Megan Allen and Monique Hokman express skepticism about LGBT policies in California schools

By: Shuxuan Zhong

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Megan Allen and Monique Hokman Natomas, candidates for the Northern California Unified School Board, are skeptical about LGBT politics and Pride Month — the annual celebration of LGBT history in California schools.

On Wednesday, October 12, 2022, Megan Allen said in the public candidate forum that all-gender toilets can lead to sexual assault. In a subsequent interview with The Sacramento Bee, she criticizes the California curriculum for including age-appropriate information about LGBT families. Hokman also criticized the teaching materials at a public meeting last year. LGBT advocates in Sacramento noted Allen’s action and believe it shows prejudice against trans people.

Allen believes it is inappropriate to teach children about members of the LGBT community too early. So when Allen was asked if kindergarten materials should include an introduction about members of the LGBT community, she said, “That’s a tough question.” She said she would want to ask a psychologist, “Is that harmful? Isn’t it harmful?”

She went on to ask, “Do we need to mention that?” Annamarie Smith of the Stonewall Democrats of Greater Sacramento disagrees with Allen by saying, “‘Let’s wait until they bring it [conversations about the LGBT community] high?’ “You would do that if you were ashamed of us. And we don’t welcome a shame-based curriculum approach.’”

Allen and Hokman are part of the Republican political party, which has increased its hold on school boards in recent years. The ACLU recently commented on the conservative rules in schools, calling them attacks on transgender and gay youth.

Examples of these rules are opposition to transgender athletes and the representation of LGBT people in the curriculum; Implementation of anti-transgender laws (transgender children are not allowed to use toilets that match their gender identity); and Florida’s enactment of the “Don’t Say Gay” law, which bans the introduction of the terms “transgender” and “gay” to children under fourth grade.

California currently has no law that discriminates against transgender and gay youth in schools. Allen and Hokman’s views on LGBT groups are strongly opposed by Smith, who states: “Curriculum policies in the state of California clearly encourage age-appropriate teaching of LGBT issues. Simply acknowledging the presence of LGBT students in any classroom — or children with LGBT parents — is a small, moderate gesture of decency and inclusion.”

Allen and Hokman are at odds over whether to support merging gender-neutral toilets. Allen claims, “When we say ‘all bathrooms are gender neutral,’ I disagree. There were cases when girls went into the bathroom and were raped. So just stick to reality. Well, if you want a gender-neutral bathroom that’s different from the other two, OK.”

Greater Sacramento’s Stonewall Democrats view Allen’s views as biased and ignorant. Democrats are championing transgender youth, saying they are often bullied and socially isolated from their peers.

Evan Minton, a former legislative assistant, says he regularly gets calls from parents in the Sacramento area whose children are being bullied for being transgender. “All children deserve to feel welcome, included and supported in our schools,” says Minton. Allen claims she is not anti-LGBT and she just wants children to be properly protected. She said: “I’m not homophobic – I’m not. Pooh. My neighbors across from me (are) a male couple. I am talking to you. we are friendly I’m not homophobic.”