The gender identity poster at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington hangs to the left of the door to the guidance office facing the hallway. Opponents of the poster asked that it be hung in a more discrete location within the office. Vanessa Paolella/Sun Journal

FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 directors voted 12-2 Tuesday to continue displaying a controversial gender identity poster in the hallway windows of the guidance offices of Mt. Blue middle and high schools.

Some directors and community members said they wished to see it moved to a more discrete location within the offices.

The gender identity poster hangs at Mt. Blue middle and high schools in Farmington. Vanessa Paolella/Sun Journal

Directors, students, school staff and community members who attended the meeting overwhelmingly spoke in support of the poster’s current location and in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students at the meeting.

Of the 16 people who spoke during public comment, only one person expressed a view opposing the poster.

Directors said they have received numerous other calls and emails from people on both sides of the issue.

The posters, created by the LGBTQ+ youth advocacy organization OUT Maine, and titled “Gender 101,” explain the concept of gender, assigned-at-birth biological sex, and offers definitions for “intersex,” “transgender,” “cisgender,” “gender non-conforming” and “gender fluid.”


Advocates argue the posters are informational, not judgmental and not ideological. It lists resources and information for students interested in the topic, without encouraging them to identify in any specific way, they said.

Hiding the poster within the office would send a message to LGBTQ students that they too should hide who they are, they added.

“Students tell me they knew Mt. Blue would accept them on the first day of school because of that poster,” said Anthony Feldpausch, the adviser for the high school’s gay, straight, transgender alliance club.

Logan Moore, Mt. Blue High School student and president of the gay, straight, transgender student alliance, speaks Tuesday in support of the Gender 101 poster at the Regional School Unit 9 directors meeting in Farmington. The club has discussed the poster controversy during their club meetings. Vanessa Paolella/Sun Journal

“It’s so important for everyone to have this information regardless of how they plan to use it,” said Julie Daly of Farmington, the parent of an RSU 9 student.

One parent from Temple spoke in opposition to the poster. She said that adolescence is confusing enough without pushing students to question their gender or sexuality.

“No drastic changes are wise or necessary,” she said in reference to students’ identities.


Student officers of the high school’s gay, straight, transgender alliance club also spoke in support, and high school guidance counselor Gerri Chesney wrote a lengthy statement read by board Chairwoman Carol Coles of Starks.

Directors Alexander Creznic of Farmington and Charles Hinds of New Vineyard voted in opposition to keeping the posters in their current location.

Creznic said parents with opposing religious beliefs told him their children feel unsafe expressing their views in school.

Director Alexander Creznic of Farmington, left, tells directors of Regional School Unit 9 on Tuesday that some parents with religious beliefs say their children do not feel safe expressing their views at school. Creznic has been vocal supporter for moving the gender identity posters in Mt. Blue schools in Farmington to a more discrete location. Vanessa Paolella/Sun Journal

“Are they acceptable to ignore?” he asked.

He said the board should not “marginalize the wishes of the few for the many.” He and other community members were not asking for the poster to be removed, he said, only moved within the guidance office, an action he described as a compromise.

Director Scott Erb of Farmington said it “boggles the mind” how any student could be made to feel unsafe at school because of a poster.


Vice Chairwoman Debbie Smith of Weld said she was on the fence about the poster until someone sent her an email pointing out that the poster only provides a list of definitions and does not explicitly condone any particular identity or lifestyle.

Other directors who spoke in support of keeping the poster in its current location include Wayne Kinney of Farmington and Joshua Robbins of Vienna.

Following community concern in August, Superintendent Christian Elkington reviewed the poster and ultimately recommended that it remain in its current location. Directors previously discussed the poster during their Sept. 13 meeting, but did not vote on the issue.

At the most recent meeting Sept. 27, Creznic requested that the board hold another discussion and a vote to decide the future of the poster.

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