Trans Youth Belong VA Rally brings out dozens of protestors

Published: Sep. 24, 2022 at 7:12 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -Protesters were at the Capitol Bell Tower for the Trans Youth Belong VA Rally. The group marched together to the Virginia PrideFest on Brown’s Island to show their support for transgender and non-binary students across the state.

This rally comes after Governor Glenn Youngkin released a new policy that could threaten the rights of those students in the public school system.

The protest was held just days before the public comment period is set to begin on Youngkin’s new model policy. The policy would require transgender and nonbinary students to get parental permission before adopting a new name or pronouns and make them use the bathroom that matches the gender they were assigned at birth. Protestors said they want to educate people about why these policies harm students.

“The F slur was something that I started to hear around school, and someone I considered a friend pretty much told me that I was too feminine to be non-binary. That time of my life was really when the depression and self-loathing started to kick in,” said Kayden Peddicord, a non-binary student who uses he/him and they/them pronouns.

Peddicord said this new policy would make things far worse for transgender and nonbinary students.

“Thousands of kids all across Virginia are silenced. She could be outed, they could be forced into the wrong bathroom, he could be bullied, ‘Z’ could be called the wrong name and pronouns,” Peddicord explained.

The new policy isn’t just upsetting parents and students. Senator Jennifer Boysko, who helped craft the current model policy in place under the Virginia Department of Education, is also in disagreement.

“Allowing children to go to the bathroom that they feel most comfortable in is part of that,” Boysko said.

A public comment period on this new policy starts Monday and lasts for 30 days. After that, the Board of Education will have the final say on whether or not the policy will be adopted.