Today, October 26th, is National Transgender Children Day. A day specifically to recognize and honor transgender children who are unable to come out and live as their authentic selves.
Transgender children face unique struggles, as their rights and ability to find a support network can be very difficult if their family is not accepting. To commemorate this date, we are revisiting our blog from last October, highlighting What the Virginia Department of Education’s New Policies Mean for Trans Students.
In July, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) issued its final version of model policies for the treatment of transgender students. Like the draft released in September 2022, the final policies prioritize the rights of parents over the safety of students. The final version does include some stipulations to protect students, for example, school officials do not have to disclose information about a student to parents if that disclosure would put the child at risk. These small victories seen in the new policies are a reminder that making our voices heard works and we need to continue doing so to defend transgender students in Virginia.
Now that the model policies have been finalized, all school systems in Virginia are supposed to evaluate their policies and adjust them to ensure they follow the VDOE guidelines. With the final implementation left up to individual school boards, we’re going to see a patchwork of policies across the state. Already, many districts in Northern Virginia, like Fairfax, Prince William, and Arlington, have announced they will reject the guidance. It’s unclear how the VDOE intends to enforce these policies, but for now, school boards seem to have the final say.
While many students in Virginia attend schools that have not adopted the policies, Equality Virginia estimates that almost half of Virginia students live in a school district that has. In districts that have adopted these policies, transgender students may be left without support.
Parents living in these districts who want to support transgender children throughout their schools can be safe adults that children know they can come to without fear of being outed or discriminated against.
For all parents living in Virginia, it is important to stay up-to-date on your local policies and school board meetings.
Equality Virginia’s Safe School Campaign is a great opportunity for anyone ready to help protect transgender students in Virginia schools. By following this campaign, you can keep track of what has been adopted by your district’s school board and when it will hold upcoming meetings.
Across the country, transgender kids are facing continuous attacks, and even for those with solid support structures, it can be difficult to live freely with so many trying to keep them in the closet.
Making our voices heard doesn’t just influence policy, but it reminds transgender children that there are people across the country fighting for them. So, this National Transgender Children Day, make it known that you stand with transgender kids.
Please reach out to us if you need help connecting transgender children and their families with resources across the DC Metro.
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