An Arizona mother alleged that a transgender school board member stared at her bare chest in her gym’s locker room last week.
Paul Bixler, a man who professes to be a woman, has sat on the Liberty Elementary School District (LESD) Governing Board since 2021. The mother, Lindsey Graham, who goes by the persona “Patriot Barbie” online and is affiliated with conservative activist group Turning Point USA, claimed in a viral video that Bixler looked at her bare chest as she was undressing in the women’s locker room. Graham called police for help. However, law enforcement reportedly informed Graham that the incident wasn’t grounds for arrest.
“He is a man in the women’s locker room, and the response was that this is a ‘touchy, sensitive issue in society,’” said Graham. “Women’s rights are being violated and I’m not going to put up with it.”
Bixler reportedly told police that he had his genitals removed surgically and the gender on his driver’s license changed from male to female. Arizona law requires individuals to receive a doctor’s letter testifying that they’re “irrevocably committed” to changing their gender and that they have received “appropriate clinical treatment.”
“He cut off his weiner, so now he’s a woman?” asked Graham.
Graham said the experience caused her to question what facilities Bixler uses on school property.
Libs of TikTok, a popular conservative account that reposts and reports on left-wing content, picked up the already-viral video, resulting in the encounter to receive millions of views.
Some online users accused Bixler of voyeurism in their comments.
Others insinuated Graham orchestrated the encounter, pointing to her viral public commentary at an LESD board meeting last year. In a response video posted to Instagram, Graham denied accusations against her, including that she was waiting for Bixler to come to the gym, that she signed up for the gym knowing he worked out there, and that she’d been harassing and stalking him.
“I don’t care what the narrative is,” said Graham. “I care about this: did he violate women’s rights? Yes. Will he violate other girls and women? Yes. Is it my duty to fight against his delusions to protect other little girls? Yes.”
Days before the incident went viral, Bixler was featured in an article claiming that he’s been targeted by community members over his transgenderism. Bixler also insisted that transgenderism isn’t a choice, in response to critics’ claims to the contrary.
Bixler began dressing as a woman after his wife died in 2017. On his Facebook profile, last active in 2020, he listed his gender as “male.”
Bixler made headlines last January after he testified against parental rights before the Arizona legislature. Bixler argued that educators shouldn’t have to disclose a child’s sexuality and gender identity to their parents.
“When you threaten a child’s disclosure with exposure, those children will continue to question but will not seek the highly qualified individuals that could assist them. Threatening dedicated, trained caregivers with litigation also threatens the welfare of the children within that same population,” stated Bixler. “When you marginalize this student population and force them to go into hiding, they won’t stop questioning. They simply will not receive the help that they need.”
Prior to sitting on a school board, Bixler worked in Arizona public schools for over 30 years as a teacher, principal, administrator, and even coach. Bixler ran uncontested in his school board race.
Arizona parents promptly pushed back against the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) announcement Monday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Attorney’s Offices would investigate the trend of protests against school boards and other staff. The DOJ indicated that it would create a task force to accomplish this goal.
In a memorandum, Garland cited a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” against public school staff nationwide. Garland explained that the FBI and law enforcement leaders would brainstorm reporting mechanisms and strategies to address violence, threats of violence, harassment, intimidation against public school staff. Nowhere in either the announcement or letter did the DOJ or Garland call those responsible for the purported spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats, “domestic terrorists.”
“Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values. Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to work without fear for their safety,” wrote Garland. “The Department takes these incidents seriously and is committed to using its authority and resources to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate.”
A coalition of moms, West Valley Parents Uniting, said it was hypocritical for Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Biden Administration to highlight parents as a national threat while largely ignoring the rising rates of violent crime, human trafficking, and migrant encounters. Founders Heather Rooks and Devon Updegraff-Day submitted a joint statement to AZ Free News in response to the DOJ announcement.
“Administrators, school board members, and teachers are not the victims. The children are the victims! They have always been the victims; our children have been used as pawns for twisted political games for decades and parents have finally had enough […] The Biden Administration can issue warnings to parents and threaten legal recourse all they want; parents will never be made silent! Parents have the right and will always have the right to speak out against ANYTHING they deem inappropriate or detrimental to their child’s well-being; that is what being a parent is all about. The Biden Administration needs to get their tail out from between their legs and fight against real threats in America and stop trying to create distractions. Criminal conduct behavior is widespread, but one of the few places where it is not occurring is at school board meetings!”
While some issued formal statements, others opted to issue a prompt response on Twitter.
Pam Kirby, Republican Party of Arizona and Latinos for Trump Advisory Board Member, promised to continue rallying at school board meetings.
Yet another user claimed it was hypocritical of Democrats to crack down on parents at school board meetings but condone the behavior of illegal immigrants and activists who chased and filmed Senator Kyrsten Sinema into a bathroom.
“While leftists in office applaud those that chased, harassed [and] recorded a female elected official in a bathroom, they call parents using the normal channels of public meetings ‘radical extremists’ and accuse them of ‘infiltrating’ open meetings.”
The Biden Administration’s DOJ hasn’t issued any similar statements to other, more organized movements like the local Antifa-aligned groups, whose members have exhibited repeat patterns of actively threatening and engaging in violence.
Opposition to the DOJ’s announcement even came from some school officials. One vocal advocate for affording full transparency to parents, Litchfield Elementary School District (LESD) Board Member Jeremy Hoenack, told AZ Free News that he was disappointed with the DOJ’s response.
“It’s highly disturbing that the President’s Administration seems to think that parents don’t count,” said Hoenack.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco defended the DOJ’s initiative before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. The committee hearing itself wasn’t focused on the DOJ announcement, but Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) insisted that Monaco answer for it.
Litchfield Elementary School District (LESD) Governing Board member Dr. Tara Armstead announced her resignation during Tuesday’s special meeting. Armstead’s total time at LESD lasted five months. The only Black board member alluded to her frustrations with resistance to the district’s equity work.
Armstead’s resignation wasn’t originally a part of the meeting agenda. The ex-board member noted that she’d submitted her resignation on Monday, officially. She said it was her intention when she became a board member this spring to take her advocacy to another level on behalf of students and their families. Instead, Armstead said she’d faced many hurdles: slander against her character and intentions, court battles, and a general lack of support from the very community that purportedly requested her help.
However, Armstead insisted she wasn’t leaving due to these outside pressures. Rather, Armstead said the district was a “sinking ship” she could no longer help.
“I am not leaving because people are running me away, because of people scaring me, because of people pushing me in a position of fear where I feel like I can’t go on any longer, or because I’ve been asked. I am leaving because, even when I’m trying to fight for what is righteous and what is uncomfortably true, I am being treated as though I’m trying to destroy the entity with the intention of serving students,” said Armstead. “I was never here to be served, and I wasn’t here to serve adults. I was here to serve children. So after five months of constant, continuous situations letting me know exactly what they really want to have happen here in this district and in this community, I can no longer be a part of this sinking ship.”
Armstead emphasized that she wouldn’t show any thanks, gratitude, or appreciation for the opportunity to serve on the board. She expressed hope that the district would hire more people of color; she clarified that these hires shouldn’t be for the color of their skin, but for their ability.
“[I] will not say thank you for the time that I’ve served here, or express any gratitude or appreciation, because for the five months that I have been here, I have been treated as though I am not an expert in the field, like I have no idea what I’m talking about, and it’s sad that even a person who is invested in the field of education cannot come and help to improve education,” said Armstead.
Board President Danielle Clymer thanked Armstead for her service as a member, and for getting LESD where they are today.
No other members issued responses to Armstead’s resignation during the meeting.
On Wednesday, Armstead appeared on a “Wednesday Chat” episode with Jeanne Casteen, a failed candidate for Maricopa County Superintendent. Armstead clarified that the final straw had to do with reception to her stance on COVID restrictions. She said she took issue with people challenging her as a professional.
Armstead added that she was tired of her attempts to help falling on deaf ears.
Tuesday’s meeting, starting from Armstrong’s resignation, can be viewed here.