Amazing teacher goes viral for passionate speech calling out policy to out transgender students


Dawn Riggs, Ohio Board of Education Speech
Dawn Riggs, Ohio Board of Education Speech Photo: Screenshot

A teacher is making waves on Twitter for her impassioned speech before the Ohio State Board of Education in support of trans students.

Dawn Riggs, a teacher of 33 years, was testifying against a resolution that would require Ohio schools to out trans and nonbinary students to their parents, allow teachers the right to refuse to use a student’s preferred name and pronouns, and require students to participate on sports teams based on their sex assigned at birth, effectively excluding trans girls from school sports.

The “Resolution to Support Parents, Schools, and Districts in Rejecting Harmful, Coercive, and Burdensome Gender Identity Policies” was introduced by Board member Brendan Shea as a reaction to new federal Title IX rules that expand protections for LGBTQ students. 

Riggs spoke before the board about the difference it makes to support trans students.

“I have many trans and nonbinary students in my classes. My experience with transgender individuals spans my entire career. I am still in touch with some of those folks. Every single former student has told me how much knowing they had a safe space to be their authentic selves has meant to them”

Riggs said students have opened up to her about their trauma and suicidal thoughts, and their “wish to disappear.”

“The fact that they could walk into my classroom, be called the name they chose, and be called by the pronouns that reflect their lived experience made a difference. Even if no other adult in their life affirmed their identity, they knew they would be safe for at least a little while each day.”

She added, “It is no burden to use a name that we are asked to use. It is no burden to use the pronouns that are shared with us. If your friend William asked you to call him Billy, you don’t blink an eye.”

She also lambasted the board for considering allowing schools to out students to their parents.

“Our students must be able to choose the time and the manner in which they share their transness and with whom. It is not our place to force them to do so. I urge you to oppose this hateful and misguided rhetoric.”

On Twitter, people praised Riggs for her words and actions.

“She saved lives, 100% certain.” one user wrote.

“If more people had her attitude and kindness there would be a lot more happier trans and non binary people in the world,” said another.

Three members of the Board of Education also released an official statement against Shea’s resolution, writing that they “are embarrassed that our time as a board will be spent discussing an issue that so egregiously works to bully children and threaten adults.”

“Shea not only presented a resolution full of factual errors and based in religious pedagogy,” the statement continued, “but he also submitted a resolution that works to detract our body from the work many of us were elected to do.”

Editor’s note: This article mentions suicide. If you need to talk to someone now, call the Trans Lifeline at 1-877-565-8860. It’s staffed by trans people, for trans people. The Trevor Project provides a safe, judgement-free place to talk for LGBTQ youth at 1-866-488-7386. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

6 thoughts on “Amazing teacher goes viral for passionate speech calling out policy to out transgender students

  1. It is not just the American nationalists; they’re pushing for more oppressive control of society worldwide. Reachers are really in a terrible situation in red states: their tenure and retirement are in the hands of these rogue legislative efforts.

    Someone remind me again of the difference between Taliban and Christian initiatives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Cagjr. I agree. These people are between a rock and a hard place, and they have co-workers that would love to turn them in if their students won’t. I have already posted of a bunch of teachers feeling emboldened by the SCOTUS and using the red states don’t say gay laws to berate and attack students they don’t agree with and to push Christianity on them. I did not post it but yesterday a teacher in a red state got upset a male Hispanic student wouldn’t stand for the pledge and demanded to know where he was born, Mexico or one of those other shit hole countries. He followed that up with go back where you came from, and the kid spoke up saying he was born in the USA the teacher was even angrier at him. This is who is feeling they now can speak their mind and enforce their demands on the rest of us. Hugs

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Teachers are really in a terrible situation in states pushing these radical theological issues. It has nothing to do with morals or ethics; It has to do with power.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Cagjr. Again you are correct. It is about the power to make others live the way you demand they do, to live by the religious doctrines you do, to demand they have the same ideas you do, and to return to a time when the straight white Christians were assumed to be holy and always right, when women knew their place with men and in society, when the only religion on TV and practices in the stores was Christianity, when the minorities were respectful to the white majority who never had to press 1 for English, and the entire LGBTQ+ was not heard of and were to frighted to draw attention to themselves. That is the fridged world of rigid lock step that these people want to force all of us to live in. They are the US Christian Taliban with their own version of the vice police, using the Proud Boys and other militia gang thugs to enforce their minority will on the public. I am tired, worried, and scared about what is happening, how fast it is happening, and I have no clue how to stop it or slow it down. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “Libraries were full of ideas — perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.” – Sarah J. Maas

    “Swords can win territories but not hearts, forces can bend heads but not minds.”
    – Mirza Tahir Ahmad

    Women and men can have excellent thoughts. Some of them feel compelled to give some god credit for their observations. That’s ok, too. Whether expressed in religious teaching or works of fiction, the idea is the same.

    Did you know that it was once illegal for common men to have a copy of the Bible? The priesthood was afraid for men to read it with their own understanding.

    Yesterday, I saw that over 800 books had been banned in Texas.

    Monday night, I watched a small spacecraft plow into a small rock some 7 million miles away after traveling for 10 months. No god did that. Men and women with education in math and science did that. I think it is too late for the theists and despots to nullify what mankind has learned and achieved.
    (It would be a good idea to check some of my facts.)

    How come the Almighty has never reached out and stopped us from proving He never built the world in six days? Doesn’t He care that knowledge makes his priests look foolish?

    They will continue to make life miserable for the rest of us, and as they get more desperate, they will invent new ways to try to create their heaven on earth. Their own ignorance is their worst stumbling block. Men and women standing in pulpits, calling for murder in the name of God is not a winning argument for Christianity. I know that many LGBTQ+ people, women, Democrats, and black and brown-skinned people believe in God. But these new Christian nationalists nullify the authority of God for everyone who believes there is only one God. How can one God have so many competing ideals?

    I don’t think today’s society will stand for their taking away our freedom while they hand us ignorance and hopelessness. The knowledge of Man has outstripped the knowledge of God.


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