Lebo Pride Steps Up to Support Transgender Students in Mt. Lebanon Legal Battle

History and legal precedents show, "opt-out" policies only serve to stigmatize and harm.

Lebo Pride is steadfast in its mission to champion an inclusive, welcoming educational environment for all students, transgender and nonbinary folks included. They’ve stepped up to the legal plate, filing an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in a case (Tatel et al v. Mt Lebanon School District, et al.) where anti-trans parents have sued the Mt. Lebanon School District.

The brief throws its weight behind Mt. Lebanon School District’s commitment to an educational experience that’s as diverse as life itself. It underscores the critical need for policies and practices that don’t just tolerate but celebrate every student’s identity, while laying bare the real-world consequences of sidelining support for transgender students.

Asta Kill, Lebo Pride’s fearless leader and a trans parent in the trenches, puts it plainly, “Creating a safe, supportive environment for all kids isn’t optional. The pushback isn’t just about differing opinions; it’s about recognizing the harm that comes from excluding anyone from this fundamental right.”

In the last year over 500 anti-trans bills were proposed across the nation, targeting the most vulnerable among us, making the urgency palpable. These aren’t abstract political maneuvers; they’re attacks that translate into real harm against transgender youth, as evidenced by a slew of research pointing to the heightened risks they face.

Jackie Perlow of the Women’s Law Project, allied with Lebo Pride, brings a legal lens to the conversation, “Denying LGBTQ+-inclusive education isn’t just out of step with expert consensus and public sentiment; it’s a legal misstep. The Third Circuit has already recognized the vital interest schools have in safeguarding the wellbeing of transgender students.”

Mt. Lebanon students themselves tell a story of a daily struggle and the importance of support over isolation. “It’s hard to focus, hard to feel safe,” one student shares, shedding light on the chilling effect of a hostile school climate.

Efforts to marginalize trans students, from outright bans to the proposed “opt-out” policies, are not just misguided—they’re discriminatory. Such policies, as history and legal precedents show, only serve to further stigmatize and harm.

Dan Vitek from the Community Justice Project, backing Lebo Pride, emphasizes the broader impact, “‘Opt-out’ policies fundamentally miss the point of inclusive education. Respect and support for every student should be unconditional, not up for debate.”

Now, it’s in the hands of Senior District Judge Joy Flowers Conti to decide the path forward for inclusivity in the Mt. Lebanon School District—a decision that will resonate far beyond the courtroom.

The original transphobic lawsuit was brought by Mt. Lebanon residents Carmilla Tatel, Stacy Dunn, and Gretchen Melton.

Dive deeper

QBurgh is preserving the legal documents in the case here:

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