Youngkin’s Dangerous Decision


Steve Helber/AP Photo

Kaleigha Arrington, Staff Writer

On Sept. 16, Governor Youngkin introduced a new guideline for the Virginia school system called the “Model Policies”. This policy will limit the way students get to express their gender identity and is a blatant attack against LGBTQIA+ youth.

It should not be tolerated in any sense.

Students who go by a different name or set of pronouns will have privacy stripped from them, be outed to their parents against their will, and be in danger of discrimination. While there is no doubt parents should have some involvement in their children’s education, this should be counted as an invasion of privacy.

Fewer than 1 in 3 find transgender and nonbinary youth have gender-affirming homes and over 40% of LGBTQIA+ youth have contemplated suicide in the last year. This new policy threatens to raise that number and make it so students have an unsafe and unaccepting environment in and out of school.

People are mad. And rightfully so.

Governor Youngkin is taking away individual rights and is claiming it is out of “respect” for parents without any thought of the repercussions this will have. The Trevor Projects has researched and found that LGBTQ+ youth have a considerably higher chance of being homeless than their straight counterparts, and this is largely due to families not being accepting of their child’s identity.

This extremely insensitive policy has already started to affect the way students think about the way they present themselves at school and around their parents. This new rule only grows the gap between students and teachers, which could have great consequences.

Another study by the Trevor Project, states that having a supportive and understanding adult in an LGBTQ+ youth’s life lowers suicide risk by 40%. If the teacher’s students thought they could trust are outing them to their parents, and their parents are unaccepting and refuse to understand or accept them, who do they have?

Youngkins’ policy leaves this already disadvantaged group of people more vulnerable. He preaches about how involving the parents will give them more rights but never thinks about the people he’s hurting in the process. Some so many students could be hurt by this new policy.

One of a school’s main priorities is to keep its students safe and to make them feel protected while they are in the building. Youngkins’ new policy goes directly against that priority.

So, who is he protecting?