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Private schools with anti-LGBTQ+ policies in North Carolina get millions

State funding in excess of $2.6 million had been directed at 20 private schools, five that had LGBTQ+ discriminatory policies

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Matthew Blong (Screenshot via Charlotte Observer)

CHARLOTTE – An investigative reporter for the Charlotte Observer newspaper in North Carolina found that state funding in excess of $2.6 million had been directed at 20 private schools, five that had LGBTQ+ discriminatory policies.

Devna Bose, who reports for The Charlotte Observer where she focuses on underserved, underreported communities including the poor, minorities, immigrants and those who identify as LGBTQ, earlier this month chronicled the monies spent for the state’s ‘Opportunity Scholarships’ school voucher program.

In Mecklenburg County, where Charlotte is situated, The Observer found that five private religious schools received a total of $749,822 in Opportunity Scholarships during the 2020-2021 school year, while having stated policies that discriminate against LGBTQ+ students and employees. Administrators at the five schools did not respond to Observer requests for comment.

Turning the spotlight on one school in particular, Covenant Day School, The Observer reported that Covenant Day “received $116,882 in taxpayer dollars through the scholarship program during the 2020-2021 school year.”

According to the paper the school’s handbook states; “God opposes the confusion of man as woman and woman as man.” The handbook also says “that individuals should live in accordance with their biological sex.”

The Observer notes that North Carolina’s ‘Opportunity Scholarships’ school voucher program allows middle- and low-income families to apply for school vouchers to offset private school tuition costs.

Alumni of Covenant Day School are speaking out. Observer multimedia journalist Robert Willett interviewed Matthew Blong, a former Covenant Day School student, and a member of the Charlotte/ Mecklenburg LGBTQ+ community:

Students, alumni and former faculty opposed to Covenant Day’s policies are documenting their experiences with homophobia at the school through a newly created Instagram account run by a school alumnus the Observer reported.

Public schools, which must comply with Title IX within federal civil rights law, aare not allowed to maintain discriminatory practices. The exception for private schools which may receive federal funds passed through the state falls under religion. Those school are exempt “to the extent that application of Title IX would be inconsistent with the religious tenets of the organization.”

During the last school year, nearly 70% of private school students in North Carolina were enrolled in religious schools, according to North Carolina Department of Administration data. A 2017 Huffington Post analysis found that about 75% of voucher schools across the country are religious, usually Christian.

The Observer documented numerus cases of discriminatory practices statewide. Being an openly Out LGBTQ student in Jacksonville, North Carolina, it’s grounds for “immediate removal” if Jacksonville Christian Academy students identify as LGBTQ+ or “otherwise immoral.”

“Homosexual or transgender conduct … is not compatible with employment or enrollment,” its 2019 handbook reads. The school received $459,009 in state dollars during the following school year, the Observer reported.

The Observer reported that some parents, with support from the North Carolina Association of Educators and the National Education Association, “filed a lawsuit in Wake County last year seeking to stop the use of state funds on vouchers. The lawsuit claims the program is unconstitutional, partially because it provides funds to schools that discriminate based on religious grounds.”

Currently in North Carolina, private religious based schools are legally allowed to maintain discriminatory practices and standards regarding sexual orientation and gender identity even if they receive state educational funding.

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North Carolina

North Carolina county orders museum to yank photo of gay men kissing

Baldwin’s photograph shows Justin Colasacco & his husband Bren Hipp kissing after Colasacco proposed at the 2019 Charlotte Pride

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Charlotte Pride 2019 (Screenshot of photo by Grant Baldwin/WCNC)

GASTONIA, Nc. – Gaston County, North Carolina’s County Manager Kim Eagle ordered the staff at the county operated and funded Gaston County Museum in Dallas, to remove a photograph showing two men kissing taken by Charlotte-based photographer Grant Baldwin at the 2019 Charlotte Pride removed.

The Charlotte Observer reported that museum staff ask Baldwin for a replacement “that would be more considerate of differing viewpoints in the community.”

The Observer noted that Baldwin’s photograph shows Justin Colasacco and his husband Bren Hipp kissing after Colasacco dropped to one knee and proposed in front of the crowd at the 2019 Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade. They married Oct. 4, 2020.

NC museum removes historic LGBTQ photo without photographer’s approval:

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North Carolina

North Carolina Republican lawmakers introduce ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

The bill would endanger transgender and gender-nonconforming youth by requiring schools to forcibly out transgender youth to their parents

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State Capitol Building in Raleigh (Photo Credit: State of North Carolina)

RALEIGH – The chair of the North Carolina State Senate Education Committee introduced legislation Tuesday that prohibits teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity in the state’s public schools grades kindergarten through third, and would additionally require parental notice when students in any grade question their sexual identity in school.

The legislation, House Bill 755, introduced by State Sen. Deanna Ballard (R-Watauga), chair of the Education Committee along with Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Eden) and Sen. Michael Lee (R-New Hanover) is expected to begin its path through legislative committees in the Republican-controlled General Assembly starting Wednesday.

According to NBC News affiliate WRAL, the requirements are part of a broader bill, are similar to legislation on the move in other states and the law that recently took effect in Florida. Republican lawmakers are labeling the measure as a Parents’ Bill of Rights. Under the proposal, North Carolina schools would have to notify parents if students seek to use a different pronoun to describe themselves, and parents would have to sign off before students could get counseling or other non-emergency health care, WRAL reported.

The new bill’s parental notice section generated concerns among opponents Tuesday that LGBTQ students, afraid of how their parents would react if they find out about their sexual identity, could no longer turn to trusted teachers for guidance.

What if a parent is abusive, state Rep. Allison Dahle, one of the legislature’s few openly LGBTQ members, said after the bill was announced.

“Is the teacher going to be responsible for the child’s beating,” said Dahle, D-Wake. “North Carolina needs to be a safe place for everybody, and this is going to remove that safety net for children.”

Charlotte Pride Board of Directors President Clark Simon said in a statement that the bill would “endanger transgender and gender-nonconforming youth by requiring schools to forcibly out transgender youth to their parents,” and he noted the higher suicide rate for LGTBQ young people.

“This legislation will make this reality worse, not better,” Simon said.

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Right-wing Rep. Madison Cawthorn caught nude in leaked ‘sexual’ video

The roughly 30-second clip shows what appears to be a nude Cawthorn in a bed thrusting with his groin near the head of an unidentified male

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Madison Cawthorn (Screenshot/Queen City News NC YouTube)

WASHINGTON – Republican U.S. Representative Madison Cawthorn, the 26-year-old freshman from North Carolina, has experienced yet another provocative social media leak. The latest, a video, shows a nude young man strongly resembling Cawthorn on a sofa ‘dry humping’ in a contextually simulated sexual manner another young male. A wheelchair similar to the type used by the congressman is in the foreground.

The roughly 30-second clip shows what appears to be a nude Cawthorn in a bed thrusting with his groin near the head of an unidentified male person. A male voice can be heard saying, “Oh ma yah yah oh” repeatedly. A male voice can also be heard laughing and saying, “stick it in his face.”

The Congressman, who is up for reelection later this month, has drawn scrutiny recently for driving with a revoked license; two attempts to bring a loaded gun through airport security; allegations of sexual harassment; calling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug;” reportedly denying a staffer leave when two family members passed away within the same week, and another video that leaked with a male friend placing his hand on Cawthorn’s genitals.

The Congressman, who has been confined to a wheelchair since an accident in 2014, has been one of the most vocal proponents to anything resembling equality. He’s posed for photos with other politicians who wants to revoke LGBTQ+ rights, such as Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Green, and Lauren Boebert. All have drawn scorn for their backwards-leaning agendas.

There’s an obvious parallel between Cawthorn and former conservative politician Aaron Schock, who was Republican U.S. Representative for Illinois’s 18th congressional district from 2009 until 2015. Schock was under investigation for extravagant spending and eventually came out as a gay man following the release of very explicit photos. 

Cawthorn is facing a slew of controversies and questions about misconduct. His recent troubles include allegations of an improper relationship with a staffer and after photos surfaced showing Cawthorn wearing women’s lingerie ― images he said were from a “goofy” game on a cruise ― and a video that showed one of his male staff members grabbing his crotch. The latter video has sparked an ethics complaint.

Congressman Cawthorn’s biggest scandals is now in federal court in a suit over his eligibility to run again for reelection.

Cawthorn has seemingly verified the authenticity of the video. In a tweet on Wednesday, he said: A new hit against me just dropped. Years ago, in this video, I was being crass with a friend, trying to be funny. We were acting foolish and joking. That’s it. I’m NOT backing down. I told you there would be a drip drip campaign. Blackmail won’t win. We will.

The Huffington Post reported that he has also made headlines over allegations of insider trading, trying to bring a loaded handgun onto a plane for the second time and having to surrender his driver’s license after driving with a suspended license.

In late March, he also raised some eyebrows when he claimed that the D.C. elite had previously invited him to orgies and done cocaine in front of him.

Editor’s note: These are links to the video. It is graphic and depicts simulated sexual acts. Viewer discretion is advised: YouTube Link: Here Twitter Link: Here

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