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Meet the gay man who will be Tennessee's first out LGBTQ+ school board member

Zach Young Tennessee School Board LGBTQ+
Facebook @Zach Young for Metro School Board, District 3

Zach Young is running unopposed for his seat in the state's third district, solidifying his spot in history.

Democrat Zach Young is slated to become the first out LGBTQ+ school board member in Tennessee.

Young, 32, is running unopposed for his seat in the state's third district, solidifying his spot in history. The politician previously served as a Goodlettsville City Commissioner since 2012, and was a member of the Metro Council from 2019 to 2023. Young lost his seat to Jennifer Frensley Webb in the August general election after his district was rezoned to include more Republican voters.

Young recently told Axios that he was motivated to run for his local school board after being approached by outgoing member Emily Masters following the loss of his council seat. He was further inspired after attending a conference hosted by Victory Fund, a political action committee dedicated to electing out LGBTQ+ public officials.

"I was beginning to hear how school boards are becoming frontlines of the fight to maintain LGBTQ equality in our country," he said. "While I was there, I called [Masters] back and said, 'Maybe I'm growing a wild hair, but things are starting to feel right.'"

Tennessee currently has laws banning transgender athletes from school sports teams, requiring public school employees to out queer students to their guardians, and prohibiting students from using the bathrooms or changing facilities that reflect their gender. A law that would have prevented teachers from displaying rainbow Pride flags was considered in the most recent legislative session, but conservative lawmakers were not able to push it through.

Tennessee's Republican Attorneys General is one from 20 conservative states that have filed a lawsuit against the Biden Administration for expanding Title IX protections to apply to transgender students. The new rules would ensure that trans students could use their chosen pronouns and have access to their preferred restrooms and changing facilities.

Young added that he's proud to become part of the board at this moment in time, "especially in an environment like the one we're in in Tennessee."

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.