‘Keep Your Politics Off My Identity’: Here’s What We Saw At Virginia Student Walkouts Over Youngkin’s Trans Policy

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Republican Glenn Youngkin holds election night event in race for Virginia governor

 

‘Keep Your Politics Off My Identity’: Here’s What We Saw At Virginia Student Walkouts Over Youngkin’s Trans Policy

Reagan Reese on September 28, 2022

  • Students around the state of Virginia walked out during the school day to protest Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposed transgender policies which would require educators to alert parents if their student requests a name change at school. 
  • Students at the walkouts held up signs that said “don’t erase trans voices,” “trans rights are human rights” and “get your politics off my identity.”
  • “While students exercise their free speech today, we’d note that these policies state that students should be treated with compassion and schools should be free from bullying and harassment, ” Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Hundreds of Virginia students marched out of the classroom Tuesday in protest of Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposed transgender policy, which the students said strips them of their rights.

The Pride Liberation Project, an LGBTQ group for Virginia students, coordinated student walkouts across the state in protest of Youngkin’s proposed transgender policy which requires parents to be notified if their child requests to change their name or pronouns at school, according to a Blue Virginia press release. The students protesting argued that they believe their rights are being taken away at home and in school because the policy “outs them” to their parents, the DCNF observed.

Nearly 200 students walked out to protest the proposed policy at Thomas Edison High School in Alexandria, Virginia, and about 50 at Annandale High School in Annandale, Virginia, the DCNF observed. Several students joined Annandale’s walkout once the protest had begun.

Students at both schools held up signs that said “don’t erase trans voices,” “trans rights are human rights” and “get your politics off my identity,” the DCNF observed. Students gave testimonies about their “coming out” experience with their family.

“I’ve known I have been trans since the seventh grade,” an Annandale High School student said at the protest. “My parents know. But they are not supportive. They don’t call me by my name. They don’t use proper pronouns and I understand that it is a generational difference but it is still not OK. None of this is OK.”

Another student who spoke questioned why America is referred to as the “land of the free” when policies such as Youngkin’s are being proposed because it “isn’t fair,” the DCNF observed.

“With these new policies they want to erase our voices,” an Annandale student said at the walkout. “They want us to be scared to come out. They want the statistics to seem like we do not exist. We do exist and there are more of us each day. We are human. We are people. And we deserve to be heard.”

Youngkin’s proposed policies would also require educators to call students by the name on their official record and use pronouns that correspond with the sex on their official records, which can only be changed with parental consent. Students would be required to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their biological sex rather than their gender identity.

“We should have the right to choose what name to use, what pronouns to use and what we want to be called,” the DCNF heard an Annandale High School student announce at the walkout.

The Youngkin administration stressed to the DCNF that the policy aims to include families in their children’s lives at school.

“The guidelines make it clear that when parents are part of the process, schools will accommodate the requests of children and their families. Parents should be a part of their children’s lives, and it’s apparent through the public protests and on-camera interviews that those objecting to the guidance already have their parents as part of that conversation,” Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter told the DCNF. “While students exercise their free speech today, we’d note that these policies state that students should be treated with compassion and schools should be free from bullying and harassment. ”

In June 2021, pushback occurred over several school districts’ decisions to adopt previous Virginia Department of Education transgender policies; almost 500 parents and students spoke out at an Augusta County School Board meeting, which voted not to adopt the policy, according to WVIR News.

Parents protested at the Campbell County School Board in June 2021 asking the school to not adopt an “open door policy” in bathrooms and locker rooms, according to WSET News. At the same time, Franklin County School Board voted not to adopt policies that would do the same after pushback from parents, WSLS News reported.

Students chanted “trans rights are human rights” and “say no to the VDOE” directly calling out Youngkin and the Virginia Department of Education at the walkouts, the DCNF observed.

Edison High School and Annandale High School did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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