Lindsay Briggs on multiple controversies stemming from CUSD board meeting


Chico State associate professor, Lindsay Briggs, poses for a photo. Courtesy of Lindsay Briggs.

On April 5, Lindsay Briggs, a Chico State public health associate professor who has a Ph.D. in health behavior and sex research, spoke out in support of trans student privacy at a Chico Unified School District special board of education meeting:

“Everyone deserves the right to privacy, yes, even children, they are not an extension of their parents bodies. They are whole human beings all on their own. No one is telling your children to keep secrets from you. If your children are keeping a secret from you, there is definitely a reason. School should be a place of unconditional love, support and safety for all kids.”

Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s speech starts at time stamp 6:03:19, Nicole Nava’s speech starts at time stamp 6:55:57 and Lindsay Briggs speech starts at time stamp 7:00:13.

However, it wasn’t Briggs’ words that made the biggest impact, instead it was the shirt she was wearing. A long-sleeved gray shirt that said “Protect trans kids,” with a rose and knife between the lines of words.

Briggs’ Twitter post posted after the CUSD decided to protect student privacy in a three to two vote, and a Chico Enterprise-Record letter to the editor are also making an impact.

The CUSD board meeting was held in part to discuss whether or not to retain students’ right to change their names and gender identity without parental permission or notification under Board Policy 5145.3 and Administrative Legislation 5145.3.

This comes after Aurora Regino, the mother of a CUSD student, attempted to sue the school district after learning that she wasn’t notified when her child’s gender identity was changed.

Multiple students, CUSD grads, parents, teachers and community members, including Briggs, spoke out during the meeting. Some on the side of supporting the kids’ right to privacy, others on the side of the parents.

Briggs said it’s ridiculous that members of the US Congress are wearing AR-15 pins and yet, “The idea that I have been so offensive and I’ve been so tacky to wear a shirt with a knife on it, which is a very common shirt.”

Briggs also said someone else at the meeting was wearing the same shirt.

“When I was getting ready for the meeting, I was like ‘What am I gonna wear?’ because I have a lot of trans shirts. I have probably one of the largest political t-shirt collections in town, and so I was looking through all of them, and I was like, you know what I really want to wear is this one because I am serious, I will protect trans kids no matter what,” Briggs said.

It was this shirt and a meme — shown above — posted in response to the CUSD board’s decision to keep the student privacy policy in place that turned the most heads during the course of this controversial situation.

In a letter to the editor, Nicole Nava, another speaker at the meeting, called Briggs out on both of these factors. In response to the meme specifically, Nava said:

“Given the murder of three 9-year-olds and three staff by a transgender person and the controversial CUSD policy, Briggs’ post was threatening and could incite violence. CSUC [California State University, Chico] will likely do nothing.”

In response to this reaction Briggs wanted to remind everyone that the trans status of the shooter involved in the March Nashville shooting has not been confirmed and “The fact that people keep parroting that as truth is offensive.”

In response to the meme itself, Briggs said that it is a great representation of what queer people have been through, from being marginalized to fighting for civil rights and now fighting for trans inclusion.

“The meme is this much more audacious stand of like a ‘haha, we claim victory.’ We came out here and sat through this eight-hour board meeting with all of these beautiful queer people fighting and yelling and speaking passionately and being vulnerable,” Briggs said. “And at the end of the day we won.”

Briggs also said that she has posted this meme multiple times before for different reasons.

Nava also pointed out Briggs’ outright denial of Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s statement at the CUSD meeting: “No, it’s [sex] either XX or it’s XY. The proof is in the DNA.”

“Biological sex is just not that easy. Intersex people exist, so people who are not XX or XY, people who are born with XXY or XYXY,” Briggs told The Orion. “To say that people only exist in XX and XY is absolutely ignorant.”

This isn’t the first time Briggs has spoken out for or against certain topics. It’s also not the first time Nava has called out Briggs. 

Briggs said that Nava even printed masks with statements such as “DismissBriggs” when Nava tried to get Briggs fired.

An action that will not be happening. Briggs says that she knows her first amendment rights are protected under her Chico State contract.

Section 1.4.3 of Chico State’s 2022-23 Faculty and Personnel Policies and Procedures says:

“When they [college or university faculty members] speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations.” 

It goes on to state that faculty members should “At all times be accurate, exercise appropriate restraint, show respect for the opinions of others, and make every effort to indicate that they are not institutional spokespersons.”

The Orion reached out to Andrew Staples, Chico State’s public relations manager, for comment on the controversy. He said that Chico State had nothing to do with it.

Briggs says that she ensures her activist life does not cross into the classroom or affect her work life.

Briggs says that she’s generally targeted once or twice a year for something that she has said. During these times she generally receives a lot of supportive and negative feedback alike from the community.

She said that she’s made national news on many occasions, including on Breitbart.

She added that the phone in her office has even been permanently disconnected due to the constant influx of community calls.

“People act like I just became this phenomenon who is mean and swear-y and outrageous overnight. I’ve lived in this body for 40-plus years, and I have been degraded and I have been harassed and I have been called names,” Briggs said. “And so I didn’t just wake up one day deciding to be an asshole. One day was not what it took to push me over the edge.”

The first time she spoke out at Chico State was when a student journalist on The Orion, “Wrote a series of really inflammatory, Breitbart-esque sort of things that he called opinion but they were terrible and they were offensive,” Briggs said.

Through everything Briggs said she wants to protect trans kids no matter what.

“Of all the things that came out of this, the focus is on me, my shirt and a meme, like of all the things.”

Ariana Powell can be reached at [email protected].