A Virginia elementary school teacher has been placed on leave after saying he would refuse to refer to transgender students by the correct pronouns.
Gym teacher Byron ‘Tanner’ Cross told a Loudoun County school board meeting that he would not ‘affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa’.
Citing his religious belief and a recent 60 Minutes episode about young Americans who had chosen to ‘detransition’, Cross claimed that supporting transgender children by referring to them by their preferred names and pronouns would ‘damage’ them and ‘defile the holy image of God’.
‘I am speaking out of love for those who are suffering from gender dysphoria,’ he said, adding, ‘I’m a teacher but I serve God first and I will not affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it’s against my religion. It’s lying to a child, it’s abuse to a child, and it’s sinning against our God.’
Cross’s position directly opposed the Loudoun County Public School board’s official position on transgender students, which states that ‘staff shall allow gender-expansive or transgender students to use their chosen name and gender pronouns that reflect their gender identity without any substantiating evidence, regardless of the name and gender recorded in the student’s permanent educational record’.
In an email to staff and parents, the school’s principal, Shawn Lacey, confirmed that Cross was on leave, writing, ‘I’m contacting you to let you know that one of our physical education teachers, Tanner Cross, is on leave beginning this morning… Because this involves a personnel matter, I can offer no further information.’
A spokesperson for Loudoun County Public Schools told Fox News that the decision had not been made by the principal themself, and that Cross was officially on administrative leave with pay.
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