Sep 28, 2022

Speak Out: Youngkin’s Model Policies Targeting Transgender Students

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LGBTQ Democrats of Virginia has watched in disgust at attempts by right-wing politicians to turn our public schools around the nation into hostile environments for queer students and staff seeking to ensure that they are provided inclusive and safe learning environments.

Now, Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin is bringing this extremist crusade to the Commonwealth of Virginia, attempting through administrative regulation to mirror such assaults as Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law which severely limits any discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity within public schools; restricts the ability of schools to create welcoming, inclusive, and safe learning environments for LGBTQ+ students; and creates barriers of access to mental health services by LGBTQ+ students.

Since Youngkin is unable to pass similar laws in Virginia thanks to the Democratic majority in the Virginia Senate, he is attempting to misuse a law passed by Democratic majorities in the House of Delegates and Virginia Senate and signed by Democratic Governor Ralph Northam that called on the Virginia Department of Virginia to “develop and make available to each school board model policies concerning the treatment of transgender students in public elementary and secondary schools that address common issues regarding transgender students in accordance with evidence-based best practices.” The intent of the law was to protect transgender students. Instead, Youngkin is subverting the law to target and stigmatize transgender students in Virginia’s public schools through a proposed model policy that does the opposite of the law’s purpose.

LGBTQ Democrats of Virginia joins with Equality Virginia in warning Virginians that Youngkin’s proposed model policy is:

  • Rooted in transphobia and seeks to further harm trans and nonbinary kids.
  • Seeks to erase trans and nonbinary youth from the classroom.
  • Creates a hostile & potentially dangerous school environment.
  • Requires teachers and school staff to forcibly “out” students to their parents against their will in some circumstances, such as when a student seeks counseling.
  • Prohibits teachers and school staff from supporting trans & nonbinary students, such as using a student’s affirming name & pronouns.
  • Creates bathroom and sports policies that prohibit access and/or participation in activities consistent with their gender identity.

Virginians seeking to ensure a welcoming, inclusive, and safe learning environment for all students can not remain silent in the face of Youngkin’s attempt to harm transgender students. Virginians have the opportunity to comment on this proposed model policy until October 26th. Equality Virginia has helpful resources to help you submit your comment in opposition, including how to submit a comment anonymously. You can also submit your comment directly.