As reported by The Associated Press over the weekend, Virginia's conservative governor has responded to parental concerns about transgender students that were instituted under former Governor Ralph Northam, whose rules pushed parents out of the picture when it comes to transgender children. The Democratic governor's guidelines said schools should let students use names and gender pronouns that reflect their gender identity without "any substantiating evidence" … and that they could participate in programming and access facilities in a manner consistent with their gender identity.
Todd Gathje of The Family Foundation of Virginia tells AFN that Northam's policies for treatment of transgender students were not friendly to the family or to the majority of students.
"The Department of Education in 2021 issued policies that really advanced this radical gender ideology that undermined parental rights," he explains. "It allowed schools to withhold information from parents; and it placed students in very vulnerable situations where their bodily privacy and safety were being jeopardized."
Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin's new model policies – posted online Friday – ensure that parents make the decision as to whether their child is transgender. Gathje is on board with Youngkin's approach.
"They have completely rewritten that whole section of the old policies to make sure that when we're looking at the term 'sex' that we know that they are referring to biological sex," he explains. "They also have elements in there that protect female sports to make sure that you cannot have biological males playing on female sports teams."
In addition, the new policies say that students who are minors must be referred to by the name and pronouns in their official records, unless a parent approves the use of something else – and their locker rooms and showers would be one gender only.
The new standards are open to public comment, usually 30 days, before they are handed to school boards for consideration.