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Tipsheet

Virginia School District Considers Policy Restricting Bathrooms, Locker Rooms for Transgender Students

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

A school district in Virginia is reviewing a policy that would require students who identify as transgender to obtain written permission to use school bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their “gender identity” rather than their biological sex. 

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The policy under review by the Hanover County School Board may ask the students to provide documentation that certifies their expressed “gender identity” and include signed statements from their parents and doctors (via The Hill):

Should the policy be adopted, students may also be asked to provide their disciplinary or criminal records in order to use the appropriate bathroom or changing room – a clause which those in favor of the measure said would help keep those facilities safe.

Proponents of similar measures in other states have suggested that more lenient policies could encourage cisgender male students to harm their female classmates in places like restrooms by pretending to identify as transgender.

The policy states that the School Board will get to approve or deny a transgender student’s request to use the restrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity. 

After compiling all relevant documentation, the principal of the school in which the student is enrolled will provide a written summary of the request. This summary, along with the supporting documentation, will be considered by the School Board, which retains the final authority to approve or decline the request. The School Board will consider and review the submission as soon as practically feasible and no later than at its next regularly-scheduled monthly business meeting, taking into consideration all of the relevant information. The School Board can request additional information if necessary and wait to resolve the request until it obtains all relevant information. The School Board will provide their decision in writing to the parent or legal guardian of the student seeking access.  

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If a student’s request is denied, they may re-submit if their circumstances “materially change.”

Townhall covered this month how a transgender 8-year-old and their parents sued the Tennessee Department of Education over a law that prohibits transgender students from using school bathrooms aligning with their gender identity rather than their biological sex.

Earlier this year, Matt reported how biological male transgender swimmer Will “Lia” Thomas competed on the women’s swim team at University of Pennsylvania after competing on the men’s team in previous seasons. In an interview with Daily Mail, one of Thomas’ female teammates said that Thomas used the women’s locker room and that it was "awkward."

“It’s [the locker room] definitely awkward because Lia still has male body parts and is still attracted to women,” the swimmer told Daily Mail. She added that the swimmers raised concerns over the situation to their coaches.

“Multiple swimmers have raised it, multiple different times,” she said. “But we were basically told that we could not ostracize Lia by not having her in the locker room and that there’s nothing we can do about it, that we basically have to roll over and accept it, or we cannot use our own locker room.”

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