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Take Action to Support Transgender Youth in Virginia

Together, Virginians across the state are working to rescind the VDOE’s anti-trans proposed model policy for the treatment of transgender students in K-12 schools. The proposed model VDOE policies feed into the violence we are seeing by targeting trans youth: erasing their stories from classrooms; blocking them from playing sports; and forcing educators to deadname, misgender, and out them to their parents.

We want to be clear about one thing – nothing will immediately change for transgender and non-binary students in Virginia K-12 schools, especially those who go to schools in districts that have adopted the 2021 trans-affirming policy. If the VDOE moves forward with their policy, school boards will have to consider and vote on them. Through this campaign, we’ll push as many school boards as possible to do the right thing and support transgender and non-binary students.

Background on the VDOE Policy

Use the Map to Send a Message to Your School Board

Click on your county, and you’ll be directed to a page where you can send a message directly to your School Board members urging them to oppose the anti-transgender policy. We’re still developing this tool – if you don’t see your county, click here for guidance on how to contact your school board urging them to reject these proposed guidelines.


Key Messages to Support Trans & Non-Binary Youth in Virginia

Background on Governor Youngkin’s Anti-Transgender Draft 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. They create 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 where 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.

Things Everyone Should Remember About Transgender Youth:

▶️  Transgender and non-binary students in Virginia deserve a safe school environment to learn, grow and thrive.

▶️  Governor Youngkin’s proposed guidelines target and stigmatize transgender and non-binary students and threaten their safety and wellbeing — both in school and at home. 

▶️  All students deserve the freedom to fully express their authentic selves free from harassment. Yet, Governor Youngkin’s new proposed guidelines target and stigmatize transgender and non-binary students, threatening their safety and well-being.

Why Schools Must Protect Transgender Youth:

▶️ Our job should be to protect every student, including transgender and non-binary kids, from discrimination and harm.

▶️ School policy should focus on education, not discrimination.

▶️ School policies should focus on addressing the learning gaps and mental health challenges that arose during the pandemic. Instead, Governor Younkgin is sacrificing the well-being of transgender and non-binary kids to score political points.

▶️ Every parent hopes our laws will ensure our children’s safety, protection, and freedom. But the Virginia Department of Education is rejecting those values and placing students at risk for bullying and mistreatment..

▶️ School divisions can and should choose to implement the 2021 evidenced-based guidelines and reject the dangerous new policies. The 2021 model policies were developed and informed by community partners serving transgender and non-binary youth, the Virginia Department of Education, and over 9,000 public comments were widely praised by advocates who serve and work on behalf of transgender and non-binary students.

How Anti-Transgender Policies Impact the Health & Well-Being of Trans Youth

▶️  Telling our transgender and non-binary students that they will either be outed, or forced back into the closet will lead to a life-time of mental health trauma. This policy restricts support and resources for vulnerable students. 

▶️  Schools with student groups affirming all genders and sexual orientations have been shown to have less truancy and better health outcomes for all students. Students who engage more in these groups felt more validated at school, an increased sense of safety, and were more hopeful. Virginia schools should seek to grow and support these groups to improve student outcomes.

How Anti-Transgender Policies Impact Virginia Families

▶️  We all want transgender and non-binary youth to have families that love and support them, but  unfortunately that is not always the case. Some transgender and non-binary youth will face rejection, abuse or worse if they are forcibly outed to unsupportive families. 

▶️  Governor Youngkin’s proposed guidelines require parents of transgender or non-binary students to document in writing that their child’s gender differs from their sex assigned at birth, a requirement that threatens the health and safety of some students and can create harmful circumstances for trangender and non-binary students whose parents are not supportive.

▶️  Schools are sometimes the only safe place for transgender and non-binary youth, but this proposed model policy could force teachers and counselors to disclose confidential records with no regard for whether it puts a student in harm’s way. According to The Trevor Project, 60% of queer youth live in home that is not affirming.