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Va. Department of Education holds hearing on proposed revision of trans, nonbinary student protections

Equality Virginia strongly opposes Republican governor’s proposal

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Members of the Pride Liberation Project hold signs supporting LGBTQ youth at a Fairfax County School Board meeting. The Virginia Department of Education on Oct. 20, 2022, heard testimony for and against Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin's proposed revisions to guidelines for transgender and nonbinary students. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Virginia Department of Education on Thursday heard testimony on Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposed revisions to guidelines for transgender and nonbinary students.

The majority of speakers who spoke at the meeting expressed their opposition to the proposed revisions. They included students and parents who are worried about their trans and nonbinary children. 

 “If you enact these policies, children will die,” said trans student Guin Hartinger. 

Nancy Kunkel said she lives in constant fear of losing her trans daughter to suicide. 

The policies that are being proposed would force students to use bathrooms that correspond with their biological sex, rather than their gender identity. Trans students and their allies across Virginia have protested Youngkin’s proposed revisions to the guidelines that his predecessor, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, signed into law in 2020.

Equality Virginia and their supporters attended Thursday’s meeting and have expressed their opposition to the proposed policy revisions online.

The public comment period ends on Oct. 26.

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Virginia

Va. House passes two anti-transgender bills

Measures likely to die in Democratic-controlled state Senate

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates on Tuesday approved two anti-transgender bills.

State Del. Karen Greenhalgh (R-Virginia Beach)’s House Bill 1387, which would ban trans athletes from school sports teams that correspond with their gender identity, passed by a 51-47 vote margin. State Del. Dave LaRock (R-Loudoun County)’s House Bill 2432, which would require school personnel to out trans students to their parents, passed by a 50-48 vote margin.

“We are dealing with forcibly outing kids regardless of the safety of their home,” said state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) on Monday when she spoke against HB 2432. “You have no idea of the harm you’re causing. Do better for them.”

Roem, who is the first openly trans woman seated in a state legislature in the U.S., also spoke against HB 1387 on the House floor.

Equality Virginia and the Human Rights Campaign are among the groups that condemned the bills’ passage.

“It can be hard for people to understand what it means to be a transgender or nonbinary young person if they’ve never met one. But trans and nonbinary young people are our friends, family members and neighbors, and like all young people, they deserve safe and inclusive learning environments where they can thrive and be supported as they are,” said Kasey Suffredini, vice president of advocacy and government affairs at the Trevor Project, in a statement. “These bills would only contribute to further isolation and stigma at a time when trans young people are already struggling.”

The two bills will now go before the Democratic-controlled Virginia Senate.

The Senate Education Committee last week killed six measures that would have banned transition-related health care for minors in Virginia and prevented trans athletes from school teams that correspond with their gender. It is likely HB 1387 and HB 2432 will meet a similar fate.

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Virginia

Va. Senate approves marriage amendment repeal resolution

Adam Ebbin’s proposal passed with bipartisan support

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Virginia Senate on Monday approved a resolution that seeks to repeal a state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

The resolution that state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) introduced passed by a 25-14 vote margin. The openly gay Alexandria Democrat in a tweet noted Republicans supported it.

“My proposed constitutional amendment to repeal the defunct same-sex marriage ban has passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote of 25-14,” said Ebbin. “It is time our constitution reflects the law of the land and the values of our society.”

Virginia voters approved the Marshall-Newman Amendment in 2006.

Same-sex couples have been able to legally marry in Virginia since 2014.

The General Assembly in 2021 approved a resolution that seeks to repeal the Marshall-Newman Amendment. It must pass in two successive legislatures before it can go to the ballot.

The state Senate last month approved Ebbin’s Senate Bill 1096 that would affirm marriage equality in Virginia law.

Democrats currently control the chamber by a 22-18 margin. Republicans have a 51-47 majority in the Virginia House of Delegates.

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Virginia

Va. House committee advances two anti-transgender bills

Democrats in state Senate will likely kill measures

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Virginia House Education Committee on Friday approved two anti-transgender bills.

Committee members advanced state Del. Karen Greenhalgh (R-Virginia Beach)’s House Bill 1387, which would ban transgender athletes from school sports teams that correspond with their gender identity, and state Del. Dave LaRock (R-Loudoun County)’s House Bill 2432, which would require school personnel to out trans students to their parents.

A House subcommittee earlier this week approved the two bills.

Republicans control the House of Delegates by a 51-47 margin. Democrats have a 22-18 majority in the Virginia Senate.

The Senate Education Committee on Thursday killed six anti-trans bills. It is likely HB 1387 and HB 2432 will meet the same fate once they reach the state Senate.

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