Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin took part in a CNN town hall focusing on public education Thursday during which he was questioned about his stance on transgender issues, including parental rights, bathrooms and sports.
Youngkin expressed his belief that males do not belong in female sports categories; that children belong to their parents, not the state, and that schools should focus on creating gender-neutral bathrooms and changing rooms so every student can be comfortable.
In September, Youngkin moved to reverse Virginia's school policies on gender that had been put in place under the previous Democratic administration. Under the new guidelines, schools are required to get parental consent before allowing a child to change their name or pronouns, and school bathrooms, changing rooms, and sports categories must be segregated by sex, not gender identity.
During the town hall, Nico, a young trans-identified female who presents as male and passes well, attempted a gotcha moment asking Youngkin if he really thought high school girls would feel comfortable sharing a restroom with Nico.
Tim Pool was quick to point out that this gotcha was more of a “self own,” because it suggests that girls would be more comfortable with an actual male.
Youngkin, keeping his tone light and pleasant, replied that such policies attempt to accommodate all students, but stressed that he didn’t “think that biological boys should be playing sports with biological girls.”
At this point, Nico’s father could be seen shaking his head in disapproval.
Youngkin added that the simple solution to the bathroom issue was for schools to create extra gender neutral bathrooms, “so people can use a bathroom that they in fact are comfortable with.”
On the issue of parental rights, Youngkin was clear: parents matter. He used the example of Sage, a Virginia girl who was secretly allowed to socially transition at her school, an intervention that triggered a series of events leading to her becoming a victim of sex trafficking. Last month, the state of Virginia passed Sage’s Law, preventing teachers from withholding information about a child’s gender transition from parents.
Sage’s grandmother was in the audience of the town hall, and Youngkin spoke about how the decision of Sage’s counsellors and teachers not to inform her family of what she was going through led to “some horrific human trafficking issues.”
“See, there’s a basic rule here, which is that children belong to parents, not to the state, not to schools, not to bureaucrats, but to parents,” said Youngkin.
The host then asked Youngkin what he thought should be done in the case of parents who are unsupportive of “LGBTQ students, especially when it comes to transgender students.”
In his response, Youngkin remained firm that parents have the right to be engaged in their child’s lives, and said that this type of difficult situation is “a moment for counsellors and teachers and parents to come together.”
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