, consistent and integrous - as an award-winning educator - selected as THE BEST in the State (Milken Educator Award) in 2007. She has proven, time and time again, in her 24 years in education, that she is able to REACH ALL kids, across ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. She has modeled and demonstrated inclusiveness unwaveringly - one fo the reasons that she been so EFFECTIVE AT REACHING AND TEACHING students. She offers a unique convergence of strong in-classroom teaching experience; educational admin experience; educational leadership (served as Asst. Superintendent of OSPI); savvy politically and in her understanding of legislative issues and educational advocacy; educational leadership; and also community engagement and advocacy. When it comes to her qualifications for this position, she is in a class by herself. Check her record - it speaks for itself.
35
One bad call by SECB down and one to go. I'm referring of course to their reflexive endorsement of Pramila Jayapal over the much better Brady Walkinshaw.