About Victoria Martin

Victoria Martin is a senior Public Health major at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She is originally from Shippensburg, PA in Cumberland County. Victoria aspires to work in LGBT health upon graduation. She can be reached at vmartin@pennsec.org.

Central Bucks School District Denies Spousal Benefits to Same-Sex Couple

Residents of the Central Bucks School District rallied in favor of same-sex spousal benefits for staff at a school board meeting on Tuesday evening. All 13 speakers who signed up to speak during the public comment period did so in favor of extending the benefits, and almost every seat in the room was filled with supporters.

At the October 22nd board meeting, a school district employee discussed the denied request for her spouse, whom she legally married in Delaware, to be covered by the district’s health insurance plan. She was told that the wording of the district’s insurance policy prevented them from offering her spouse benefits. However, draft minutes from a Human Resources Committee meeting on October 9th showed that the committee recommended not allowing same-sex spousal benefits until marriage equality is legalized in Pennsylvania.

The Board President, Stephen Corr, opened the meeting on Tuesday with a prepared statement on the situation. He said that the Board anticipated the employee would file a grievance, and has reportedly entered into arbitration with the staff member. The Human Resources Committee will meet tonight in Doylestown to discuss their position in the arbitration process. Corr emphasized that no decisions were formally before the board at this time, and said they would not be discussing the issue any further at the meeting.

The floor was then opened for public comments from the students, parents, and community members who signed up to speak. Doylestown resident and education law attorney, David Kahn stated, “When talking about civil rights, there is absolutely no room to be silent.” He cited two of the core values of the Pennsylvania School Board Association, integrity and respect, which require school boards to aspire to ethical treatment for all.

A high school senior in the district, Nicole, shared a story from the recently held Ally Week. “We wore badges that said ‘I believe all students should be able to learn in a safe space, including LGBT students who may face bullying and harassment.’ It’s a shame we didn’t include teachers and staff on them too.”

Kristen Henderson, a mother of two children in the district said that she was “pretty shocked” that such a meeting even needed to take place. “I thought I lived in a progressive community… the motto of our school district is ‘leading the way,’ but I see us lagging behind.”

All of the speakers shared disappointment in their decision as archaic. David Hall, a Doylestown resident, asserted that the “Central Bucks School District cannot be both innovative and a dinosaur at the same time.” Additionally, Doylestown Borough Councilmember Don Berk asked the board to “Do the right thing. Don’t be a dinosaur.”

Of the students that spoke, several expressed their desire to one day become teachers. Von Scully, President of the LGBT student group at Delaware Valley College, said he wants his students to “help build a community based on respect, but I can’t do that truthfully at all with these kinds of policies in place.”

The school district has two health insurance options, an HMO plan through Aetna, and a PPO plan through Amerihealth. The HMO plan provides coverage for “legal spouses,” while the Amerihealth plan specifies that it only covers spouses of the opposite sex. Many neighboring school districts including the New Hope-Solebury School District and the Centennial School District have health care policies which cover same-sex partners. The first known challenge to a Pennsylvania school district barring same-sex partner benefits began 17 years ago in the Lower Merion School District, where the arbitration extended full benefits to the teacher’s same-sex partner in late 1997.

Marlene Pray, a former Doylestown Borough Councilmember and current member of the Bucks County Human Relations Council, questioned the school board’s approach. “I know you need time to sort things through, but how much time? When can we expect a vote? How much taxpayer money will you spend on lawyers to fight this?…You keep saying this issue was not before the committee or board, but I hope you will consider it before you now.”

The final speaker was Matt Kelly, a senior at Central Bucks High School – East. He spoke to the inevitability of this policy inclusion and the recent passage of Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) in the US Senate. He told the board members that “You can live knowing full well that you will be overruled by superior powers in the years to come, or make the right decision, today.”

The KSV will continue to closely monitor this unfolding situation in Bucks County.

Richland High School Forms GSA Following Trans Student Discrimination

Last night, the Richland School Board unanimously approved the formation of a Gay Straight Alliance at their board meeting.

While he was denied the right to run for Homecoming King,  Kasey Caron, a transgender student at Richland Senior High School, is glad something positive has come out of his ordeal.  Kasey sparked an international discussion on the treatment of transgender students when he and his supporters petitioned for his right to be identified as male on the Homecoming Court. When speaking at a Richland School District Board meeting in September, Kasey additionally requested that the school board amend their nondiscrimination policy to protect gender identity, allow him to wear the male’s cap and gown during graduation, and approve the formation of a Gay Straight Alliance.

The main challenge in establishing a GSA, Kasey said, was finding a teacher willing to advise the club. After weeks of searching, business education teacher Sandy Myers volunteered. Myers previously taught Kasey’s eighth grade math class before moving into business education. Once a faculty member agreed to advise the GSA, the School Board prioritized voting on the club’s formation.

Kasey hopes to hold the first meeting next Friday. He is working with Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition Board Member Mike Campbell to prepare materials for advertising the club and to guide their meetings. Campbell was optimistic about the formation of the club, saying, “Hopefully this is just the start of the positive change happening in Johnstown.”

Richland is the first high school in the Johnstown region to have a GSA. Kasey said he hopes that surrounding high schools will follow suit, particularly neighboring Westmont Hilltop High School, where there is high student interest.

“Even after all of the negatives I went through, a positive came out of it,” said Kasey. “With the formation of a GSA, we will have students working together to prevent my situation from happening again.”

In addition to the approval of the GSA, Kasey told the Keystone Student Voice that he will be able to wear a blue cap and gown along with the other males at his graduation.

PSEC Announces New Leadership and 2014 State Conference


The Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition (PSEC) Coordinating Committee has elected new leadership, appointed four board members, and formally announces the 2014 Youth Action Conference: Igniting a Pennsylvania Youth Movement for Trans* Justice and Freedom.

At the PSEC Fall Convening held October 18-20, 2013 at Penn State – University Park, Jared Schaaf, Gannon University ‘15, of Erie, was elected Convener of the Coordinating Committee. Jared is the first leader of a statewide LGBT organization from the Northwestern Pennsylvania. Faith Elmes, Indiana University of Pennsylvania ’15, of Landisburg, was reelected as Assistant Convener.

Upon being elected Convener, Jared Schaaf said, “I am humbled by the responsibility entrusted to me by LGBT youth across the state to help lead them into our next chapter of PSEC. I could not be more excited for the task of Convener and for the new direction we as Pennsylvania youth are going to take.”

At the Summer Convening held at Penn State – Behrend (Erie), the Coordinating Committee redesigned the coalition’s leadership pipeline to be more accessible to the wide range of LGBT youth communities across Pennsylvania. The Coordinating Committee is now comprised of eighteen students, two representing each of the nine regions of Pennsylvania, as well as a Convener and an Assistant Convener. Member organizations from schools across the state will send a voting delegate to the annual meeting to elect their representation on the Coordinating Committee.

Assistant Convener, Faith Elmes, said of the new structure, “I am very excited about the optimization of our leadership pipeline, as it allows for multiple levels of involvement. This new model is more accessible and empowers all of us to share our voices as Pennsylvania students.”

Four new members were inducted into the PSEC Board of Directors: Mike Campbell of Johnstown, Chris Moran-Brock of Malvern, Lia Koziell of Erie, and Carolyn Pandolfo of Scranton. The board represents every region of Pennsylvania, and its members are invested in a number of statewide and local community organizations. Mike Campbell is the former President of Indiana University of Pennsylvania Pride Alliance, and the founder of Johnstown Umbrella. Chris Moran-Brock is a student at Drexel University and active in state politics. As a student at Gannon University, Lia Koziell was a founding member of the university’s LGBT student group, Love is For Everyone (LIFE). Carolyn Pandolfo served twice as the President of Scranton Inclusion, University of Scranton’s LGBT student group. She was a PSEC Coordinating Committee for two years, and was recently honored as an outstanding youth leader at the 2014 NEPA Rainbow Awards.

The 2014 Pennsylvania Youth Action Conference will be held February 14-16, 2014 at the University of Pennsylvania. The conference will focus on transgender youth issues in Pennsylvania and the empowerment of trans* youth leadership across the state. This is the third Youth Action Conference held by PSEC. The 2013 Conference at the University of Pittsburgh was the largest statewide gathering of LGBT youth in Pennsylvania history, and united young advocates from every region of the state. State and national LGBT community leaders will be in attendance at the 2014 conference, with the keynote speakers to be announced over the coming weeks.

More information can be found at the conference website: youthactionconference.com

Drexel University Opens LGBTQA Center

Drexel University, in Philadelphia, opened their new LGBTQA Student Center on Tuesday. The creation of the center is the result of months of petitioning and advocacy from a coalition of the university’s LGBTQ student groups. The student-run LGBTQ group FUSE (Foundation of Undergraduates for Sexual Equality) launched an online petition in February of 2012, asking the university to create a center for LGBTQ students. They drew attention to the fact that, at the time, Drexel had a student body of over over 12,000 undergraduates and close to 7,000 graduate students, but no centralized resource center or safe space for their queer student population. Although Drexel is home to several LGBTQ groups, including FUSE, OUTlaws, OUTgrads, and LGBTQ Health Alliance, these groups were scattered across campus.

The center is located within the Creese Student Center, and staffed by graduate students from the Couple and Family Therapy Department in the College of Nursing and Health Professions. It is supported by the Student Center for Inclusion & Culture, which facilitates multi-cultural and LGBTQ programming on campus.

Student leaders were directly involved in the planning of the LGBTQA center. When first proposing the center, FUSE members wrote a potential budget to present to Drexel administration. Members of the organization, including FUSE President Maureen Nolan, were on an advisory board along with administration and staff to plan the creation of the center. Maureen told Drexel NOW that, “[The center] is not only a symbol of respect and allegiance to the LGBT students, but a necessity.”

Pittsburgh Man and Boyfriend Attacked in Hate Crime

A Pittsburgh man and his boyfriend were assaulted early Sunday morning in Lawrenceville. Ben Stoviak was leaving Remedy bar with his partner when a group of men began yelling homophobic slurs at them. When Stoviak responded, the group ran across the street, and began attacking him. Stoviak was knocked to the ground, and repeatedly kicked in the face. A witness saw the group of men leave, and was able to write down their license plate number. Pittsburgh police believe that the men who attacked Stoviak were in Remedy prior to the assault.  Three of the participants in the attack have since been arrested.

Stoviak said he believes he and his boyfriend were targeted because they were openly affectionate with each other. He sought medical attention after the attack, and was released from the hospital Sunday morning without serious injuries.

The Allegheny County District Attorney is consulting with the FBI and US Attorney’s office as to whether the incident is a federal hate crime. The most recent hate crime statistics from the FBI in 2011 found that sexual orientation was the second most common motivation behind hate crimes. In Pennsylvania, there are no state laws regarding hate crimes which protect sexual orientation and gender identity.

Update (10/8 5:15 PM ): The Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh has reported that one arrest has been made by the Pittsburgh Police in connection with the assault.


From Ben Stoviak’s Facebook: Last night, a group of men attacked me and my boyfriend on Butler Street in Lawrenceville. After yelling, from across the street, “Faggot!” at us, I replied, “yes, we’re faggots!” Immediately after, the group of men ran across the street and began hitting, kicking, and stomping me. The mark on my right cheek is a bootprint. Aaron threw himself on top of me to discourage them from continuing the assault, but they began kicking him in the head, as well.

To the women who saw the ordeal, wrote down their license plate number, and stayed to talk with the police, thank you.

Three of these men have been arrested since the assault. Aaron and I were in the hospital until almost 10 am so that the doctors could take MRI, CT scans, and x-rays to make sure there was no internal bleeding.

I don’t ask you to cheer on my romantic and sexual lives. I do, however, expect people not to act violently against one another because they do not share tastes and preferences.

State Rep. Galloway Once Again Co-sponsor of LGBT Anti-Discrimination Bill

State Representative John Galloway (D-Bucks) has once again become a co-sponsor of HB 300, hours after news that he withdrew his name from the bill broke. HB 300 will amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to add protections for LGBT individuals in housing, employment, and public accommodations.

Galloway first co-sponsored the bill when it was initially introduced in August, and withdrew his co-sponsorship in September, possibly due to pressure from a Bucks County religious group, “Faithful Citizenship in Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District,” who criticized the bill, and encouraged readers to lobby their representatives to drop their support of the bill.

Galloway told PoliticsPa that he agreed with “90%” of the bill, but questioned measures to provide transgender individuals with equal access to restroom facilities, saying, “I’m not sure how it would affect people who aren’t transgender. I would like to do more research into how this would concern for example public restrooms. I want to protect not only transgender people but people who are not transgender.”

This morning, after pressure from political advocacy groups, Galloway rejoined the bill as a co-sponsor. His office was visited by the  Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition Executive Director, Jason Landau Goodman, who pressed the Representative’s staff to “strongly reconsider his position,” saying, “it is a moral imperative to fully protect transgender Pennsylvanians. The provision of nondiscrimination for transgender individuals in public accommodations is essential.”

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have laws which protect transgender citizens against discrimination. While some Pennsylvania municipalities have inclusive local nondiscrimination laws, more than two-thirds of the state’s population lives in an area with no protections for LGBT people.

Kasey Caron Not Allowed to Run for Homecoming King

During a school board meeting on Monday, September 23, the Richland School Board presented Kasey Caron with a printed notice that they had ended discussion of the Homecoming King issue, and would not pursue it further.

Kasey is a female to male transgender student who petitioned his school district to allow him to run for Homecoming King. Kasey had filed to run for Homecoming Court as a male, but was placed on the female ballot by administrators and subsequently elected. The school district claimed that they were legally unable to recognize him as male, because his driver’s license read female. Upon having his driver’s license amended to reflect his gender, the school board solicitor, Tim Leventry claimed that a male birth certificate was required for Kasey to be considered male by the district.

Kasey is now requesting that he be allowed to wear a blue cap and gown at graduation along with the other males, and sit on the males’ side of the stage. He also wishes to establish a Gay Straight Alliance at Richland High School, and is asking the district to include gender identity in their nondiscrimination policy.

Kasey’s mother, Kathy Caron was the first speaker at the school board meeting yesterday evening. She presented the board members with a three page statement citing laws which prevent gender stereotyping in public schools, and allows students to form a Gay Straight Alliance if the district has any other extra-curricular clubs.

The board claimed they needed more time to discuss the issues, but gave no timeframe for doing so. The next school board meeting is scheduled for October 7,  two days after the school’s Homecoming Game. After Kasey’s mother spoke, the School Board quickly moved on to other items on the agenda.

Mike Campbell, a board member of The Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition present at Monday’s school board meeting said that he was disappointed in the outcome. “The school board doesn’t want to discuss anything, they just want the situation to go away.”

While Kasey may not able to change the school district’s homecoming decision, he is looking to the future to bring equality to Richland.  Kasey told NBC 10, “Just because I can’t win this doesn’t mean that it’s over. We lost this battle, but there are plenty left for me to fight and I’m not backing down anytime soon.”

Court Rules Against Montgomery County Same Sex Marriage Licenses

Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pelligrini ruled today that Montgomery County Register of Wills, D. Bruce Hanes, does not have the authority to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. Hanes began issuing licenses to same sex couples in July, following the Supreme Court’s repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. He was then sued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, for acting in defiance of Pennsylvania state law, which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. Hanes had officiated 174 same sex marriages, including four on Wednesday.

Lawyers for Hanes argued in his defense that according to case law, the county clerk is a judge, and Hanes was therefore acting under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, which has ruled that marriage inequality is unconstitutional.  However, the final decision against Hanes stated that he does not have the authority to decide if state law is constitutional.  In his opinion, Judge Pelligrini wrote, “Even if Hanes is correct in his view that portions of the Marriage Law are unconstitutional… unless and until either the General Assembly repeals or suspends the Marriage Law provisions or a court of competent jurisdiction orders that the law is not to be obeyed or enforced, the Marriage Law in its entirety is to be obeyed and enforced by all Commonwealth public officials.”

The ruling did not directly address the legal status of the marriages which Hanes has already officiated, though it is likely that they are considered void in Pennsylvania.

The same sex marriage licenses issued by Hanes caused a division of opinion among state mayors. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and New Hope Mayor Larry Keller both declined to officiate weddings for same sex couples. Both mayors support marriage equality, but stated that they would not officiate a wedding in defiance of Pennsylvania marriage law. State College Mayor, Elizabeth Goreham, officiated one wedding between a same sex couple who obtained a marriage license in Montgomery County, against the advice of the borough. John Fetterman, the Mayor of Braddock in Western Pennsylvania, has officiated 11 same sex marriages. Fetterman said he was unbothered by potential legal problems, stating, “I’d rather be a principled civilian than a cowardly or homophobic mayor.”

While the case against Hanes has been decided, the lawsuit between the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the state of Pennsylvania is ongoing. The ACLU is suing Pennsylvania on behalf of a number of same-sex couples and their families for depriving them of rights afforded to heterosexual couples. State Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, has refused to defend the state, leaving the responsibility to the office of Governor Tom Corbett. A legal response to the suit must be filed by September 16.

Image from Philly.com by Tom Gralish

Remarks from Kasey Caron and John DeBartola at the Richland High School Board Meeting

September 9, 2013, Richland High School Board Meeting Complainant: Kasey Caron, Kathy Caron, Cindy Theys, Richard Caron, John DeBartola

 Remarks Provided by Keystone Alliance/GayLife Newsletter

Remarks from Kasey Caron

Good Evening,

As many of you already know, my name is Kasey Caron and I’m a senior here at Richland High School. I have attended Richland for the full extent of my school career, and all of my love, pride, and devotion goes into these very halls that have housed my body and mind for the last thirteen years.

I am an active participant in this school as an honor student as well as through various clubs and activities such as the Forensics Team, Concert Band, and previously Art Club, Anime Club, and Theater Tech. I have also organized the Day of Silence, a national youth-run effort using silence to protest the actual silencing of LGBT people due to harassment, bias and abuse in schools, at Richland for the past four years. I was inducted into the National Honor Society in the spring of this year, and I am in my second year as Assistant Drum Major of the Richland Marching Band, both of which are esteemed credits. Imagine this. You wake up one day in the body of the opposite sex. Sure, at first it might be exciting, different, interesting to say the least. But eventually it would become uncomfortable, scary, unsettling. You might even feel trapped in a way, wondering if you’ll ever return to your own body where you belong. Now, imagine feeling like this for 17 years, your own skin is your prison, you’re unable to escape, and you’ve just taken a glimpse at what it’s like to walk in my shoes.

Ever since I was a kid, I have always fit into a more masculine role. Even before I truly understood the difference between girls and boys, I knew something just wasn’t right. I tried having a boyfriend, wearing dresses, and playing with dolls, but it never felt right. I was happiest playing Nintendo, wearing baggy clothes, and keeping my hair short. Today, I identify as a FTM (female to male) transgender. This means that I have been in gender confirmation counseling and plan on taking testosterone and eventually having gender reassignment surgery, ultimately becoming a male. I’ve never been happy in this body, and having this done will be my chance to finally be comfortable in my own skin. Most of my close friends already knew this, and I’ve been listed as male on Facebook for a few years, but I haven’t really come out and said this publicly until recently. I have always dressed as a male, I identify as male, and have asked to be referred to with the masculine pronouns he and him.

The school has always been rather accepting of my status as a transgendered youth and has made some concessions to accommodate my unique individuality such as a separate changing room for gym and a separate rest room facility. The school has approved of me wearing a tuxedo in lieu of the traditional female attire for the concert band performances. The guidance counselor held a meeting with all of my teachers last year regarding my preference for pronouns and my transgender status.

The reason I came out about this is because when the school was about to vote for the members of this year’s homecoming court, I was asked by the school guidance counselor, Mrs. Stringent and the staff organizing homecoming whether I preferred to be placed on the male or female ballot. Obviously, since I was given the choice, I wanted to be on the male ballot. I quickly posted a Facebook status the night before the voting to make the seniors of my school aware of this. This status received 109 likes, 51 comments, and several shares overnight. The support I had coming from Richland’s senior class alone was phenomenal. Walking into school the next day, it was hard to turn the corner without someone congratulating me, hugging me, and promising me their vote. I had never felt so accepted, so supported, and so respected in my life. I was sure I was going to make it onto court, and this would be a major step forward for me, my school, and the young LGBTQ community. I was so excited that not only was I going to be on homecoming court, but I also had a real shot at being crowned homecoming king. Everything was falling perfectly into place, I finally felt like a normal, biological boy, and it seemed like nothing could possibly go wrong.

Something did go wrong, however. In fact, everything fell apart in one single moment. Friday the 30th, the day of voting, shortly before the vote was to occur, I was called into the principal’s office. I walked in to find the principal, Mr. Bailey, and vice principal, Mr. Wilson, sitting in the office with serious, and yet vaguely unfazed expressions. They asked me to have a seat, and I set my bag down and sat down in front of the desk. They told me that it had come to their attention that I was running for homecoming court as a male, and informed me that they had been contacted by some lawyers who had told them that it was illegal for me to be on the male ballot as my driver’s license states that I am female. They also, without previously informing me, had removed my name from the male ballot and replaced it onto the female ballot. I was in shock, enraged, and disappointed. It felt like everything I had worked for had been destroyed. A new and important door had been opened for me, and then slammed right in my face. I was heartbroken and on the verge of tears as I stormed out of their office and directly into the guidance counselor’s office across the hall. It hit me. I couldn’t’ hold it in any longer. I was crying so hard I almost couldn’t explain to Mrs. Stringent what had happened. I could barely breathe.

When I could finally get something understandable to come out of my mouth, she immediately apologized. She didn’t know what to say, and neither did I. I wasn’t sure whether I was more angry, or disappointed. Something needed to be done. I told her this wasn’t going to be let go, that people were going to hear about this, and I wouldn’t be the only one who was angry. This wasn’t the end, it was only the beginning. After spending a few periods in her office discussing my plans on dealing with this, I left to continue my school day. Some people had asked me why I was on the wrong ballot, and I didn’t hesitate to tell them the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, at least as I understood it.

At the end of the day, I was about to get on the bus to go home when the principal and vice principal pulled me aside. I wondered what they could possibly have to say to me after everything that had happened that day. They told me that it looked like I had gotten enough votes to have made it on court; however they weren’t going to send me with a male escort due to my “unique situation.” They had proposed to me that they were going to add another girl onto court and send her with my original escort, and that I could bring “whoever I want.” I couldn’t understand how I wasn’t allowed to be on court as a guy and escort a girl, but I apparently couldn’t be on court as a girl and be escorted by a guy either. It didn’t make any sense. They told me I could give them a decision by calling later that day, or informing them on Tuesday after the Labor Day weekend. So essentially I was being treated as a special case, and I didn’t know how to react. I just wanted to be treated the way I felt, as a male. Even though I could go to homecoming and wear a suit and escort a girl of my choice, I was still going to be in the running for homecoming queen, and that’s not right.

I had posted about how proud I was of RHS for initially placing me on the male ballot. There were many comments praising them for that decision, and those wearing blue tonight are here in support of me and my cause, because blue is the color of the cap and gown I am requesting to wear for my graduation in recognition of my preferred and expressed gender, male. This is in accordance with the Pennsylvania Fair Educational Opportunities Act which prohibits gender stereotyping within a public institution. As for the issue of the homecoming court and my situation of being listed on the court as a female, the only reason I was given that I could not be listed as a male member of the court is that my driver’s license states that I am a female. For your review, I present to you; the members of the school board and Mr. Bailey, a copy of my driver’s license showing that I am legally a male. Thank you for your consideration of these matters.


Remarks from John DeBartola: President, Keystone Alliance/Gaylife Newsletter

Good evening ladies and gentlemen of the Richland School Board, teachers, faculty, staff, parents, family, friends, and community members. My name is John DeBartola and I am the president of the Keystone Alliance/Gaylife Newsletter. I have been asked by Kasey and his family to speak to you tonight on his behalf as his advocate. Thank you for allowing me to speak to you.

I want to point out how important it is that as we are educating our young people it is important that we teach them the aspect of non-hate because hate is a big word as you probably know. We must teach our children not to hate. We must teach them tolerance of others, religious and other views. It is important that in educating our children that we also take into consideration that they are reaching adulthood, at least those in our own high school. The are becoming our future citizens, our future leaders, and how we treat them now will echo throughout their future and the future of all of our children. It is important that we respect their rights of choice, the rights for them to be the person that they are. Not to be someone else, not to be who someone thinks they should be but allow them the freedom of what this country was built upon and that is the freedom of the individual, the way to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as the person they are.

I would ask you to honor this person, to honor them as they move forward into their journey into adulthood by accepting them for who they are, by showing them that you believe in them, that you believe in the constitution and their right as citizens and that what is most important here is not whether or not this person is an A student or a C student, they are a student. They deserve the rights and respect of others from their classmates and, perhaps, even more importantly, the teachers and the adults around them and especially from the School Board who can set an example of showing that they believe in individuals rights, they believe in the right of a person to choose to be who they truly are.

I would like to point out just one last thing and that is how important it is that since the School Board represents the community at large that it must realize that it is important to take a stand against bigotry and hate. I would hope that you will make the right decision concerning Kasey. We are requesting gender identity be added to the schools protection and the Keystone Alliance would like to sponsor a Youth Chapter here at the school with Kasey as President with your permission. Thank you very much.

No Answers Yet For Kasey Caron

Kasey Caron, a transgender student at Richland High School, was given no immediate answers at a Richland School Board meeting as to whether he would be allowed to run for Homecoming King, but one thing was made certain. The school board does not recognize the gender identity of transgender students.

On Monday evening, Kasey Caron and his supporters gathered to contest the school’s decision that he must run for Homecoming Queen, rather than King. While Kasey was initially told he would be allowed to run for court as a male, he was switched onto the female side of the ballot prior to the vote. Kasey was nominated onto the court, at which time the school administration deemed him a “special case,” and said that rather than be paired with another male on the court as his escort, he was to bring his own date. The school district initially claimed that they were required to force Kasey to run as a female, according to their legal counsel.

At the meeting, Kasey told his story of the difficulties he has faced in life as a transgender student, and how joyed he was to have a chance at being crowned homecoming king, with the support of his classmates. He cited the Pennsylvania Fair Opportunities Education Act in his defense, which prohibits stereotyping based upon gender in public institutions.

Kasey was told by the school board that no one was singling him out, but that the law defines gender. The school board then asked him to consider how he was impacting other students. At one point, school board solicitor, Tim Leventry, misgendered Kasey when his mother asked to speak, saying to her, “Who are you… is Kasey your daughter?”


Over a hundred people were in attendance, wearing blue in support of Kasey. Three of his peers, as well as commenters from the community spoke in favor of Kasey, without any opposition. Seamus Johnston, a transgender student activist, said, “The school board claims to not want to make Kasey a special case, but by forcing him to be on the female ballot, they are saying that some student’s gender identity is more important than others, because everyone has a gender identity, and they are not respecting Kasey’s.”

After being presented with a copy of Kasey’s driver’s license, which identifies him as male, the school board claimed that PennDot’s classification of gender was less strict than state law, and that only if his birth certificate was changed, would Kasey be legally male. When asked what specific laws prevented the school board from allowing an alleged female to run for homecoming king, school board solicitor, Tim Leventry, reportedly sighed, and replied “We’re not writing a legal brief here, no I don’t have those in front of me to cite to you.” When asked who their legal counsel was, the school board declined to answer.

The school board summed up the meeting by stating that there were “two sides to this issue.” They claimed that legally, Kasey is female, and therefore can be made to run on the court as a female. However, they also stated that in practicality, because Kasey has the support of his peers, school staff, and the community, the school board has the authority to overlook the legality, and grant Kasey permission to run as a male. They closed the issue by stating that, having heard the opinions of the community, they will conduct further investigation into the situation under advisement, and will announce their decision following the next convening of the board, which will be two weeks later, in a closed meeting.

Area leaders of the Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition were in attendance at the meeting. Faith Elmes, President of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Pride Alliance and Assistant Convener of PSEC, commented after the meeting that “While no student should ever have to face the challenge of their school district administration taking away their dignity, Kasey was fearless in directly countering their ignorance and bigotry.” The student coalition is joined by the ACLU of Pennsylvania and GLSEN Pittsburgh in closely monitoring this unfolding situation. PSEC youth leaders across the state stand in solidarity with Kasey, as he advocates for his school community to embrace equal access and inclusivity for students regardless of gender identity.