The Left Assails Youngkin’s Parental Rights Reform on Transgender Issues

Many on the Left appear appalled at the idea that parents should have the right to know and intervene if their children “identify” as the opposite sex or seek controversial transgender medical interventions that may irreversibly harm their bodies.  

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican announced Friday a new model policy on students who identify as transgender in schools, prioritizing parental rights and upholding sex-based policies while directing the Virginia Department of Education to enforce federal and state laws protecting children from discrimination on the basis of gender identity.  

Youngkin’s policy reversed the directives issued under former Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, which mandated that schools adopt a pro-transgender stance and directed schools to keep parents in the dark if “a student is not ready or able to safely share with their family about their gender identity.”  

If parents or guardians know about a minor student’s transgender identity and disagree with it, the Northam guidelines positioned the school as the arbiter of such disagreements. 

The new Youngkin guidelines put parents in the driver’s seat. The model policy begins with the declaration: “Parents have the right to make decisions with respect to their children: Policies shall be drafted to safeguard parents’ rights with respect to their child, and to facilitate the exercise of those rights.” 

The new policy states that “schools shall respect parents’ values and beliefs,” and that parents have the right “to instill in and nurture values and beliefs for their own children and make decisions concerning their children’s education and upbringing in accordance with their customs, faith, and family culture.” 

This policy is rooted in the U.S. Constitution and key Supreme Court decisions as well as Virginia law. 

The Youngkin policy states that “schools shall defer to parents to make the best decisions with respect to their children,” regarding health care, names, pronouns, counseling, and social transition at school. 

The new policy clarifies the fact that students will be allowed to participate in sex-segregated school programs based on their biological sexuality, and not their declared gender identity, but it allows for exceptions. “Single-user bathrooms and facilities should be made available in accessible areas and provided with appropriate signage, indicating accessibility for all students,” the policy states.  

The policy states that if sports are segregated by biological sexual sex, male and female students will compete according their sex. However, it does not apply to federal law. 

The policy also explicitly states that schools “should attempt to accommodate students with distinctive needs, including any student with a persistent and sincere belief that his or her gender differs from his or her sex.” 

The new model policy criticizes the Northam-era guidelines, saying they “disregarded the rights of parents and ignored other legal and constitutional principles that significantly impact how schools educate students, including transgender students.” The new policy cites the same law under which Northam’s administration created its guidelines. 

“This is about the right of parents to be involved in such important decisions and that all our students are treated with dignity,” Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter told The Daily Signal. “The law mandating that [the Virginia Department of Education]The policy must be cited. The model policy was created to ensure that local school boards comply with all applicable federal laws and state laws. The ‘2022 Model Policies,’ designed to protect ‘the Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for All Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools,’ allows for a 30-day comment period for Virginians to engage on its suggested content.”

Only 10% of school districts had adopted the Northam administration’s policies two years after Virginia law required them to adopt a policy on these issues, according to the Virginia Mercury.

These new guidelines are very sensible. Transgender activists assert that students are more likely suicide if parents and schools do not encourage their transgender identities. remains unclearWhether affirmation and controversial medical interventions really help students with gender dysphoria.  

Lifelong consequences can be caused by medical interventions. So-called puberty blockers, for example, actually introduce a disease into a patient’s body, according to Dr. Michael LaidlawRocklin, Calif. – Endocrinologist. Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism is when the brain does not send the right signals to the gonads in order to produce the hormones required for development. 

“An endocrinologist might treat a condition where a female’s testosterone levels are going to be outside the normal range,” Laidlaw told PJ Media. “We’ll treat that, and we’re aware of metabolic problems. At the same time, an endocrinologist may be giving high levels of testosterone to a female to ‘transition’ her.”  Cross-sex hormones can also have serious long-term side effects, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular events.

Parents should be able to trust the government when it comes down to their children’s health and beliefs, especially in politically charged areas.  

Virginia Democrats responded with outrage to this moderate policy change. 

“Gov. Youngkin’s mandate targets vulnerable children, and it’s downright shameful to think that an elected leader would punch down at kids to score political points,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., widely seen as a more moderate Democrat, wrote on Twitter. “This mandate reduces the rights of children to be themselves in schools.” 

“We are appalled by the Youngkin administration’s overhaul of key protections for transgender students in public schools,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia wrote on Twitter. “LGBTQ+ students already experience much higher self-harm & suicide rates because of the discrimination they face. This will only make matters worse.” 

The Washington Post’s Hannah Natanson characterized the guidelines as a “top-down approach to governance,” even though they direct schools to honor parental input first. 

Openly transgender state Rep. Danica Roem, D-Prince William County, claimed that Youngkin’s action “should be contested in court under the Virginia Human Rights Act.” That law, which Northam signed in 2020, bans “unlawful discrimination because of … sexual orientation, gender identity, [and other protected characteristics] in places of public accommodation, including educational institutions and in real estate transactions.” 

Yet the same law states that the ban on discrimination shall not “affect any government program, law or activity [regarding persons under 18] … where the program, law or activity constitutes a legitimate exercise of powers of the Commonwealth for the general health, safety, and welfare of the population at large.” 

In other words, in pursuit of parental rights, fairness in sports, and protecting girls from being forced to share locker rooms and bathrooms with biological boys, the law seems to allow Youngkin’s policies.  

Roem could not be reached for comment to explain her reasoning in The Daily Signal. 

“It is not under a school’s or the government’s purview to impose a set of particular ideological beliefs on all students,” Porter, the Youngkin spokeswoman, said in a statement on the policy. She emphasized that “key decisions rest, first and foremost, with the parents.” 

The outrage over this issue stems back to the fundamental question about whether parents have the right make important decisions for their children. Do parents have the right to intervene if a boy says he “identifies” as a girl? Are parents allowed to prevent him taking “puberty-blocking drugs” that will inhibit his natural development and make him sick? Can they stop him from taking estrogen, or having parts of his anatomy removed for the sake of a female identity?  

Radical transgender activists are trying to take away parents’ right to veto decisions that will harm their children over the long term, and Democrats are demonizing a moderate policy change that guarantees that fundamental right.  

Youngkin’s campaign centered on restoring parental rights, and this policy shift represents a key fulfillment of that central campaign promise. The Left condemns this policy change and only shows how radical it is. 

Are you a fan of this article? To sound off, please email and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Include the article’s URL or headline, along with your name and the address of your town or state.