In a major victory for the transgender community in Virginia, six Republican-proposed bills aimed at restricting their rights were defeated by the Virginia Senate Education Committee on Thursday. The bills, which threatened transgender students’ rights, were voted down by Democrats who control the Senate.
Four Republican lawmakers had introduced measures banning gender-affirming health care for minors and excluding transgender students from teams that matched their gender identity. Additionally, three GOP senators proposed legislation prohibiting transgender student-athletes from participating in school teams. However, these measures were defeated by the Democrats, with 10 out of 12 anti-trans bills introduced during the current legislative session being voted down, according to LGBTQ+ rights group Equality Virginia.
The rejection of these bills marks a significant win for the transgender community in Virginia, and a clear message of support from Democrats. Governor Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, had made transgender affairs a focal point of his term, and had outlined his stance on the issue through “model policies” in September. Despite these efforts, the Democrats in the Senate have made it clear that they will not stand for any measures that restrict the rights of transgender individuals. The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia also celebrated this week’s developments, emphasizing that “Trans people BELONG in Virginia.”