Heated Protests Take Place as Govenor Younkin Finalizes Bold New Policies for Trans Students, Prioritizing Parental Involvement and Emphasizing Sex Assigned at Birth Rather Than Student’s Choice

In a move that has drawn both praise and criticism, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s administration announced the finalization of new policies on the treatment of transgender students. Here’s the full story.

Facilities Should Be Based on the Sex Assigned at Birth

The guidelines, unveiled last year and subject to public comment, have now been approved, sparking debate and protests from various groups.

The finalized policies, according to Governor Youngkin, aim to strike a delicate balance between empowering parents and creating a safe learning environment for all students.

The Republican governor said, “This is about doing what’s best for the child. And oh, by the way, also recognizing that we need to ensure the privacy and dignity, and respect of all children and all parents in the school system. And that’s what I think we have… very carefully constructed here.”

The guidelines propose that students’ participation in school programming and access to facilities, such as bathrooms and locker rooms, should be based on the sex assigned at birth.

Students Can Use Pronouns Reflecting Their Gender Identity

However, modifications may be offered to the extent required under federal law.

This marks a departure from the 2021 guidance issued during the previous Democratic Governor Ralph Northam’s administration, which allowed students to use names and gender pronouns reflecting their gender identity without substantiating evidence.

Parents will now have the option to request access to sex-separated facilities for their children if state or federal law mandates schools to allow Trans students to share otherwise sex-segregated facilities with students of the opposite sex.

Students who are minors must be referred to by the names and pronouns in their official records unless a parent approves the use of something else.

Teachers Are Not Allowed To Conceal Student’s Gender From Their Parents

The guidelines prohibit school divisions from encouraging teachers to conceal information about a student’s gender from their parents.

However, it adds language reminding school divisions to comply with a state law governing communication about a perceived imminent risk of suicide by a student.

While conservative lawmakers and advocacy groups have praised Governor Youngkin for affirming parental rights, LGBTQ+ advocacy groups.

Democratic lawmakers have voiced concerns about the potential harm these policies may cause to transgender and nonbinary students.

Single Policies Put Vulnerable Youth at Risk

Narissa Rahaman, executive director of Equality Virginia, condemned the decision, arguing that the policies single out transgender and nonbinary youth in schools, potentially putting already vulnerable youth at greater risk.

Despite opposition, the governor believes that involving parents in important decisions regarding their children’s education and care is crucial.

Youngkin said, “I think that there should not be a decision made around a child’s education, their upbringing or their care that … doesn’t start with parents.”

Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Lisa Coons encourages all school divisions to review and implement the finalized policies in collaboration with their local school boards and community stakeholders.

“They Are the Same as Any Other Human and Deserve the Same Rights.”

Several social media users expressed their thoughts on the incident.

One Twitter user wrote, “Whether your child is LGBTQ or not you are likely to become a grandparent. They are the same as any other human and deserve the same rights.”

Another user wrote, “Now it’s possible Youngkin never receives such a bill because the Virginia legislature remains divided or Democrats control both chambers.”

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Source: AP News