From the Pride Liberation Project:
FAIRFAX, VA – On Tuesday, September 27th, over 12,000 students at 100 Virginia schools walked out to oppose Glenn Youngkin’s hateful LGBTQIA+ guidelines. Students walking out called for the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to revoke these draft guidelines and for school boards to protect all students by rejecting the VDOE’s draft guidelines.
Released on September 16th, the VDOE’s draft guidelines take away key protections for Virginia students and codify hate. Among other harmful mandates, they require school school districts to misgender students, ban transgender students from using the bathroom that align with their gender identity, and forcibly out students to unsupportive households. More information on these policies is available here.
“I can’t be engaged in class if I’m worried that my rights are being taken away,” said Kat, a student who walked out at Manor High School in Portsmouth. Kat went on to note that these guidelines would “endanger my community ” and “undermine the ability for every Virginia student to thrive.”
Another student at Hermitage High School in Henrico County, Len, noted the devastating impact of these polices: “As a transgender student, it seems like the Governor thinks that erasing my ability to be myself will make my community disappear. But it’ll only lead to harassment, abuse, and depression among trans students. I’m just trying to learn and graduate, not become a political pawn.”
Natasha, a student who walked out at Oakton High School in Fairfax County, highlighted the political motivations of these attacks: “Governor Youngkin says that he cares about parental rights and Virginia, but he’s just attacking Queer students. If he truly cared about our students, he wouldn’t be putting us at risk for depression, harm, abuse, and harassment. Students know we have the potential to build schools that let everyone succeed, but we can’t do that with these policies.”
Pictures from various demonstrations are available in the linked Google Folder: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1BmRwysZBR66yLTjv2aJOQjzTj1PVIY0W?usp=sharing. The Pride Liberation Project will continue to mobilize Virginia students in our civic system, as we work to defeat these policies and build inclusive schools for every student in the Commonwealth.
The Pride Liberation Project is a 500+ member student-run group of Queer and allied students in Virginia who advocate for the rights of LGBTQIA+ students. Representatives of the Pride Liberation Project have testified at School Board meetings and the General Assembly, and the organization continues to lobby local and state governments to promote the interests of LGBTQIA+ students.