UPDATE, September 24:
Due to a clerical error, LGBTQ activist Wendy Taylor’s candidacy for the Position #7 seat on the Huffman Independant School District Board of Trustees was never accepted.
Wendy Taylor has always known how to use her singing voice, but now the former American Idol contestant is trading in music for politics and running for the Position #7 seat on the Huffman Independent School District’s Board of Trustees.
“The biggest reason I decided to run in the first place was because I had several teachers in the area reach out to me for help with students that were on the LGBTQ spectrum,” the 37-year-old bisexual woman says.
On November 3, Taylor is running against incumbent Dean Tinnin, who has been on the Board since 2008. Huffman ISD has about 3,600 students on four campuses: Huffman Elementary School, Falcon Ridge Elementary School, Huffman Middle School, and Hargrave High School.
Taylor, who grew up in the Huffman area, received letters with personal stories from former LGBTQ students, and what she read made her realize she had to be a part of this election.
“I have pages and pages of letters from high school graduates who have since come out with horror stories about the way they were treated,” she says. “It is just heartbreaking to me, because my experience was obviously very different—otherwise I would not have brought my children back here to raise them in the same district.”
If Taylor wins, she plans to implement change that will help Huffman ISD become an open and welcoming place for all students.
“The school district does not know how to handle certain situations, or how to help certain students properly,” she says. “I have heard several stories about children who were kicked out of their extracurricular activities after they came out. I just want to make the school a safe place for all of our children. Representation matters, and until somebody besides an old white man is sitting [in that Board Position #7 seat], we are going to get more of the same.”
If she is elected, one of Taylor’s first plans will be to bring inclusivity training to the district.
“It feels like the school district desperately needs some inclusivity training,” she says. “Most of the instructors want to do the right thing, but they just do not know what the right thing is. I have a plan to bring in some inclusivity training for the entire district, including the students. It will not even cost very much, because a lot of the training organizations are nonprofit.”
A greater focus on inclusivity in Huffman ISD is something Taylor will continue to fight for, even if she does not win.
“Regardless, the conversation needs to be had,” she says. “It needs to be brought to the table. It is something that is desperately needed in the school system.”
Taylor, who is studying for a degree in animal science and has a background in music, has always had a strong activist streak. “I have been an activist since I was 13 years old,” she says. “I have been wading in those waters for a long time. I personally had to take on the school when I was in seventh grade, because I wanted to play football. I was the first girl in the region to play for the school. As you can imagine, that ruffled a lot of feathers.”
Currently, Taylor is focusing her attention on reaching out to voters online, primarily due to November’s election landscape being turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Normally, I would be in my neighborhood knocking on all of my neighbors’ doors and talking to them, but we cannot really do that right now,” she says. “It does not feel very personal anymore. However, one of the things I have available to me is phone banking. I can reach potential allies] through voter-registration databases, so we have an online presence. We are also sending out emails.”
Because of COVID-19, many parents are having to juggle helping their children with online classes while also working from home. Taylor, who has six children, empathizes with this. She encourages parents in Texas and across the country to just be patient during the new school year.
“Be patient with yourself,” she says. “Be patient with others. We are living in a time that nobody has ever lived through before. We are having to be extremely adaptable in order to be successful. We must be patient.”
If there is one thing Taylor wants her Huffman neighbors to take away from her campaign, it is to realize that at the end of the day, she is one of them, too.
“I grew up here,” she emphasizes. “This is my community. These are my kids. This is my children’s school. This is my town. It is something I care very deeply about.”
To learn more about Taylor’s campaign, visit her campaign Facebook page at facebook.com/Wendy-Taylor-For-Office-113959677071964.