Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin on Sunday defended the parents’ rights policy he instituted in his state.
Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Youngkin stood by the new regulations affecting transgender students, which emphasize parents’ rights in making decisions about their child’s gender identity. Youngkin stressed that parents have authority over their child’s upbringing and said the policy empowers them.
“[P]arents have a fundamental right to be engaged in their children’s lives,” Youngkin said. “And, oh, by the way, children have a right to have parents engaged in their life. And we needed to fix a wrong…children don’t belong to the state. They belong to families. And so, in these most important decisions, step one has to be to engage parents, not to the exclusion of a trusted teacher or an adviser, but to make sure that parents are involved in their children’s lives.”
The governor also said that his policy would make accommodations for students if the parents decided that identifying them by their trans identity is best for their child.
“What we’re not saying is that there is no accommodation,” Youngkin said. “What we’re saying is, parents have to be engaged in that decision. And if a child and their parent, along with administrators and teachers, choose to have accommodations for that child, they will be granted.”
“If parents actually want their child to be able to change a pronoun or their name or use a bathroom, if parents choose that, then, legally, that’s what the schools will do,” he added.
However, Youngkin stressed that the policy would keep biological males out of girls’ sports.
“I do believe that it’s unfair for girls to have biological boys play sports with biological girls. There are sports with segregated — with segregated sexes for those sports. And those — those sports should be honored that way… Again, there’s a commonsense approach here to this. And I do think we have to respect girls as well here.”
"This is not controversial."
Republican @GovernorVA Glenn Youngkin defends a new Virginia school policy requiring students to use bathrooms or join sports teams based on biological sex and not gender identity. @CNNSotu #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/TOYOd00bcp
— CNN (@CNN) October 9, 2022
Youngkin introduced the new policy in September after the Virginia Legislature passed a law in 2020 mandating public schools adopt policies consistent with a document created by former Democratic Governor Ralph Northam’s administration called Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools. Youngkin’s administration overhauled the policy guidelines in the document, putting far more emphasis on parents’ rights and involvement, especially as it relates to their child’s gender identity.