GLSEN Denounces VA’s Reversal on School Protections for Trans Students

September 19, 2022

GLSEN Denounces Virginia’s Reversal on School Protections for Transgender Students

The Virginia Department of Education under the administration of Governor Glenn Youngkin has announced new school guidelines that will endanger transgender students by rolling back nondiscrimination protections the state previously offered. The new guidance would force schools to out transgender students to unsupportive guardians, compel educators to misgender students and deny students’ access to restrooms and facilities that match their gender identity.

GLSEN Chief of Staff and Deputy Executive Director for Public Policy and Research, Aaron Ridings (they/he) issued the following statement:

“Governor Youngkin’s actions are reprehensible. Politicians, school officials, or anybody else, for that matter, have no business policing young people's gender identity. Rolling back protections for trans students will have a devastating impact on young people – our research shows that when trans and nonbinary youth face hostile school climates their mental health and academic achievement suffer. Every young person in America, including transgender and LGBTQ+ youth, should feel safe, supported, and able to concentrate on their academics at their schools without worrying about whether they can use the bathroom or talk to a teacher for support. 

“It is heartbreaking to witness politically motivated attempts to compel teachers to violate students' privacy, disrespect their autonomy and put them in harm’s way. Sadly, we know this is part of a larger coordinated political effort by anti-LGBTQ+ extremists ahead of the midterm elections in November. We need our leaders in government and in schools to foster supportive environments, now more than ever, to prohibit victimization, bullying or harassment. Virginia is turning back the clock on progress, when we should instead be developing supportive educators, expanding inclusive curriculum, enforcing comprehensive nondiscrimination policies and supporting Gender and Sexuality Alliances. As our young queer and trans people struggle with the current wave of assaults on their education and mental health, we must rise up and demand bolder action for equity in our schools.”