Democratic Delegates Give Powerful Floor Speeches and Remind Republicans of What’s At Stake
RICHMOND, VA – Today, Virginia House Democrats responded to the House Republican legislation aimed at forcibly outing transgender students. This legislation is just the latest example of a coordinated attack against transgender kids across our country. Virginia’s students are clear: they are terrified and do not support legislation aimed at outing transgender students.
“Forcing school principals or staff to out students who thought they were in a trusting environment to express themselves and their identity, regardless of the child’s physical safety and mental well-being at home, is the opposite of the work that should be conducted in the Virginia General Assembly,” said Delegate Danica Roem. “This legislation would make Virginia a less inclusive place for trans youth and put skilled and caring school teachers and counselors in a compromising situation, forcing them to choose their jobs over a child’s wellbeing.”
Today, Delegate Dawn Adams also spoke against the bill, and said, “I get that raising kids [today] has got to be so much harder [than when I was a child]. But being a kid’s got to be brutal. There’s no safe space…no quiet space that’s not attached to some kind of social media. And if you’re struggling and even going to a counselor isn’t safe, where do you go? How do you get help? How do you sort things out for yourself? I don’t believe that anyone is doing these things because they hate children; I don’t believe that at all. But this is such bad policy, and it affects you not just in your childhood. It affects you as long as it takes for you to heal.”
“House Republicans should be ashamed that they’re attacking Virginia kids,” said House Democratic Leader Don Scott. “Let’s be clear about what laws like this will do: “out” students to their parents before they feel safe to do so. I have had enough of the MAGA Caucus using our children as political pawns in their culture wars. Not only are bills like this harmful for kids across the Commonwealth, but it proves Republicans can’t be trusted and are only focused on culture wars.”
“HB 2432 would not only make Virginia a less welcoming place for LGBTQ+ youth,” said Caucus Chair Charniele Herring, “but it puts skilled and caring school teachers and counselors in a compromising situation, forcing them to choose their jobs over a child’s wellbeing.”
Linked here is Delegate Roem’s powerful floor speech, in which she reminded the Republican Caucus of their history of anti-trans legislation – and the role it’s played in recent elections, including her own. This comes on the heels of an earlier floor debate Delegate Roem led in response to HB1387, which would subject all Virginia students to invasive and onerous physical exams if they wanted to play sports. Jamie Nolan,Co-Executive Director of Side by Side gave the following statement: “Supportive communities are critical for LGBTQ+ youth. We know that access to safe and affirming spaces in and out of school are life saving measures. Side by Side seeks to create these supports because they do not exist for every young person, either at home, school, or in other parts of their lives. The forced outing of a young person who does not have access to a supportive home can create a toxic environment, at times including a loss of financial support and houselessness. This bill would be detrimental to the education, health, and wellbeing of Virginia’s LGBTQ+ youth.”