A transgender school board trustee in the progressive western mountain city of Asheville said she resigned after repeated anti-LGBTQ attacks by a minister at board meetings. She did so hoping to staunch the attacks and the hate group behind them, Peyton O’Connor explained in her December 5 resignation letter she posted to Facebook.

“Y’all, I’ve made the difficult decision to resign from the Asheville City Schools Board of Education,” wrote O’Connor, the first transgender member of the board. “While I have enjoyed the experience, I was also firmly aware upon being appointed to the board of the probability of being targeted as a trans woman at some point given the current state of LGBTQIA+ issues in our country.”

On Facebook, she added that “while the work of the board has never been easy, it really was a labor of love” for her. O’Connor detailed how a local minister named Ronald Gates had been disrupting school board meetings and accusing the board of ‘indoctrinating’ students to be LGBTQ.

During public comment at a Nov. 16 meeting, he repeatedly misgendered her and refused to refer to her by appropriately, even after the board’s chair interrupted and asked him to stop, the Asheville Citizen Times reported.

O’Connor said Gates “identifies himself as an ‘Ambassador’ for the Alliance Defending Freedom,” which the Southern Poverty Law Center identified as an anti-LGBTQ hate group in 2016. At press time, Gates and his church Greater Works Church did not respond to McClatchy Press requests for comment.

This article appears courtesy of our media partner The Charlotte Observer.

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