On Thursday, the Virginia Senate Education Committee voted to end consideration of six proposed bills that would infringe on the rights of trans minors in the state.
The six proposals from four Republican lawmakers covered two issues: banning gender-affirming health care for minors in Virginia and keeping transgender student-athletes off school sports teams that correspond with their gender.
It was an indication of how all-consuming the issue of transgender rights is to the far-right Republican party in Virginia and of the disarray among lawmakers balancing a coordinated strategy with their ability to claim authorship and fundraise off the popular right-wing rallying cry.
Measures outlawing transition-related health care for minors in the state included proposals from state Sens. Mark Peake (Senate Bill 960), Amanda Chase (Senate Bill 791), and Bryce Reeves (Senate Bill 1203).
Proposals to force transgender student-athletes off school teams included bills from state Sens. John Cosgrove (Senate Bill 911), Reeves (Senate Bill 1186) and Peake (Senate Bill 962).
According to Equality Virginia, 10 out of 12 anti-trans bills introduced during this year’s legislative session in Virginia have been defeated.
Democrats control the Virginia Senate by a margin of 22-18. Republicans dominate the Assembly, 52-48.
Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has made transgender issues a centerpiece of his administration, with a “parents’ rights” agenda driving both policy and politics.
New school guidelines released in September require transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match the sex they were assigned at birth and make it harder for them to socially transition.
Families must submit legal documentation to change a student’s name and gender on school records. At the same time, teachers will be allowed to misgender students even if a legal name change is granted, citing teachers’ “free speech” rights to call a student anything they want.
Teachers must also share information about changes in a student’s gender identity with their parents.
Those policies were met with outrage by students who protested the new rules in walkouts across the state in September.
Equality Virginia noted in a tweet that the Senate Education Committee received over 3000 emails opposing the anti-trans proposals.
“Thank you to everyone who has spoken up against these bills,” the advocacy group wrote. “The fight isn’t over, but we know Virginians will show up for trans youth, day after day. Because #transyouthbelong.”