HASTINGS, Minn. (WCCO) – Hastings community members rallied on Saturday afternoon to show their support for a school board chair and her child, who was recently outed as transgender during a school board election.
Hastings School Board Chair Kelsey Waits did not win re-election in November, and told CNN that the result seemed like a relief. She recently opened up about her story, describing herself as a mother interested in local politics, who felt the tension in the community as COVID-19 pushed classes online and parents split on either side of the mask-wearing debate.READ MORE: Minnesota Weather: Sunday Snow To Create Monday Commute Headaches
But eventually the attacks became personal, and a social media account called “Concerned Parents of Hastings” revealed that Wait’s younger child is transgender. Waits was devastated when her “most precious secret” was revealed, mostly out of concern over the safety of her child.
“You out a kid before they’re ready, you’re subjecting them to that sort of behavior that’s going to increase their risk of suicide,” Waits told CNN in late November. “This is not about my parenting practices. This is about the lives of kids.”
The rally in support of Waits and her child, along with other transgender, non-binary, and LGBTQ+ kids was organized for Saturday afternoon.READ MORE: 'You Are Not Alone': Domestic Violence Interventionists Highlight Resources After Women Murdered In St. Paul
“We reject the bigotry hate, we reject the hate, we reject what we’re seeing in civil discourse; we want to meet this hate with love and we want to gather together in show of support,” said Valerie Stoehr, a rally organizer.
In response to the rally, Hastings School Board released a statement saying that their “hearts go out to Chairperson Waits and her family as they navigate these challenging circumstances.”
“Kelsey Wait’s story has brought to light opportunities for reflection and the necessity of having tough conversations to bridge the community divide we are experiencing. Even before her story made national news, reports of unacceptable behavior targeting an already marginalized group were being received. Kelsey’s experience is not an isolated incident but rather a glimpse into bigger issues of discrimination and ‘other’ of various groups,” the statement continues.MORE NEWS: Humanitarian Group Creating Homes, 'Sense Of Relief' For Afghan Refugees Heading To Minnesota