EVANSVILLE — After almost a full week, an Evansville school board member has responded to the video of her saying “cry me a river” to LGBTQ activists.
In a post on the Friends of Ann Ennis Facebook page, Evansville-Vandeburgh School Corp. (EVSC) board member Ann Ennis said her comments were taken out of context.
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.Ann Ennis
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 — Greater Evansville Youth.
Greater Evansville Youth, for its part, made a post in support of Ennis and disparaging “dishonest reporting.”
Local media also finally covered the controversy on Tuesday. WEHT, the ABC affliate in Evansville, gave pretty balanced coverage. The Evansville Courier & Press, on the other hand, brought up the Tri-State Alliance (TSA) losing non-profit status for not filing IRS paperwork (now on appeal) and a sexual misconduct investigation. The newspaper used these incidents of examples of doubts of the character of the group and its president Wally Paynter.
The Courier & Press reported that a Change.org petition had been started demanding Ennis’s removal. As of Tuesday afternoon, the petition had been closed.
“Our group of activists were publicly talking about LGBTQ youth suicide and especially trans youth suicide,” said TSA board member Julie Robinson. “She walked by immediately after these 6 speeches on LGBTQ student suicides and interrupted with insults and attempts to provoke activists. She walked back to our group after storming away and aggressively said she is our ‘only friend on the board’.”
Robinson said multiple people have confirmed the sequence of events in the video. Robinson also pointed out that the EVSC has already lost a lawsuit brought by a transgender student.
“Ann claims to be an ally,” Robinson told the Eagle. “As a school board member, we need someone who will do their job. That means bringing up our two issues publicly for discussion: adding gender identity to the school’s non-discrimination policy and implementing ‘best-practices’ when working with transgender students.”
Comments on Ennis’s Facebook post expressed a lot of doubt on her version of events, referring to the video, and called for a full apology.
A study by the Trevor Project in June found that one in five LGBTQ youth have attempted suicide in the past year. For trans youth, that goes up to one in three.