Youngkin’s transgender policy endangers youth

New restrictive policy beginning in November 2022 threatens already at-risk trans community.

Featured Image: Mel Lhuillier|Marlin Chronicle

According to a new policy proposed by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, public schools in Virginia are now required to ask a parent or legal guardian for permission to refer to a student under the age of 18 by a different name or different pronouns. 

If the parent refuses, schools will be required to refer to the student by the name and pronouns the parents prefer.

Even if the family submits a signed form, teachers are in no way obligated to refer to students by their preferred name or pronouns, and can continue using the student’s birth name if they so desire. This is argued to defend the free speech of instructors.

Following the change in policy, students are now required to participate in activities according to their birth sex.

Changing a student’s name in the records is now substantially harder and requires a legal name change. 

Students are now no longer allowed to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender.

Parents are also allowed to deny their children counseling related to gender.

“The children don’t belong to the state. They belong to families,” Youngkin said, “and so as children are dealing with important topics, parents have to be the center.”

The previous policy allowed students to have the final say on their name and pronouns, including what name was used at graduation. Parents would also not be informed if the student did not wish for them to be.

Children don’t belong to their families. Parents should not have the right to determine what their children are called or if they receive counseling.

This proposed policy will result in more depressed students. It will result in more suicides. Transgender students, who are already one of the most at-risk demographics for depression, are going to be denied use of a chosen name and therapy.

Therapy, according to a study by John Hopkins University, reduces repeat suicide attempts by roughly 25% when provided after a first suicide attempt.

Intentional misgendering – referring to someone by incorrect pronouns – causes depression and stress, according to the American Psychological Association. In some cases, misgendering even leads to suicide, such as in the case of Kyler Prescott, a 15-year-old who commited suicide after intentional misgendering by medical professionals. 

Deadnaming- the intentional use of one’s former name following a transition- is also likely to occur following this change in policy. 

Intentional misgendering, denial of treatment, deadnaming: These are what happen to students whose parents do not support them.

When I got my diploma, it had my name on it. My name was the one called at graduation. Most everyone can say that. This bill makes that a lot harder for trans students. Trans students won’t have that.

In high school, I could use the bathroom that aligned with my gender, if I chose. Trans students won’t have that.

I could play sports, provided I met certain requirements. I could do activities with people of my gender. 

Trans students can’t do that.

This policy is a concerning step backwards when it comes to the rights of LGBT people, especially those under 18. It ignores human rights in favor of giving more say to parents and protecting the perceived right to misgender other people.

This is coming on the heels of bills in other states that restrict the rights of trans people, like the particularly infamous bill in Texas that asks people to report parents of trans kids to the Child Protection Agency, or the “Don’t Say Gay” Florida bill that criminalizes treating anyone under 18 for gender dysphoria.

These bills, no matter what is written, aren’t to protect kids. They’re to control them.

Of course, if a teacher wants to call a student their preferred name, they can’t. 

If one wants to change their name in the school system, they need a legal name change – with proof, and signed parent approval. That’s the name that goes on your diploma. 

Legal name changes are difficult to get, and in Virginia, come with a charge upwards of $40.

Students can and will be denied being called their name. Students are going to have the wrong name called at graduation. Students are not going to be allowed to play sports, to use the correct bathroom, to participate in gendered activities.

Students are going to be denied therapy.

This is the kind of policy you can put on a toe tag.

By: Victoria Haneline