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Virginia Dems Block 12th Republican Bill Targeting Transgender Kids

Virginia Dems Block 12th Republican Bill Targeting Transgender Kids

A group of young people smiling.

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, Democrats are standing in the way of Republican-led efforts to legislate transgender people out of existence.

Thursday, Virginia Senate Democrats mustered a bipartisan effort to kill an anti-trans bill put forth and passed by the Republican-controlled state House.

Legislators voted down a bill that banned transgender athletes of all ages from participating in sports teams aligned with their gender identity from kindergarten through college, the Richmond Times-Dispatchreports.

During a Thursday morning committee meeting, the legislation was defeated 10-5, with Republican Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant of Henrico County voting with the Democratic majority.

When the bill passed the lower chamber of Virginia's legislature last week, the Human Rights Campaign issued a statement critical of the bill's advancement.

"In a coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ+ groups, which deployed vintage discriminatory tropes, politicians in state houses across the country introduced a record 315 discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2022," HRC wrote. "The majority of the discriminatory bills targeted the transgender and non-binary community, with the majority targeting children receiving the brunt of discriminatory legislation. Anti-transgender legislation took several forms, including bills aimed to prevent transgender youth from playing school sports consistent with their gender identity and bills to prevent transgender and non-binary youth from receiving life-saving, medically-necessary gender-affirming healthcare."

Equality Virginia cheered the news that transgender rights were being upheld in the state.

"After this morning's Senate Ed & Health Committee, we can officially say that all 12 anti-trans bills are DEAD!" Equality Virginia tweeted.

They noted that in Virginia, Republicans put forth three gender-affirming care bills, four bills that would out students to parents involuntarily, and five transgender sports ban bills — all of them failed.

"We hope you can celebrate this moment and what it means for you and your loved ones. We hope you are able to feel some peace after a very turbulent time. #TransYouthBelongVA, now and forever," the group wrote on Twitter.

In the state, Democrats have a slim hold on the senate while Republicans control the house of delegates and the governorship.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin has been at the forefront of endorsing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. He was elected in 2021 after perpetuating the false claim that Virginia schools were using critical race theory to teach white children to be ashamed of themselves.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia marked Thursday's development on Twitter.

"VICTORY: HB2432, the last anti-trans bill this #VALeg session, is officially dead. Alongside @EqualityVA & community members, we finally DEFEATED ALL 12 ANTI-TRANS BILLS this year. Trans youth BELONG. They deserve safe & affirming spaces to grow up & thrive," the organization wrote.

Since 2014, the Virginia High School League instituted rules that already address access to sports teams by transgender students by deciding on a student's eligibility on a case-by-case basis.

In the intervening nine years, 28 students have applied to join teams aligned with their gender identity. Twenty-five of those applications were approved, Richmond's ABC affiliate, WRIC, reports.

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