Karine Jean-Pierre has again pledged White House support for transgender youth after thousands of students in Virginia stage mass walk outs over anti-trans proposal
On Tuesday (September 27), students in Virginia organised a huge school walk out – with many holding Pride flags and signs saying ‘trans rights’ – to protest new guidelines put forward by Republican Glenn Youngkin, which would restrict protections for transgender students in the state.
Students from nearly 100 high schools came out in force to support of their LGBTQ+ peers. At one school alone – McLean High School – over 300 students walked out of classes, chanting “Trans rights are human rights,” and, “D-O-E [Department of Education], leave us be!”
“We decided to hold these walkouts as kind of a way to … disrupt schools and have students be aware of what’s going on,” said high school senior Natasha Sanghvi to NBC Washington.
McLean High School students in Northern Virginia chant “D-O-E, Leave us be” and “Trans rights are human rights” in protest of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s model policies for transgender students. pic.twitter.com/iU7bzmqtwe
— Nathaniel Cline (@nathanielcline) September 27, 2022
On September 17, the Virginia department of education announced several rewritten policies affecting transgender students in classrooms.
The proposed policies, which are currently under 30-day public comment period, require written permission from a student’s parents before teachers can call them by a name or pronoun they were not given at birth.
More troublingly, the proposal notes that teachers will be allowed to misgender students even if parents submit all the required requests, on the basis of teachers’ rights to free speech.
Faculty members will also be required to share information about students’ gender identity with their parents and students would be required to use locker rooms and restrooms in accordance with their sex assigned at birth, play sports according to their sex assigned at birth, and participate in all other gender-segregated school activities according to their sex assigned at birth.
Advocates say the new policies are transphobic and risk the health and safety of transgender students, who could be outed to their parents.
Later that day, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked by a reporter if the White House suppors the student protesters.
She replied saying she had not seen the reports but that “this is a president that supports the LGBTQI+ community.”
“He speaks always, always is proud to speak out against the mistreatment of that community. We believe and he believes transgender youth should be allowed to be able to go to school freely, to be able to express themselves freely, to be able to have the protections that they need to be who they are.”
“We can say with all confidence… when it comes to this community, he is a partner and he is a strong ally, as well as the vice president,” Jean-Pierre said.
WH Press Sec. Karine Jean-Pierre on Virginia students walking out today to protest Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) plan to strip rights from trans students:
“[Biden] believes that transgender youth should be allowed to … go to school freely, to be able to express themselves freely.” pic.twitter.com/ndisvvdUsN
— The Recount (@therecount) September 27, 2022
Back in May, Jean-Pierre made history by becoming the first Black person and the first openly LGBTQ person to take on the role of White House press secretary.
The policies are currently in a public comment period until October 26.