A 17-year-old transgender student confronted Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin on the state’s transgender bathroom policy Thursday night during a CNN Town Hall.
Youngkin’s administration released guidelines in September that requires students use the bathrooms, locker rooms and other facilities based on their biological sex. The new guidelines were a reversal of previous Virginia policies, which allowed students to use bathrooms based on their preferred sex.
“Gov. Youngkin, your transgender model policies require that students play on the sports teams and use the restrooms that correspond with their sex assigned at birth,” the student asked during the town hall. “Look at me, I am a transgender man. Do you really think the girls in my high school would feel comfortable sharing a restroom with me?”
“I believe first, when parents are engaged with their children then you can make good decisions together,” Youngkin responded. “And I met your dad, and I’m glad you’re both here together, that’s really, really important. I also think that there are lots of students involved in this decision. And what’s most important is that we try very hard to accommodate students. That’s why I have said many, many times, we just need extra bathrooms in schools. We need gender neutral bathrooms, so people can use a bathroom that they in fact are comfortable with.”
Youngkin then addressed the issue of women’s sports. Trans swimmer Lia Thomas beat out female competitors by 1.75 seconds in NCAA championships in 2022, finishing a lap ahead of the rest of the competition at another race in February. Female athletes have criticized Thomas for what they say is an unfair advantage.
“I think sports are very clear, and I don’t think it’s controversial,” Youngkin said. “I don’t think that biological boys should be playing sports with biological girls. There’s been decades of efforts in order to gain opportunities for women in sports. And it’s just not fair. And I think that’s noncontroversial and something that I think is pretty well understood.”
The Virginia governor also said that schools hiding a child’s gender identity and social transition from parents can have disastrous consequences.
“And you know, there are parents who have unfortunately been on the other side of not being told what was going on in their child’s life, and I believe that Sage’s grandmother is here tonight,” Youngkin said, pointing to Michele, the adopted mother of a teenager who was sex-trafficked and raped after the school hid her desire to become a boy from her parents.
Michele offered testimony in a Virginia House committee hearing in January as the legislature considered a bill named after Sage.
Sage’s Law would prohibit teachers from keeping a child’s social transition from parents and clarifies the meaning of “child abuse” so it cannot be equated to misgendering.
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