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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
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Department of Education
Guidance Document Change: The Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools guidance document was developed in response to House Bill 145 and Senate Bill 161, enacted by the 2020 Virginia General Assembly, which directed the Virginia Department of Education to develop and make available to each school board model policies concerning the treatment of transgender students in public elementary and secondary schools. These guidelines address common issues regarding transgender students in accordance with evidence-based best practices and include information, guidance, procedures, and standards relating to: compliance with applicable nondiscrimination laws; maintenance of a safe and supportive learning environment free from discrimination and harassment for all students; prevention of and response to bullying and harassment; maintenance of student records; identification of students; protection of student privacy and the confidentiality of sensitive information; enforcement of sex-based dress codes; and student participation in sex-specific school activities, events, and use of school facilities.
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1/15/21  9:45 am
Commenter: Jeffry Lawrence Moe, Ph.D., L.P.C.

Support for Transgender and Gender Non-Binary Students
 

Hello, I hope you and your loved ones are well. My name is Dr. Jeff Moe and I am writing in support of the proposed inclusive policy related to transgender and gender non-binary students in Virginia. In my professional life I am a scholar on gender identity and sexual orientation identity issues in counseling and development, and I hope that you know the science deeply supports inclusive and affirming policies for transgender and gender non-binary students, adults, and families. School systems that are safer for transgender and gender non-binary children, adolescents, and youth are safer for all students regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. Recent studies indicate that the average life expectancy for transgender women of color is approximately 35 years old; this is a result of the life long marginalization, discrimination, oppression, and violence that this multiply marginalized community faces starting in childhood. Transgender and gender non-binary youth are more likely to be the victims of violence in their families, schools, and communities. They are also more likely o experience homelessness as a result of being rejected by their primary caregivers; the risk profile for transgender and gender non-binary youth to experience at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE) including bullying and violence in school is clear. Schools where the faculty, staff, and administration are affirming and inclusive towards transgender and gender non-binary youth not only experience overall reductions in bullying and truancy, but also experience enhanced academic success. There is no evidence that transgender inclusion has any negative impact on other students in a school; schools that can work through the potentially difficult conversation to create safe spaces for transgender and gender non-binary students are better academic institutions. The proposed policy is evidence-based, ethical, and in the spirit of our American values of diversity, inclusion, and affirmation of minority rights. 

Sincerely,

Jeff Moe, Ph.D., L.P.C.

CommentID: 90135