You’ve likely seen it by now.
The video of Ann Ennis, a school board member from Indiana, flippantly telling a group of LGBTQ activists to “cry me a river” after they called her transphobic for disregarding trans student suicides has gone viral.
The Tri-State Alliance, an LGBTQ organization that serves communities in southeastern Illinois, southwestern Indiana, and western Kentucky, first posted the 15-second clip to Facebook last week.
It was taken at an Evansville-Vanderburgh County School Corporation meeting on November 25, during which Ennis allegedly told them she would not consider offering queer students any protections for gender identity.
Evansville Indiana School Board member on LGBTQ student suicides: ‘CRY ME A RIVER'. Our activists confronted EVSC School Board about LGBTQ with emphasis on transgender student suicides @ their Nov. 25th mtg. Member Ann Ennis response? “Cry Me a River”Contact Ann: [email protected] or 812-483-5671Support our fight & Southern Indiana/Tri-State LGBTQIA youth: donate @ http://tsagl.org/donate.html OR send a check to- TSA Youth Group, 501 John Street Suite 5, Evansville, IN 47713 OR msg us for volunteer opportunities with our youth & trans support groups! ?
Posted by Tri-State Alliance on Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Now, in a statement on a Facebook page titled “Friends of Ann Ennis,” Ennis is addressing the video directly by saying it has been taken “out of context,” admitting that she was “angry” and “unable to speak” but insisting she is not homophobic or transphobic.
The statement reads:
The video of me from November 25th is out of context. After the school board meeting, I attempted state my support for LGBTQ+ issues to the group and was unable to be heard.
My comments upon leaving the group were because I was not being allowed to speak. I let myself become angry at being unable to speak. That unprofessionalism on my part led to my wrong-spirited comments.
I was not speaking about the tragedy of transgender or of any suicide.
I have a long history of stewardship and political activism for LGBTQ+ issues. I will continue this work, and have since September with a new area organization.
It’s important to note, however, that Ennis neglected to mention any specifics about her “long history of stewardship and political activism for LGBTQ+ issues,” nor were we able to find anything when we researched her.
According to The Advocate, the school district bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but it offers no protections for gender identity.
Currently, students are required to use school bathrooms corresponding with the gender they were assigned at birth even though a judge ruled the district had violated a trans student’s rights in June when it prevented him from using the boys’ bathroom.
Since the video went viral, a Change.org petition has begun circulating calling for Ennis to be removed from the board.