Strongly Support This Proposal
Thank you for this proposal. As a school counselor, I have witnessed the difference in outcomes for transgender students when they are supported and affirmed at school compared to when they are not. Equitable access to education is a right for all students, and these proposed changes will help ensure that students feel supported at school and thus motivated to attend and engage in learning.
I particularly appreciate the proposal for school boards to develop a way for students' true gender (not necessarily the one assigned at birth) and chosen name to be displayed prominently in their records. When educators look up a student in the system, chosen name and true gender must be featured so as to avoid unintentionally misgendering and alienating the student. Educators who are resistant to calling students by their chosen name should be encouraged to view it similarly to students who use nicknames instead of their legal name: if nicknames are acceptable, then so are transgender students' chosen names. Refusal to comply with the student's request to be called by a name other than their legal name should be viewed as a malicious attempt to prohibit the student from obtaining an equitable education.
I also appreciated the ideas around how to compromise with parents who do not want their student's gender identity to be affirmed. The example given in which educators compromise with parents by using the student's legal name and pronouns in communication with parents and using the student's chosen name and pronouns in the classroom and school milieu may be one way to support students while also working respectfully with parents who are not initially accepting of their student's identity.
All in all, a lot needs to change on a policy level in order for Virginia schools to be equitable for all students. This proposal is one step in the right direction towards making that happen.