LGBTQ advocates rally outside Baltimore City school board meeting

Posted at 11:22 PM, Feb 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-28 23:34:39-05
A group of transgender advocates showed up at the Baltimore City school board Tuesday evening telling them they're watching.
It was under the showers of evening rain that a group of about 200 advocates of the LGBTQ community showed up at a regularly scheduled board meeting of the city school board of commissioners.
Sharing stories of personal challenges, they came to deliver a message: they're asking the district to make sure what they say are the rights and freedoms of LGBTQ students are protected, which is something that Ava Pipitone, who is a transgendered woman, believes in deeply.
"Transgender spaces, and our sanctuaries, need to be upheld and need to be strengthened in this city," said Pipitone.
Chanting could be heard inside clearly as Pipitone addressed a room of public attendees as well as the districts CEO, Dr. Sonja Santelises. Among her first comments tonight, a message to the crowd outside.
"I do want to re-affirm our support of their right to a supportive and enriched and safe learning environment," said Santelises.
The renewed focus on the issue comes a little less than a week after President Donald Trump replaced an Obama-era guidance to schools allowing students to use restrooms matching their gender identities.
Though the Maryland education department issued it's own guidance on the issue, Lyles hopes the groups presence renews its importance.
"The guidance is only that, just guidance. Schools have the opportunity not to follow that guidance," he said.
The group vowed to stay throughout the meeting.