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Youngkin makes additional appointments to Va. LGBTQ+ Advisory Board

Governor plans to revise transgender, nonbinary student guidelines

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Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Friday announced the appointment of three people to the Virginia LGBTQ+ Advisory Board.

Youngkin named Kerry Flynn, Jason Geske and Collin J. Hite to the board.

Casey Flores, the president of Log Cabin Republicans of Richmond, in July resigned from the board before his tenure was to begin. The resignation came amid growing criticism over a series of anti-LGBTQ and misogynist comments he made against Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), among others.

Youngkin last month announced he plans to revise the Virginia Department of Education’s guidelines for transgender and nonbinary students. Thousands of high school students across Virginia on Sept. 27 walked out of class in protest of the planned revision.

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Virginia

Equality Virginia to track implementation of trans, nonbinary student protections

State Department of Education issued guidelines in 2020

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(Bigstock photo)

Equality Virginia on Thursday announced it will track whether school boards have implemented the Virginia Department of Education’s guidelines for transgender and nonbinary students.

Equality Virginia Executive Director Narissa S. Rahaman in a press release notes “almost half of Virginia’s K-12 students attend schools in divisions that have fully adopted VDOE’s model policies for the treatment of transgender students” since their issuance in 2020. 

“These policies, developed in accordance with evidence-based best practices, give teachers and administrators critical tools to create safe, inclusive and learning environments for all students,” said Rahaman. “School boards in every corner of our commonwealth have a unique and urgent opportunity to protect transgender students by adopting the model policies.”

Equality Virginia in its press release further noted the School Board Policy and Meeting Tracker will “provide parents, advocates and students information on local school board meetings, potential agenda items and opportunity for public comment, and whether the school district has adopted” the guidelines.

Thursday’s announcement coincides with continued challenges to the guidelines and ongoing efforts to curtail the rights of trans and nonbinary students in Virginia.

Virginia lawmakers earlier this year tabled two bills that would have eliminated the requirement for school districts to implement the guidelines.

The Hanover County School Board last month approved a policy that requires trans students to request permission to use school bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. GLSEN earlier this month sharply criticized Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin after he called for schools to out trans and gender nonconforming students to their parents.

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Virginia

Youngkin appoints three new Va. LGBTQ+ Advisory Board members

Casey Flores resigned last month after offensive tweets surfaced

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Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Monday announced the appointment of three people to the Virginia LGBTQ+ Advisory Board.

Youngkin’s office in a press release noted Log Cabin Republicans of Hampton Roads President Phil Kazmierczak, Preston Main of Hanover County and Thomas N. Turner of Suffolk City have been named to the board.

Virginia Log Cabin Republicans President Casey Flores last month resigned from the board before his tenure began. The resignation came amid growing controversy over a series of anti-LGBTQ and misogynist comments he made against Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), among others.

“Casey Flores withdrew and resigned from the board as he is accepting a professional opportunity outside of the commonwealth,” Youngkin’s spokesperson told the Blade on Tuesday. 

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Va. advocacy groups urge state Supreme Court to uphold teacher firing

Peter Vlaming fired over refusal to use student’s correct pronouns

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Virginia Supreme Court (Photo by sainaniritu/Bigstock)

Equality Virginia and a number of other advocacy groups on Wednesday asked the Virginia Supreme Court to uphold the West Point School Board’s decision to fire a teacher who refused to refer to a student by pronouns that corresponded with their gender identity.

The West Point School Board in 2018 fired French teacher Peter Vlaming after he refused to use male pronouns when referring to a student who was transitioning from female to male.

The anti-LGBTQ Alliance Defending Freedom represents Vlaming.

The King William County Circuit Court dismissed Vlaming’s case. The Virginia Supreme Court in March agreed to consider it.

“Transgender and nonbinary students, when compared to their cisgender peers, face physical abuse, bullying, and extreme emotional harm at higher rates, which impact their well-being and education,” said Equality Virginia Executive Director Narissa S. Rahaman in a press release that announced the filing of the amicus brief to the Supreme Court. “The West Point School Board’s antidiscrimination and anti-harassment policies aim to counteract and prevent those harms. We know that transgender students thrive when they are supported by an inclusive school environment, which includes using their correct pronouns.”

Equality Loudoun, FCPS (Fairfax County Public Schools) Pride and GLSEN are among the other advocacy groups that signed the amicus brief. Fairfax County School Board member Karl Frisch, Arlington School Board Chair Barbara Kanninen, Arlington School Board member David Priddy, Falls Church City School Board Chair Laura Downs, Falls Church City School Board members David Ortiz and Lori Silverman and Stafford County School Board member Elizabeth Warner are also signatories.

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