RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia House Democratic Caucus today condemned Delegate Dave LaRock’s discriminatory remarks about transgender Virginians, as reported this weekend by the Winchester Star.
“As Democrats, we believe in opportunity for everyone, no matter who you are or where you’re from,” said House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano and Caucus Chair Charniele Herring. “We strongly condemn Delegate LaRock’s divisive and discriminatory remarks about transgender Virginians. Views like his are exactly why we must pass legislation that would bar discrimination against the LGBTQ community in the workplace and in housing. Unfortunately, Delegate LaRock’s Republican colleagues killed four bills last week that would have done exactly that. We will continue to fight for a fairer and more inclusive Virginia.”
“The people of Virginia need their legislators to focus on core quality of life issues like traffic, jobs, schools and health care, instead of singling out and stigmatizing the people they were elected to serve,” said Delegate Danica Roem, the first openly-transgender person to be elected to and serve in a state legislature. “I hope that in 2018 when our House of Delegates has a chance to make Virginia a more inclusive Commonwealth that we celebrate, respect and welcome our constituents who we work to serve without denigrating who they are or who they were born to be. I hope my presence here in the House of Delegates shows Virginians of all stripes that we can succeed because of who we are, not despite it, or for what discriminatory politicians tell us what we’re supposed to be.”
According to the Winchester Star, Delegate LaRock said that transgender people have mental disorders and should not be permitted to be teachers.
In a floor speech in which he criticized House Republicans for killing the anti-discrimination bills, Delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg, himself a public school teacher, said, “I find it shameful that in this great commonwealth, people in professions like teaching may have to hide their identity of fear of being fired. What does that say to our students, what does that say to our community, and most importantly, what does it say to that teacher? This is not a Virginia that I want to live in, that millennials want to live in, and that the majority of Virginians want to live in. Let’s do better.”
Delegate Delores McQuinn also delivered a powerful response to the GOP’s move to kill the anti-discrimination bills. Her remarks in the subcommittee hearing were captured by a reporter and posted to Twitter, while Delegate VanValkenburg’s floor speech has been viewed 10,000 times on Facebook.