The Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates passed two anti-trans bills targeting youth this week. The bills now go to the Democratic-controlled state senate for consideration.
H.B. 1387 would ban trans kids from playing sports on teams that align with their gender identity, and H.B. 2432 would require school staff to out trans kids to their parents even if it would endanger them. The ladder also states that “in no event shall referring to and raising the child in a manner consistent with the child’s biological sex, including related mental health or medical decisions, be considered abuse or neglect.”
The sports ban was proposed by Del. Karen Greenhalgh (R), who stated that the bill is meant “to protect our girls and young women from being forced to compete against biological males” because “today, even the strongest, fastest girls in Virginia must step up to the starting line and know, ‘I can’t win.’”
The second bill was introduced by Del. Dave Larock (R), who claimed he introduced it with the intention of “protecting children” and that “forced affirmations [of identity] can clearly harm the child in the long run.”
Out transgender Virginia lawmaker Del. Danica Roem (D) has vehemently condemned both bills.
In an impassioned speech against H.B. 2432, she explained to lawmakers that 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ+ and that the main cause behind it is family rejection.
“Go talk to the kids who were kicked out of their homes and who were beaten for being outed against their own will,” she said, adding that homeless youth are “exponentially more likely to be victims of human trafficking.”
“We are dealing with dire consequences on a bill as reckless as this… You didn’t even talk to the one person in this body who actually knows what it’s like to be scared to death as a 13, 14-year-old kid of anyone finding out that you’re actually trans,” Roem continued, near tears. “You have no idea what you’re doing. You have no idea the harm you’re causing. These kids are watching this right now all across the Commonwealth. Do better for them.”
Roem also recently called out the hypocrisy of conservatives who say they want to protect girls’ sports.
“When we want to deal with the idea of how do we support women athletes, how about we show up to their games?” she said.
“How about we pay them equally?” Roem said, calling out income inequality between women’s and men’s professional sports.
“How many times have any- any of you here gone to a girls’ basketball game followed by a boys’ basketball game where the girls’ game starts at 5 or 5:30 and the boys’ game starts at 7 or 7:30, and you saw the gym get packed right in the very end of the fourth quarter of the girls’ game because so many people were there excited for the boys’ game, regardless of how competitive, regardless of the skills, regardless of the rankings of the girls’ team?” Roem asked her colleagues.
“If we want to support female athletes, then show up to their games! Fight for equal pay for them! But at the same time, to beat up on trans kids because nine trans kids last year wanted to play sports, we’re now going to affect a policy for more than 1.2 million students?”
WATCH: Del. @pwcdanica‘s powerful statement on the House floor today, calling out the hypocrisy behind the anti-trans sports ban.— ACLU of Virginia (@ACLUVA) February 6, 2023
Trans youth playing sports isn’t a problem. Period. pic.twitter.com/kLdcjivQZB
The Human Rights Campaign also condemned the Virginia House for passing these bills.
“Today, radical politicians in the Virginia House passed not one, but two anti-LGBTQ+ bills – both of which target transgender students who are already facing marginalization and isolation,” said the organization’s Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley.
“Like every student, LGBTQ+ kids deserve an education that is inclusive, safe, and enables them to succeed. Outing minors without their consent can put children in active danger, as well as prevent them from finding needed support from a trusted adult. . Preventing kids from playing sports with their peers sends a dangerous and false message that they don’t belong – and is based on fear-mongering around transgender kids, not facts. These are two different bills, but each are part of a coordinated effort to attack transgender kids who are just trying to navigate their adolescents. Virginians deserve better.”
The bills likely won’t pass the Democratic-controlled state senate. Last week, the Virginia Senate Education Committee voted to end consideration of six other proposed bills that would have infringed 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.