I am in strong support of these efforts to provide protections for and guidance in supporting transgender/non-binary and gender non-conforming students. I myself was a student in the commonwealth and faced discrimination and bullying, not merely from my peers, but more pointedly, from teachers and staff. I was at times isolated and ostracized by the people charged with my education and well being. My humanity was, it seemed, conditional. All the great variance of expression and perspective that could have been gained, the great growth of empathy that could have transpired, an understanding that normal is very different throughout not only time and place, but also in experience and individual and culture, was extinguished; the very antithesis of learning. Conformity, not compassion, was taught. I did not feel safe at my school. I did not feel safe in my home. I did not feel safe in my community, as these lessons had also been taught to them. I hope for a Virginia that is safe for all children, and I hope for hope to live on in the hearts of every student in the commonwealth. Each and every young mind should be able to see for themselves a future filled with truth and kindness and possibility. It can be nearly impossible, and sometimes is, to take another step, another breath, when that door to tomorrow appears closed to you simply because of who you are. The wealth of every human life in its many faceted brilliance enriches us all. Let us protect these shining children as the precious beings that they are.