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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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1/18/21  10:17 am
Commenter: Anthony Hansen

Strongly Opposed
 

These proposed regulations are fundamentally flawed and should not be imposed upon Virginia schools. 

Actual gender, as gender has been defined for thousands of years, is a biological fact, established by a person's chromosomes at conception -- not at birth as is asserted in these draft regulations.  Although male and female genitalia are outward signs of ones' biological gender, rare cases of birth defects do occur where the genitalia are not formed normally which may indeed foster gender confusion.  Most gender confusion, however, is a psychological condition where a person feels or self-identifies as other than their biological gender.

Accordingly, any discussion of school policy concerning students suffering with gender confusion or ambiguity should be predicated upon truth, the primacy of parental responsibility for the health, welfare, and education of their children, and a profound respect by the state for their dignity as individuals.  This dignity must be in equal proportion, neither greater nor lesser, to the dignity of the majority of students who individually identify with their biological gender. 

The definition of the condition must first be predicated upon objective biological gender as established chromosomally.  Gender identity becomes a policy issue in cases where an individual's subjective perception of their gender assignment differs in some way from their biological gender.  

Second, the role of the state is to support parents as they guide their children through their development.  Any language that discourages educators from discussing the outward manifestation of a student's gender identity with their parents or presumes that gender confusion should be encouraged by educators against a parents' wishes should be stricken from the policy.  Similarly, any language that presumes that a parent supporting their child's gender identity with their biological gender is inherently abusive is fundamentally flawed and should be stricken.

Third, all students should be protected and treated with equal dignity.  Any policy that allows individuals who are not truly gender-confused to use gender identity as a ruse to gain access to the private facilities intended for their opposite sex (e.g. bathroom, showers, changing rooms, etc.) should be stricken and modified to protect the dignity of all students equally.

Finally, and most importantly, no state educational regulations should infringe upon the citizens' free exercise of their religious beliefs.  Where these beliefs intersect with gender identity, the regulations must respect the primacy of these religious beliefs and allow parents to educate their children consistent with these beliefs.

CommentID: 90581