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Thousands of Students Walk Out Over Virginia’s Anti-Trans School Policies

Trans rights are human rights and these students are making that known!

At a protest for transgender rights, a person holds a sign reading "Protect trans kids"

In the latest attempts for Republicans to drag the country backwards while also attempting to make queer students unsafe in their own schools, Virginia’s Governor Glenn Youngkin has proposed dismantling protections and accommodations for transgender students. Some of these policy changes would include requiring parents sign-off on changes to names / pronouns and participation in school programming and use of school facilities (i.e. bathrooms and locker rooms) would be based on a student’s biological sex.

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Thankfully, the kids of Virginia are proving to be much more empathetic than the adults.

Almost a hundred Virginia middle and high schools held walkouts early on Tuesday in protest of these changes.

These walkouts, partially organized by the student-led Pride Liberation Project, are about protecting students’ rights, queer rights, and participating in democracy. Students’ interest in the project has apparently grown due to concerns for their safety.

“I’ve heard literally hundreds of stories telling me ‘I’m terrified for my own life,’” fifteen-year-old co-founder of the Pride Liberation Project Vizacardo-Lichter said. “How are we supposed to focus on our classes — like calculus or biology — if we’re worried that our teachers are going to out us to our unsupportive parents?”

“We decided to hold these walkouts as kind of a way to … disrupt schools and essentially have students be aware of what’s going on,” Natasha Sanghvi, a Virginia high school senior, told The Associated Press.

Many adult activists are applauding the students, with Virginia’s first trans representative Del. Danica Roem likening them to Civil Rights era student activists like Barbara Johns, who led a student strike for equal education in 1951 that would eventually lead to Brown V. Board of Education and the desegregation of American schools.

The funniest part for me is the apparent envy I’m seeing in some right-wing commenters.

Maybe their issue isn’t so much youth outreach as much as it is the general message of hatred. Gen Z is apparently the queerest generation and a lot of them are able to see through false promises and attempts to get them to work against their own self-interests. In any case, these students are the ones teaching Virginia politicians a lesson in empathy and acceptance, and we applaud them for it.

We can only hope that the legislators and parents get the message and learn to listen.

(featured image: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Kimberly Terasaki
Kimberly Terasaki is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She has been writing articles for them since 2018, going on 5 years of working with this amazing team. Her interests include Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Horror, intersectional feminism, and fanfiction; some are interests she has held for decades, while others are more recent hobbies. She liked Ahsoka Tano before it was cool, will fight you about Rey being a “Mary Sue,” and is a Kamala Khan stan.

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