Asheville trans board member resigns after anti-LGBTQ attacks

ASHEVILLE – Peyton O’Conner, a member of the Asheville City Board of Education, announced her resignation from the board Dec. 5 after an anti-LGBTQ group made multiple appearances during public comment periods, repeatedly misrepresenting O’Conner, who is a transgender woman, and spreading homophobia. and transphobic rhetoric.

O’Conner is the first trans board member, and likely one of the only trans people to serve on a North Carolina school board, Western Carolina University political science professor Chris Cooper said, according to his report. fair to know and understand.

The Arizona-based group Alliance Defending Freedom, which was identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2016, was represented by local pastor Ronald Gates, who identified himself as an “ambassador” for the organization. Gates began speaking at ACS board meetings in October.

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On its website, the Alliance identifies itself as a “legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, freedom of expression, the sanctity of life, parental rights, and God’s design for marriage and family.” .

O’Conner said on December 5 that he made the decision to resign after a “controversy” at the November 16 board meeting.