Home LGBTQ Video: Equality VA Panel Rips Youngkin’s Proposed Anti-Trans “Model Policy” as Cynical,...

Video: Equality VA Panel Rips Youngkin’s Proposed Anti-Trans “Model Policy” as Cynical, Political, Illegal, Negligent, Malicious; Vows to Fight and Win

Participants included Del. Danica Roem, Del. Marcus Simon, Sen. Jennifer Boysko, Former Sec. Ed. Atif Qarni, Narissa Rahaman of Equality VA.

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See below for video and a few highlights from the excellent discussion of Youngkin’s “Model Policies for Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia” a bit earlier this evening. The participants were: former Narissa Rahaman from Equality Virginia; VA Secretary of Education Atif Qarni; State Senator Jennifer Boysko; Del. Danica Roem and Del. Marcus Simon.

  • Former Secretary Qarni noted that Youngkin’s proposed policies are not mandatory, that it’s still a local school board responsibility as to what they end up doing – “they can use the 2021 version, they can use the 2022…or they can do something else.” Qarni added that “the heart of the issue…I did a side-by-side analysis, is that the 2021 policies’ focus was really protecting students and their well being…in this instance the focus of Gov. Youngkin’s 2022 policies it’s really about…it’s really twisted…makes it really challenging for students to demonstrate that they might want to or if they’re planning to identify as transgender that makes it really really difficult; it uses a lot of troubling legal language of ‘persistence’ and so forth…”
  • Regarding Youngkin’s administration leaking this proposed policy on a Friday afternoon, Sen. Boysko said “whenever an administration wants to bury a story, they release it on Friday and hope that nobody notices; in my mind, this was done to be a political statement so that the governor, who we know is likely aspiring to be the president of the United States in the next election cycle is trying to out-right folks like DeSantis…it’s going to hurt kids…I feel very cynical about what he did and the way he did it.” Del. Simon cited Youngkin’s “absolute disregard for the plain language of the statute,” and that it’s all about “continuing to get a certain segment of their electoral base…keep them stoked up.” Del. Roem said her first reaction was “you’ve got to be kidding” and “really, are you serious?” She said she had “so many emotions that basically just all boiled down to one very large expletive – that all came down to the ‘law and order’ party is actively breaking the law, the ‘party of family values’ is about to hurt children and cause to either commit self harm or to encourage bullies to bully them…every single thing…is entirely designed to discriminate against these kids and to enable the people who pick on them…it’s just so far gone…We are not going to allow the governor of…Virginia to violate state and federal law at the expense of trans kids so he can become Donald Trump’s running mate in 2024, that’s not how this is going to work.”
  • Del. Roem noted that her predecessor, far-right/anti-LGBTQ Del. Bob Marshall (R), had a bill (HB1612 – the “Physical Privacy Act”) in 2017 that was rejected by Republicans, who at that time had a 66-34 majority in the Virginia House of Delegates, because it was considered “too extreme” and “so right wing,” even by Republicans. That bill, according to Del. Roem, included “a lot of what the governor is trying to do now.”
  • Del. Roem said that this proposed policy is “optional at best…whereas I would argue that it is a blatant violation of Article 8, Section 7 of the Constitution of Virginia” – because “the school boards have the authority, the governor does not…Republican established precedent flies directly in the face of what the governor is doing.”
  • Del. Roem said that this policy makes no sense, in that it contradicts federal law, and also contradicts the courts in the case of Gavin Grimm, who won.
  • Del. Roem noted that in Loudoun County, “the mother of the perpetrator who rightfully was convicted [of sexually assaulting two girls]…his mother said he is not transgender, he is not gender fluid, none of that…[and] it was NOT because of a policy that was meant to include trans kids being abused.”
  • So, bottom line according to Del. Roem: “We know, based on precedent, based on federal law, based on state law…that what the governor has put on the table is a political document.”
  • More from Del. Roem: “Then there is the argument from [Youngkin’s] administration they have been making, which is, it is clear that the opponents of this did not read the document, because clearly we respect the parents of trans kids…that a parent can give permission for their child to be treated well and still have their child deadnamed and misgendered in school because someone else feels like it. Up and down on this, this policy is so ill-drafted, ill-thought-out , and you have one of two choices how this was done…#1, this was either done with extreme negligence…[#2] if they’re not negligent intentionally, then they are malicious intentionally; I don’t know which you would prefer – the governor…acting in negligence or the governor…acting with malicious intent – neither is acceptable…neither is ok…The governor is breaking the law…If he gave a damn about parents’ voices, he would listen to those parents [of trans kids] and those children who have lived experience.”
  • Former Secretary Qarni said that Youngkin in 2021 ran a  “really hateful, bigoted campaign of CRT…attacking trans students…banning books, these are all connected. He is leading this new ‘Massive Resistance’. So [thousands] of students expressed themselves and exercised their First Amendment rights and the governor’s reaction on Fox News was that hey, he doesn’t care, not going to change anythingSo I think the next course of action…[is] a legal challenge.”
  • Will Youngkin’s administration listen to public comments on this proposed policy? Del. Roem said: a) “yes, you should share your story”; but b) “no, [Youngkin’s Department of Education] will not [listen to your comment/story]…this entire ‘town hall’ thing is a complete charade for them.” But, Del. Roem added, what matters is “our messaging on this, our counter – we have to have an alternative to what they’re doing…we have to have a message that goes against [what Youngkin’s trying to do]…The more of your stories that you share, the more you help us inform our arguments that we make…I need your lived experience…why this matters to you.”
  • The participants ended by stating that they are with trans kids, have their back, will fight for them, that this is a “moral imperative,” that most Virginians are on trans kids’ side and that Youngkin’s catering to just a “small group of very loud people who are trying to scare folks because they don’t like to see change.” Del. Roem said that “the ultimate sin here is that what the governor is actually doing…he’s making a case that trans kids aren’t to be trusted and that they are not who they, their parents and their doctors say they are.” Fortunately, she added, “governors come and go,” and this one will be gone in a few more years, but for now, we all need to fight…and “we will win – it might not be today, it might not be tomorrow, but we will win!”
  • Narissa Rahaman agreed that “we will win,” adding that “Equality Virginia will always have your back and we’ll always be there fighting alongside of you, and I know so many kids around the country saw what you did yesterday and they are having hope for what they can do in their states…We are the majority, we’ll always be the majority, and we get to decide and be the reason for our liberation, not any governor or any politician…You, the youth, will be the source of our liberation, our collective liberation. We’re all in this together.”
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