Fairfax Co. school board passes resolution in response to rollback of transgender rights

The Fairfax County school board has passed a resolution in an effort to show support for transgender students.

The board unanimously voted to declare October as LGBTQIA+ History Month in response to Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s decision to roll back the rights of transgender youth.

The state’s Department of Education introduced proposed guidelines that would impact transgender students last month.

“Making LGBTQIA+ history is exhausting. There will always be obstacles on the road to equality. Take the governor’s shameful and divisive model policy,” said member Karl Frisch.

The Governor’s latest proposed rollback of rights for transgender youth is known as the 2022 Model Policies on the Privacy, Dignity and Respect for All Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools.

It says classmates and teachers can’t be compelled to address students “in a manner that would violate their constitutionally-protected rights,” such as preferred pronouns. It also makes clear that parents “have the right to make decisions with respect to their children.”

Each school board member spoke passionately about their support for transgender students.

“How we continue to treat our LGBTQIA+ students, staff, friends and neighbors become sour history,” added member Laura Jane Cohen.

Board chair Rachna Sizemore Heizer called on students and the community to continue to hold elected officials to a high standard when it comes to protecting their rights.

“To all of our staff, our families, our students who are scared, we got you,” she added. “Let us know if we’re failing in that and we’ll fix it.”

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Youngkin said, “Children belong to families not bureaucrats and schoolboard members. Virginians spoke clearly last year and they continue to say that parents matter.

Parents deserve to be involved in all critical discussions about their children. Schoolboards should bring them into the conversation, not cut them out of it.”

School officials in Alexandria recently said they plan to “support, uplift and provide a safe, nurturing environment for LGBTQ+ youth so that they can flourish” in response to the policies.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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