Byron “Tanner” Cross, a P.E. teacher in Loudoun County, Virginia, has been put on leave after refusing to use preferred pronouns for trans students.
Cross, a Christian, spoke passionately about those “suffering from gender dysphoria” at a policy meeting on Tuesday concerning the “Rights of Transgender and Gender-Expansive Students.”
“My name is Tanner Cross and I am speaking out of love for those who are suffering from gender dysphoria,” Cross told the assembled group.
It’s not my intention to hurt anyone, but there are certain truths that we must face when ready. I love all of my students, but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences. I’m a teacher, but I serve God first, and I will not affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it’s against my religion. It’s lying to a child, it’s abuse to a child, and it’s sinning against our God.
Cross specifically referred to a recent 60 Minutes episode that focused on trans youth who were “de-transitioning” after having rushed into the transitioning process.
On Friday, the district confirmed that Cross had been put on paid leave. Leesburg Elementary principal Shawn Lacy issued a brief statement.
“Because this involves a personnel matter, I can offer no further information,” Lacy wrote.
Cross’s wife believes all the information needed to understand her husband’s forced leave is available. Angela Cross took to Facebook on Friday to say that her husband was placed on leave “as a result of his speaking out.”
“As Americans, we believe that every American has the right to their beliefs, but NO AMERICAN HAS THE RIGHT TO IMPOSE THEIR BELIEFS ON OTHERS,” she wrote.
“We spoke out first and foremost to protect the children and also to defend the first amendment rights of teachers and staff,” Angela Cross wrote.
“We spoke out first and foremost to protect the children and also to defend the first amendment rights of teachers and staff.”
According to the Loudoun Times-Mirror, the specific policy Cross refused to follow stated that “staff shall allow gender-expansive or transgender students to use their chosen name and gender pronouns that reflect their gender identity without any substantiating evidence.”
Angela Cross stated that her husband “will do everything he can” to return to work as soon as possible.