Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Education
State Board of Education
Guidance Document Change: The Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools guidance document was developed in response to House Bill 145 and Senate Bill 161, enacted by the 2020 Virginia General Assembly, which directed the Virginia Department of Education to develop and make available to each school board model policies concerning the treatment of transgender students in public elementary and secondary schools. These guidelines address common issues regarding transgender students in accordance with evidence-based best practices and include information, guidance, procedures, and standards relating to: compliance with applicable nondiscrimination laws; maintenance of a safe and supportive learning environment free from discrimination and harassment for all students; prevention of and response to bullying and harassment; maintenance of student records; identification of students; protection of student privacy and the confidentiality of sensitive information; enforcement of sex-based dress codes; and student participation in sex-specific school activities, events, and use of school facilities.
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2/3/21  10:02 pm
Commenter: Jimmy Sanchez

Strongly Support

As this is a move towards providing more information to our schools & communities about the adversity trans youth faces, more inclusivity and understanding of trans people for our educators, and to give the general public a better grasp on gender identity and what it means to be trans, there are a lot of Virginians here that seem completely shut off to this, or just plainly, wanting to stay ignorant on these issues. 

As the document that is provided for this policy notes; ""Gender: A set of social, psychological, and emotional traits that classify an individual as typically masculine or feminine, although the social construct of gender may be more diverse across a continuum rather than as a binary system.""

This is not about our youth "converting" or being tricked into anything. Gender identity is a form of self discovery, and that doesn't come as easy to someone compared to a cis gender person (who make up the majority of our society). This is not "the leftists taking over the world order; 1984 ANTIFA super soldier deluxe combo recruitment agenda" or whatever nonsense you are hearing from Ben Shabino/Steven Coward/Tim Fool. This is about a fundamental human right for trans youth (who are already protected under Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment). ESPECIALLY those in the schooling system, where they are more likely to face bullying, being misgendered and general harassment. Being trans/gender fluid/gender-nonbinary is part of ones identity, just as race is also a social construct.

Also listed under the document; ""In 2020, the  American Psychological  Association (APA)  and  National Association of  School  Psychologists  (NASP)  declared in a  resolution that  “all  persons, including children and adolescents  who are  diverse  in their  sexuality  and  gender  identities, expression, and/or  presentation, have  the  inherent  human right  to equal  opportunity  and  a  physically  and psychologically  safe  environment  within all  institutions.”  The  American Academy  of  Pediatrics (2018)  also acknowledged that, “variations  in  gender  identity  and expression are  normal  aspects of  human diversity.”"

What we label as masculine & feminine are very much a social construct (women wear make up, men wear suits, etc.) Even within those two examples, I don't see a lot of people fussing over women wearing jeans or men having ear piercings. At least I haven't heard anyone saying so in recent years. All that being said, those two examples still fall under the binary understanding of gender. SEX AND GENDER ARE NOT THE SAME. There is a large amount of evidence that can make this argument better than I could under this comment section. The technical terms are even listed in the doc! There are tons and TONS of sources this single document has sited, I highly encourage everyone to read up.

I'm incredibly disappointed by seeing how many Virginians, and especially parents, who criticize this policy, without putting the time or effort to even understand the core of what this policy is about.

I've seen people using sex and gender interchangeably, quoting scripture/texts from the Bible, saying ""Boys allowed in girls locker rooms and bsthrooms (misspelled nice) Are you people insane? I can see the problems already! Use your heads! Vote NO!""

or another comment saying; "'It is against our religious beliefs and is not how God created us - male or female."" there is nothing welcoming or accepting with this rhetoric. 

The LGBTQ+ community (especially POC) are already historically marginalized in the US. The psychological repercussions that our youth will face after experiencing this marginalization takes a toll, usually towards substance abuse or suicide. The policy talks a lot about protecting trans youth and also making sure their privacy and safety is the priority.

As the doc states here; ""A  2019 national  survey  by  GLSEN  found that  84  percent  of  transgender  youth  feel unsafe  at  school, and those  who experience  victimization have  significantly  lower  GPAs, are more  likely  to miss  school  out  of  concern  for  their  safety, and  are  less  likely  to  plan on continuing  their  education (Kosciw, Clark, Truong,  &  Zongrone, 2020). Compared to their cisgender  and heterosexual  peers,  LGBTQ+  youth  report  much higher  rates  of  depression, anxiety,  alcohol  and drug use, and lower  self-esteem.  LGBTQ+  youth of  color  may  experience additional  stress  and adverse  effects  as  a  result  of  their  intersecting  identities, facing  both  bias against  their  gender  identity  or  expression as  well  as  racism. Research has  shown that  LGBTQ+ students  experience  higher  levels  of  victimization  because  of  their  gender  identity  and/or  gender expression and have  more  adverse  outcomes  compared to their  cisgender  and heterosexual  peers (Human Rights  Campaign Foundation, 2018): ""

On the positive side of this, seeing so many other Virginians support this is inspiring and incredible! To anyone else who is willing to learn more about gender identity, who doesn't understand the concepts but is good faith and wants to be more educated on this, I would highly encourage them to read this document and start the learning process. Talk to those around you, there is probably someone you know that is also hip to this information.

I identify as non-binary. I couldn't put into words how I felt about myself for so long, until I learned more about gender on my own, with the help of my friends and online resources. It helped give me perspective and a greater grasp to my own person.

To anyone who hasn't ever questioned their own gender, please show compassion and try to understand. Especially for the youth who are still figuring out right now. We want to give them all the resources they can access so they can get a better understanding of their own humanity. Trans rights are human rights!!

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