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Eva Guasconi – Hunterdon County High School Board Meeting 2022

Hunterdon Central Regional High School held a Board meeting on Feb. 28, 2022. On the agenda was a discussion about the district’s LGBTQ+ curriculum, which is currently opposed by a religious group. New Hope Celebrates’ Board Member, Eva Guasconi, spoke in support of the LGBTQ+ curriculum.

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“Good evening, my name is Eva Guasconi. I live right next door in Annandale. 

I currently serve on the Board of Directors for New Hope Celebrates. NHC is a nonprofit LGBTQ+ organization. Our mission is to promote our communities as culturally diverse destinations – not just for the LGBTQ+ community, but for all who believe in inequality. 

My role on the board is as co-chair of the NHC (IDEAA) inclusion, diversity, equality, accessibility, and anti-racism. It is my goal to be an advocate for anyone who feels unseen or unheard of based on race, identity, background, age, or beliefs. 

Without taking up too much time, I’d like to start at the very beginning. I’ve heard it’s a very good place to start. I grew up in a very faith-based family. My parents both taught CCD for grades K-12. My house was the house where kids would spend hours after school learning about God and eating rice crispy treats. 

Family summers were spent in Italy at a countryside convent where my great uncle was the priest. We stayed in the residences and were cared for by the nuns. You can imagine what this experience must have been like for a young child obsessed with the movie “The Sound of Music”. 

My sisters and I would play in the gardens and run through long hallways. In the evenings we would go to Mass, and guess what….the nuns would sing! Angelic, harmonious, amazing music. Although I may have only been 4,5,6 years old, I knew I was experiencing God. 

I wanted to share these experiences to show where I come from. You see, I had all of these experiences when I was still a boy. My parents raised me with Love, Acceptance, Kindness, and God. 

I always knew I was a girl. I have dressed and lived as a female from the time I was about 12 years old. 

Throughout my high school years I can’t say there was much in the way of resources or LGBTQ+ education. I wish there was. My parents turned to LGBTQ+ related books, and encouraged me to read them. I also had musical theater to help me find my identity. However, not everyone is as lucky. Believe it or not, musical theater is not everyone’s cup of tea.

We need to provide the tools to help young individuals safely and openly identify themselves. 

I would go on to transition right out of high school. My parents gave their unconditional support. At 22 I had full gender reassignment surgery at Lower Bucks Hospital with my family by my side. The recovery was long, intense, and very painful. I would turn to God and music yet again. 

Now here I am, the first transgender woman to be elected to the Board of Directors for New Hope Celebrates. 

I am here today to speak for our youth who have the right to see their culture in literature. Our youth who deserve to discover alongside peers and educators. Especially if they are unable to do so in a home setting. 

We have all learned about oppression, bigotry and hate. We know how important it is to learn about the Holocaust, Black oppression, religious differences, and even if this is not our ancestry, not our story, not our experience not our journey, we must be willing to learn about all of humanity. 

To be a Christian is to love all your brothers and sisters. Remember that knowledge is power. Do not let fear take away the power of knowledge for others. 

Let’s encourage our youth to make their own decisions while leading with kindness. 

Together we can make sure that everyone has the chance to hear their own “Sound of Music”.

 

Thank you.” – Eva Guasconi

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