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Alexandria, Richmond will not follow Youngkin’s anti-trans student policies

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The City of Alexandria has notified the Virginia Department of Education that it will not follow proposed “model policies” that would roll back equal protections for trans students enacted under former Gov. Ralph Northam last year, and a Richmond TV station is reporting that Richmond Public Schools is about to follow suit.

“While the governor’s policies target, demean and diminish LGBTQ+ youth, particularly transgender and non-binary students, Alexandria City leaders and community members will support, uplift and provide a safe, nurturing environment for LGBTQ+ youth so that they can flourish,” reads a letter from the City of Alexandria, signed by Mayor Justin Wilson and members of the City Council, addressed to the Department of Education.

WRIC-TV in Richmond is reporting today that the Richmond School Board will meet later in the day on Monday to pass a resolution rejecting the anti-trans policies, which were proposed by the Department of Education at Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s direction.

The policies, made public last month, would define a transgender student as “a public-school student whose parent has requested in writing, due to their child’s persistent and sincere belief that his or her gender differs from his or her sex, that their child be identified while at school.”

The proposed policies state that the legal name and sex of a student can’t be changed “even upon written instruction of a parent or eligible student” without an official legal document or court order, that teachers and other school officials can only refer to a student by their pronouns associated with their sex at birth, and that staff don’t have to refer to a student’s preferred names regardless of paperwork if they feel doing so “would violate their constitutionally protected rights.”

Recent court decisions, including a 2020 United States Supreme Court ruling written by Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch, and another 2020 ruling from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in a Virginia case, have upheld protections for transgender people and trans students.

In the Virginia case, the appeals court ruled in favor of former Gloucester County high school student Gavin Grimm, deciding that restroom policies segregating transgender students from their peers are unconstitutional and violate Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in education.

The Supreme Court declined to take up the Grimm case on appeal.

Chris Graham

I write books, two on UVA basketball, one on pro wrestling, one on politics, which is getting to be like pro wrestling more and more each day. I've finished three marathons, but I'm over that. Oh, and I'm a progressive who voted for Biden, but I'm over that, too. (We need somebody else in 2024!) Want to reach me? Try [email protected]