Virginia schools are required to use students’ preferred pronouns and allow students to use the bathroom of their choice without any resistance.
The state’s Department of Education was required to create model policies for school boards when it comes to the treatment of transgender students.
The document defines various terms:
“Sex assignment: A label, generally ‘male’ or ‘female,’ that is typically assigned at birth on the basis of a cluster of physical and anatomical features. Intersex refers to someone whose combination of chromosomes, gonads, hormones, internal sex organs and genitals differs from the two expected patterns of male or female.”
“Gender: A set of social, psychological and emotional traits that classify an individual as typically masculine or feminine, although the social construct of gender may be more diverse across a continuum rather than as a binary system.”
“Gender expression: The manner in which a person represents or expresses their gender identity or role to others, often through appearance, clothing, hairstyles, behavior, activities, voice or mannerisms. Gender expression may change over time and from day-to-day and is not necessarily related to the person’s gender identity.”
The document also states that under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), information relating to gender identity or sexual orientation may constitute personally identifiable information, which is prohibited for improper disclosure.
The state also has banned reparative therapy in which children can speak with medical professionals about struggling with sexual orientation or gender identity — unless the medical professional affirms the confusion.
“For many people, their gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth,” the document states. “For others, their internalized gender identity does not necessarily correspond to the sex assigned at birth, where the gender identity may be one in a range such as transgender, nonbinary or gender-expansive.”
It quotes a resolution from the American Pscyhological Association and National Association of School Psychologists that states all persons, including children who are diverse in their sexuality and gender identities, expression and/or presentation, have the inherent human right to equal opportunity and a physically and psychologically safe environment within all institutions.”
The document outlines what the options are when a parent or guardian doesn’t agree with the student’s request to adopt a new name and pronouns.
“School divisions will need to determine whether to respect the student’s request, abide by the parent’s wishes to continue using the student’s legal name and sex assigned at birth, or develop an alternative that respects both the student and the parents.”
The document then proposes a deceptive idea.
“For example, a plan may include addressing the student at school with their asserted name and pronoun while using the legal name and pronoun associated with the sex assigned at birth when communicating with parents or guardians.”
Schools are encouraged to reduce or eliminate “gender-based practices.” Among those described are gender-based homecoming or prom courts, limitations on who can attend as couples at school dances and gender-based events such as father-daughter dances.
Schools are told students should be allowed to participate in PE classes in a manner consistent with their gender identity. Same with dances, assemblies, after-school programs, extracurricular activities, intramurals, non-competitive sports leagues and field trips.