Support from a former student
As a former VA public school student and a sibling of a transgender former student, I fully support the proposed policies. Growing up while trying to balance fitting in and being true to yourself is hard enough. These kids are so brave to be their authentic selves, at the risk of being bullied and the difficulties of navigating a system designed for two genders. Putting policies of protection in place can only help to ensure that our school systems are not the reason for more distress in the lives of these young people. For every transgender or non-conforming child, there are dozens of students who have the opportunity to see acceptance and allyship modeled by teachers and administrators, facilitated by these policies. As the parent of a child with Down syndrome, I know that society has come a long way from a policy of institutionalization to inclusion. We now know the immense benefits of integrating children with special needs into classrooms with their typically-developing peers, and they continue to break barriers every day. I can only hope that one day we will look back on policies such as those proposed here and recognize the positive effect they have had on students’ mental health and their ability to thrive.