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Community response to Conway School District’s anti-trans policies

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Conway, Arkansas – Based on a student’s designated sex at birth, the Conway School Board decided to enact new rules on toilet usage and overnight hotel stays on Tuesday.

The board had just over 30 days to read the guidance and consider feedback from the public before voting on Tuesday. The guidance was initially provided last month.

Prior to the voting, hundreds of people voiced their opinions, which caused a varied but resounding response from the populace.

“It makes me feel sad because I personally know many transgender young women and young men, and I know the difficulty of their journey,” said Conway resident and mom Linda Tyler.

Tyler added that she’s hoping the policy can change back, and added, “I think that implementing policies like this puts barriers and boundaries around inclusivity and diversity.”

Following the decision, a few LGBTQ+ community members in the audience spoke out against the new policy and demonstrated in the auditorium.

After this vote, one father of a transgender child said that they intend to leave the state.

However, many of the attendees and virtually the whole school board expressed pride in the choice.

One Conway parent shared, “A “boy” coming into the restroom with my daughter doesn’t sit well with me as a dad.” Much of the audience applauded in response.
State Senator Jason Rapert also came to support the new gender restrictions Tuesday night.

“For the first time in my entire representation in the Arkansas Senate have I ever felt led to come and speak at a school board meeting. I am proud of the school board members,” Rapert said.

The board also decided on the same-gender recommendation for overnight hotel room assignments in addition to the restroom limitations.

Additionally, after finding a few books that discuss LGBTQ+ romances to be “inappropriate,” the board decided to ban them.

But for many people, the discussion continues long after tonight’s election.

“I’m signed up to speak next month. And I intend to continue to be a part of this community and to speak out when I feel like I am led to do so,” Tyler said.

After the vote, there are still some unresolved issues, such as the question of whether transgender kids who need to use the restroom will receive any accommodations.

Additionally, there were still uncertainties on how Title IX’s prohibitions on sex-based discrimination may apply.

The board refuses to comment on how long these measures were debated.

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