Youngkin administration removes webpage on LGBTQ resources for youth
Internal emails show removal immediately followed inquiry from Daily Wire
After an inquiry from the right-wing media outlet Daily Wire this May about two websites listed on a Virginia Department of Health webpage offering resources for LGBTQ youth, internal agency emails indicate Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration took the entire page down, leaving agency employees who oversaw it bewildered.
“Did someone request this?” asked Emily Yeatts, a supervisor for the Department of Health’s Division of Child and Family Health, in a May 31 email to other staff members. “This request did not come from the program.”
At roughly the same time, Vanessa Walker Harris, director of the Office of Family Health Services — the office responsible for managing content on the page — also sent out an email to employees in the division, as well as communications staff and Deputy VDH Commissioner Robert Hicks.
“I’m noticing that the referenced webpage is no longer accessible and I’m having a bad case of deja vu,” wrote Walker Harris. “What am I missing? I’m very concerned that staff were directed to remove the webpage without engaging [subject matter experts] in response to a politically motivated inquiry, yet again.”
When the Mercury asked VDH on June 5 about the removal of the Resources for LGBTQ Youth page, internal emails obtained under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act show agency Chief Operating Officer Christopher Lindsay initially drafted a response noting it was “part of an overall project to look at areas of the VDH website that can use redesign.”
“We are using data to look at website traffic and will redesign towards public health initiatives tht are relevant to consumer demand,” Lindsay wrote.
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