I have taught in Virginia public schools since 1992. In that time, I have seen educational trends come and go and reappear again. My constant in this maelstrom of programs has been my concern for students: their education and their welfare. We teachers are tasked with fostering critical thinking, lifelong learning skills, and responsible citizenship. To that end, respecting a student’s identity—-religious, cultural, and gender—-is a critical part of my job. School is the only safe place that some students have to express their thoughts, feelings, and concerns openly. To mandate that teachers ignore fundamental aspects of a student’s life and identity, and to risk opening that student to danger from adults at home, goes against everything that I feel applies to my job. Data from reliable and unbiased organizations show again and again that transgender and gender-nonconforming students are much more likely than other students to attempt or complete suicide. These students need more support and compassion, not less. Parents have rights, but a student’s safety and well-being are paramount, which is why our Commonwealth has safety nets in place to protect minors. Data from neonatologists show that it is surprisingly common for babies to be born with intersex features. If a parent chooses to have certain genitalia removed, then it stands to reason that at times the parent chose to remove the part that the child identifies with in mind and body. Transgender and gender-nonconfirming issues are neither political nor religious. They are simply one more aspect of being human. As society is educated about the spectrum of human existence, proposed legislation like this will become obsolete, and that energy will be replaced by support for what we teachers do best: educating all children to be well-rounded, competent, and independent citizens. Thank you for allowing me to express my disapproval of this proposed legislation and to stand up for the students of this great Commonwealth.