Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin joined CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday and defended new policies in the state that will require public school students to use bathrooms and join sports teams based on their biological sex, not gender identity.
“Let me begin with these basic principles, which is first, parents have a fundamental right to be engaged in their children’s lives. And oh, by the way, children have a right to have parents engaged in their lives. We needed to fix a wrong. The previous administration had had a policy that excluded parents and in fact, particularly didn’t require the involvement of parents. And let’s be clear, parents have this right and children don’t belong to the state, they belong to families,” Youngkin told Tapper during CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Youngkin’s administration rewrote the state’s policies on transgender youths at public schools in September, requiring students to use bathrooms, locker rooms and join sports teams based on their sex at birth, not their gender identity. The policy updates also include forbidding students from changing their names and preferred pronouns at public schools without the consent of their parents.
“We empower parents to make decisions with regards to masking in Virginia. We’ve empowered parents to make decisions with regards to curriculum that fits their family’s decision. So we’re empowering parents here to be engaged in these most important decisions,” Youngkin continued on Sunday.
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Tapper pressed the Republican governor on whether the policies would actually exclude parents who are supportive of their child using facilities or joining sports teams based on gender identity and not biological sex.
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“It sounds like you’re excluding parents that might be supportive of their child going to the bathroom or joining a sports team that is in alignment with their gender identity,” Tapper said.
“Certainly not. If parents actually want their child to be able to change a pronoun or their name or use a bathroom, if parents choose that, then legally that’s what the schools will do. With regards to sports teams, this is a different issue,” Youngkin responded.
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“I do believe that it’s unfair for girls to have biological boys play sports with biological girls. There are sports with segregated sexes for those sports, and those sports should be honored that way. And there are sports where they’re not segregated, where in fact both sexes get to play at the same time. Again, there’s a common sense approach here to this and I do think we have to respect girls as well here,” he said.
The policy changes are currently under a 30-day period of commenting from the public. Youngkin said he expects to finalize the policies in the coming days and to see school districts across the state adopt the changes.