A Denver Public Schools parent has sued the district over its policy allowing teachers to display Progress Pride flags in their classrooms, saying LGBTQ+ flags “discriminate” against his straight, cisgender, white children.

Nathan Feldman, whose children attend Slavens School in southeast Denver’s Wellshire neighborhood, on Nov. 10 filed the federal suit in the U.S. District of Colorado that states DPS’ policy supporting LGBTQ+ students is “not inclusive of all students” or of his children, who are “heterosexual, Caucasian, and/or binary/’cisgender.'” The lawsuit comes after his unsuccessful attempts to have what he described as a “straight pride” flag displayed in his children’s classrooms.

The lawsuit alleges Feldman and his children have “suffered irreparable harm directly” because of the district’s policy, and it seeks an injunction stopping the district from enforcing the policy that prohibits the straight flag display and a declaratory judgment on the unconstitutionality of the policy.

The lawsuit also seeks $3 million in punitive damages from Slavens School Principal Kurt Siebold, DPS Director of Operations Christina Sylvester, and DPS family constituency specialist Katherine Diaz, who are named individually in the lawsuit as well as the district, the DPS school board, Superintendent Alex Marrero and two of Feldman’s children’s teachers.

According to the lawsuit, Feldman asked the district to display a flag he described in an email as a “straight pride” flag, a black and white striped flag with a linked male and female gender sign on it, in front of his children’s classrooms to include them, but the district did not respond to his request.

“Each day at school, (Feldman’s children) are exposed dozens, if not hundreds, of ‘Progress Pride Flags’ that DPS officials have strung throughout the Slavens School classrooms and halls as a means of expressing and promoting DPS’ favored viewpoint on the topic,” the lawsuit states. “Due to the fact that (Feldman and his children’s) views differ, (Feldman and his children) simply requested to have their views expressed, as well. But DPS has refused, and continues to refuse, to permit (Feldman and his children’s) speech or expression to even exist in its schools.”

Feldman first raised his concerns about pride flags to the district Oct. 6, 2022, according to the lawsuit, after he attended a school event and saw Progress Pride Flags displayed in front of classrooms.

He asked his children’s teachers about the flag displays because “Pride Flags are not inclusive of all Slavens School students and only represent one viewpoint on the topic of sex,” and if he could have the straight pride flag displayed as well.

Neither teacher responded, so he sent a follow-up email that Siebold answered, explaining district policy that supports teachers’ right to display a rainbow flag or any other sign of support for LGBTQ+ students.

The lawsuit alleges Siebold’s response and DPS policy “confirms” the district “does not allow students or staff to speak or express support for students or staff who are not members of the LGBTQIA+ community.”

Siebold later allegedly sent an email that stated, in part, “DPS doesn’t allow for other flags,” according to the lawsuit.

Feldman went back and forth with DPS officials and school administrators and faculty, saying the use of the pride flags and alleged non-allowance for other flags violates the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

He also sent an email to Sylvester, stating he’d like to “follow [Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policies] to display a straight pride flag with 2 gender symbols” in front of his children’s classrooms.

He met with Siebold and Diaz in January, where Diaz allegedly said, “‘sexual orientation, gender identity and race protections only apply to homosexuals, people of color, and trans people.”

Feldman claims, according to the lawsuit, straight, white, cisgender people should “be members of protected classes or protected against discrimination” because those are parts of sexual orientation, race and gender identity.

Feldman and his children are being represented by Michael Yoder and Chad LaVeglia, two Washington D.C.-based attorneys.

DPS Director of External Communications Scott Pribble said as of Monday the district had not been served the lawsuit, but even if they had could not comment on pending litigation.

    • ℛ𝒶𝓋ℯ𝓃
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      293 months ago

      I don’t have to imagine, mine’s just as bad. Which is pretty scary since I’m closeted nonbinary, a pagan, and can’t move out for another year…

      • Cows Look Like Maps
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        133 months ago

        I’m worry to hear that, it sounds like a really difficult situation…

        Unrelated, but nice username!

        • ℛ𝒶𝓋ℯ𝓃
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          103 months ago

          Yeah… It’s been pretty tough. I’ve had problems with depression and self-harm, but it’s starting to get better now that I’ve found a couple close, supportive friends and am going off to university next year.

      • @[email protected]
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        93 months ago

        If it helps, I know a few people who grew up in a similar situation and every single one of them has gone on to build a better life, on their own terms, filled with people who gave them everything their family never did.

      • @[email protected]
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        93 months ago

        Sorry to hear that, friend…

        Wishing you all the best 💜 Things may suck rn, but a year goes by quick. Just hang in there, and you’ll be free before you know it

        Fuck shitty parents

  • @Synthead
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    213 months ago

    Imagine being so deaf that you actually believe that pride flags cause harm to straight people. Anyone here remember why we have pride month?

    • @BallShapedMan
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      133 months ago

      Some straight people are dumb as fuck.

      Source, am a straight people.

  • FoundTheVegan
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    3 months ago

    When straight people have had centuries of being forced to conform into queer lifestyles out of religious, cultural or legal threat. Then they can have a flag.

    It’s not PRIDE to be proud of yourself, it’s PRIDE as opposed to being ashamed of existing in public.

  • @duffman
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    93 months ago

    Doesn’t the latest pride flag include everyone?

  • @thantik
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    3 months ago

    Honestly how is this any different than The Satanic Temple coming in when people require the Bible or Ten Commandments be shown in schools in order to point out hypocrisy in the rules? (I wholly support this, btw)

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Total equality for all, I say. If you put up LGBT pride flags, “straight pride” flags have to be allowed too. If you put up the Christian Bible, you’ve gotta allow the Koran, etc as well.

    Can’t discriminate by self-segregation.

    • @[email protected]
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      293 months ago

      But pride flags aren’t discriminating against straight people.

      That’s like arguing that all those flags in support of the police discriminate against non-police officers, and that we now need to have flags for everyone who isn’t an officer. That’s exceedingly dumb.

      • @thantik
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        3 months ago

        Are straight people not allowed to have pride? Are they not allowed representation?

        And likewise, taken this to its end - if someone wanted to have non-officer flags, so long as they were allowed alongside officer flags, that would be okay. There’s firefighter flags, and everything else. The problem is when you tell someone else that they aren’t also allowed representation. So long as his “Straight Pride Flag” doesn’t literally just say “Death to the gays!” - then what harm is there in adding it?

        The discrimination here isn’t the LGBT flags, it’s the inability for someone who doesn’t fit in that category to also have representation.

        • RooPappy
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          Are you claiming that straight people are suffering from a lack of representation? Straight people are represented everywhere in every single aspect of every part of all popular culture in every part of the world, and you know that.

          What you’re describing is not a lack of representation, it’s jealousy that someone else is getting attention that you aren’t getting. It seems like less of a movement for equality, and more of a childish temper tantrum, you know?

          But if you want to start a straight pride group, go for it. It’ll definitely do 2 things: 1) Tell everyone around you that you’re the kind of person who would start a straight pride group, and 2) Even if it’s not your intention, it’ll be a LGBT hate group in less than a week, because thats who’s most interested in straight pride.

        • @negativeyoda
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          3 months ago

          Yeah. You know who’s had a rough go of things regarding representation?

          checks notes straight, white cisgender men

          What would this flag look like? The Rhodesian flag? A rendering of a white guy shooting chewing tobacco into his dick with an AR15?

          But yeah, file this next to white pride. Nothing sketchy about that

        • Julian
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          133 months ago

          Straight people already have representation. Plenty of it. Almost every love story in modern western society is straight. The law itself in many places only recognizes straight couples. This has only started to change in the last 10-20 years. The point of pride is to give a heavily marginalized, underrepresented group of people a shared voice and a way to find joy in a society that make it difficult to be that way. Trying to celebrate “straight pride” makes no sense since society doesn’t make it difficult to be straight. We don’t need pride because everything is built for us. And if you still want to join in, you can be an ally - it even has a flag if you want one.

          • @thantik
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            3 months ago

            But these are children you’re talking about. They have no concept of the history of racism, sexism, the turmoil of the past, etc.

            All they see is all the LGBT kids being celebrated, while they aren’t for some reason. I wonder as a child, what I would do if I saw all this love and pride for people that were gay…I might just want to announce myself gay as well, because I yearned to gain the acceptance and tolerance that those who claimed they were LGBT were getting as well. Even if I weren’t, I would certainly feel pressured to, without representation of my own.

            You have to understand the context of all of this, and you clearly don’t. You’ve decided the stance you’re going to take, and have worked your way backwards to support it rather than thinking about it as a whole, and coming to a sane conclusion from there.

            • Julian
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              33 months ago

              It’s a school. If the students have no concept of the history of racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia then maybe the school should, you know, educate them?

              Also I went to public school while the gay pride movement was getting mainstream traction, and I was straight and cis. The bullying they had to go through did not make me wish I was gay.

              And not to mention, this article is about an adult arguing for this. There’s no excuse for them not understanding the “turmoil of the past.”

              • @thantik
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                Do you understand what it was like being a Jew during the holocaust?

                Even though you have been educated about it…do you really? Education doesn’t impart anything more than knowledge. Knowledge is not Understanding.

                And yes, it’s an adult arguing for this, because nobody will listen to a child and children need Adult proxies to argue for things when they can’t. Did your parents never take up arms for you as a child when you were wronged?

                It’s discrimination to display LGBT flags all over the schools and then balk when others want to be represented as well. But it’s clear that you support discrimination, so long as it’s “for the right people”. You’re no different than a Republican.

                My 15 year old daughter has told me multiple times in the past that in school now - if you don’t claim you’re LGBT in some orientation, you get bullied for not being that. So much so that an increasing number of kids say they are just to be left alone about it. My niece of the same age has confirmed it with me as well, because initially I didn’t believe my own daughter. It sounded way too outlandish to actually be true.

                But that sounds like it’s okay with you, because straight people are “the wrong people”.

                • @kaffiene
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                  33 months ago

                  Don’t assume what people think to match your prejudices. No one is saying that straight people are wrong.

        • @kaffiene
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          43 months ago

          The majority don’t need representation. The whole of society is made in their image

          • @duffman
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            -13 months ago

            The majority you are referring to are simply powerless children, as young as kindergarten, who don’t have a concept of the history behind of the flags and instead see others recognized and honored, but not themselves.

            • @kaffiene
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              33 months ago

              Is this a response to me or just a tangentially related comment?

    • The Bard in Green
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      The guy makes no secret about how his “views differ” and that JUST means homophobia. There’s NO WAY “straight pride” is about feeling like being straight is “as good as” being gay… No one needs to be reminded that straight people exist and have rights. It’s ALWAYS about reminding GLBTQ+ youth that there are assholes out there who AT THE VERY LEAST think they’re better than GLBTQ+ people. NO ONE who supports GLBTQ+ normalization cares about flying straight pride flags. The only ones who do it are straight up homophobes.

      By your argument, logically this guy’s kids should be allowed to show “White Pride” flags at school… and this guy sums up very well why you just can’t allow that in.

      tl:dr; for the link: “You have to ignore their reasonable arguments, because their end goal is to be terrible, awful people.”

      • @[email protected]
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        03 months ago

        You have to ignore their reasonable arguments, because their end goal is to be terrible, awful people.

        This is logically flawed and benefits an ‘us against them’ mentality. If there actually are reasonable and logical arguments, the chances are high there are reasonable and lovely people listening to those arguments. If we shut down those reasonable arguments, because we suspect bad hidden intentions. That just gives opportunity to the people with bad intentions to radicalise reasonable lovely people.

        If Anna subscribes to X, which is a reasonable idea, and Ben publicly argues for X - Anna might support Ben. However, Ben turns out to be an asshole. Since Clara also argues X, Anna is very likely to support Clara instead of Ben.

        Let’s assume Clara doesn’t exist: People disagree with X because X is argued by the asshole Ben. Anna is still a lovely person and believes in X, because the idea makes sense and doesn’t hurt anyone. But Ben’s rhetoric became so much easier: “THEY don’t want US to have X”, “I am the only person fighting for X” and all that propaganda bullshit. It won’t work on everybody, but Ben likely gains support he would not have gained in the previous scenario.

        • Sirsirsalot
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          33 months ago

          You’re right, and it’s happening everywhere. It is difficult to overstate the alienation that this type of messaging is causing across America. The 2020 election should have been a blowout of epic proportions, but instead it was won by razor thin margins because identity politics caused millions of average Americans to feel like they’re being told they don’t matter. They’re not radical trumpers, they just felt that their voices aren’t heard, they’re told their opinions are irrelevant, and so they went with the group that says they are in opposition to those messages. Most people are pretty middle of the road, and it seems that in-groups don’t understand how easy it is to make enemies out of allies.

      • @thantik
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        3 months ago

        Either everyone gets representation or nobody does. In an ideal world, that’s how it works. If you allow a “Black Pride”, you subsequently have to allow the counter. I know that’s an incredibly unpopular opinion to have, but logically, it follows. I don’t have to jump through any hoops to explain why that simple premise tracks. To think otherwise, is to simply believe that it’s okay to discriminate against majority groups simply because they are the majority.

        The guy, and his despicable views have nothing to do with the core argument at hand. Which you’re allowing to lead your opinion here. Forget the guy. Forget his whole schtick.

        Reverse the situation. If teachers were putting up white pride flags, would you not argue that LGBTQ+ flags had to be allowed too? Because I would.

        If there were a “White Pride” group at a college campus, I’d be arguing that they need to allow a “Black Pride” as well.

        See how that opinion logically follows both ways even if I reverse it? It’s because there’s no bias in it. If you cannot follow your opinion to its ends and still be happy with it, it’s flawed; and you have to find a way to balance the equation.

        • The Bard in Green
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          113 months ago

          To think otherwise, is to simply believe that it’s okay to discriminate against majority groups simply because they are the majority.

          No, it’s OK to discriminate against assholes, because they’re assholes. Full stop. They can go form an asshole lobby if they don’t like it… oh wait, they did, it’s called the Republican party.

          If there were a “White Pride” group at a college campus, I’d be arguing that they need to allow a “Black Pride” as well.

          If I want this kind of lowest common denominator cultural simplification with a bunch of slippery slope kinds of arguments, I’ll go debate the kids who go to high school with my son. This black and white “the nuance doesn’t matter, it’s just logical” world view exists wilfully ignorant of it’s own consequences, thinking it has the moral high ground because it’s head is up it’s own ass. I don’t have time for it.

          • @[email protected]
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            73 months ago

            Either everyone gets equal representation or nobody does

            I both fixed your point and highlighted how you’re wrong. Representation for LGBT+, as well as ethnic and racial minority groups is not equal in the US.

            Symbols like pride flags give those groups an opportunity to have representation where they normally wouldn’t.

            We don’t live in an ideal world, we live in the real world. Come join us in supporting people oppressed by Mr. Feldman and those like him.

              • @[email protected]
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                43 months ago

                I did, although I think you did it better. I kept thinking of that quote about unlimited tolerance from Popper and I think you summed it up nicely.

            • Sirsirsalot
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              Representation for LGBT+, as well as ethnic and racial minority groups is not equal in the US.

              I think they actually have higher representation in pop culture proportionate to their percentage of the population. 7.2% of Americans are LGBTQ+, but they are represented far above that in pop culture. As far as federal legislatures go, they are under-represented. Only about 3% of Congress is openly LGBTQ+, so they are under-represented there, by about half. The same goes for BPOC, but they have higher representation in Congress. Representation of BPOC in pop culture is far higher than 13%, which is what percentage of the population they have, but they only have about 11% representation in Congress. We’ve made a lot of progress and it seems that we’re almost there, but it feels like people are more divided than ever before in my lifetime.

        • @negativeyoda
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          103 months ago

          Discarding that race is a construct, “White” is not an ethnicity. Irish, Swedish, French, etc. is. Go nuts being proud of that if that’s your thing.

          “Black” is an ethnicity in that most of that heritage went through a little nightmare called slavery which landed their ancestors here. Their culture at a granular level was forcibly erased and obscured by design, which is why black folks get a pass since most can’t really pin down if they’re Zulu, Kongo, etc. Put your melanin deficient ass through that as well as sustained systemic disenfranchisement and violence for a few generations and got can claim “White pride” without being a fucking bigot.

          Given that white/cisgender/heterosexual men are by and large the overriding baseline in our patriarchal society and that I would bet donuts to blowjobs you wouldn’t switch places with a minority that wouldn’t be represented by this mythical mayonnaise flag for less than probably ten figures explains that this bullshit argument of yours is bad faith.

          Man, at least the trolls on reddit were funny

    • @Vytle
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      33 months ago

      The point of the flag is not to “self segregate”. I think a lot of people dont really understand it. Displaying a pride flag isnt about expressing a belief, its not really that kind of expression. When you see a pride flag somewhere, that is a gay thing, right? And since its being displayed, it aint hiding. The thing it is expressing is that 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘨𝘢𝘺𝘴 dont need to hide, either.

      Imagine you were in a different country where a fair amount of people agressively disliked americans. You’d need to act differently, maybe adjust your voice a bit, and dress differently. If you found somewhere that was publicly displaying an American flag, youd prolly be more comfortable acting american in there.

    • Sirsirsalot
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      13 months ago

      See, this is why I dislike the combined voting scores instead of showing up votes and down votes separately. You can’t tell that some people agree with you.