Hayfield Narrowly Avoids Youngkin’s Transgender Legislation



People attend a rally as part of a Transgender Day of Visibility, Friday, March 31, 2023, by the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Sam Deans, Staff Writer

Transgender and Queer rights in American school systems have been the topic of heated debate, speculation and support for years. Specific debates on Civil Rights have been considered in Florida, Texas, and other key states with controversial views on this topic. However, with the January 2022 gubernatorial election of Glenn Youngkin, Virginia might be inching closer to sharing more in common with these states. 

Within the past few months, suggestions of enforcing anti-trans and queer legislation have been apparent in the Virginia Delegation. Such suggestions include addressing a student as the sex they were assigned at birth instead of their current pronouns, and prohibiting students from playing on [gendered] sports teams that don’t align with their assigned sex. As of January 2023, new legislation advocates for informing parents and guardians if their child uses pronouns other than ones that align with their assigned sex. 

The bill that would have introduced possible paranoia and unsafe and unsupportive environments for Queer/Trans students, was shot down. However, the issues that inspired this bill to take action are not to be ignored. Hayfield Secondary is a place that is open to communities, cultures, and identities across the world. However, just because the bill will not be moving forward does not mean the intent is less dangerous. According to Freedom for all Americans, an LGBTQ Rights group and NPR, more than 200 anti-Trans or queer bills advocating for the restriction of these rights have been introduced in 2022, as of September of last year.

In order to gage where Hayfield stands on the bill, we sent out a form to teachers, counselors, and other staff members serving different purposes in the building to ask them where they stand on this issue. 15 people responded across the building, interviewed about the bill, dress codes, their position in the school, and more.

Here’s what our staff had to say: 

80% of people polled were High School Teachers/associated with the High School department, 13% were Middle School teachers/associated with the Middle School department, and 7% of people answered “other.” 15% of pollers revealed they worked with both levels or Instructional support programs, and the remaining people interviewed opted to not state their role in the building. 


Do you believe this bill is Transphobic/Inspired by Transphobia?

  • Yes- 67%
  • No- 20%
  • Undecided- 13%


If the bill passes, would you consider yourself a safe and supportive space for Transgender/Non-Binary Students?

  • Yes- 100%

 Do you believe students should be required to adhere to a sex-based dress code?

  • Yes- 0%
  • No- 93%
  • Undecided/Unsure- 7%


Do you support the bill/potential passing of the bill? 

  • Yes- 13%
  • No- 73%
  • Undecided/Unsure- 14%

Respondents supportive of the bill cited their stances, such as  “Parent(s) has a right to know about such a significant change as long as they provide their child(ren) a shelter.” and “In my opinion, I believe that trans students are afforded the rights of every student. This bill would ensure that all students are treated fairly. Family is the strongest support system and should never be left out of the conversation regardless of the subject.” 


Explanations from respondents who were unsupportive of the bill include, “If a student feels that they cannot share what they’re going through with a trusted adult (whether in the school OR their own parents/guardians), who will they go to?  This seems designed to isolate students who, in theory, are some of our most emotionally vulnerable and who are in-need of support services.  I believe it would be harmful to our students to share information that they share with us in confidence. Why would they ever trust us again when they were feeling vulnerable or even when they’re ready to learn from us?” “I do not think that teachers should be required to tell parents when students express a desire to be called a specific name and/or pronoun” and  “I don’t believe the state should regulate sex-based dress codes, records for transgender students’ identification and participation in activities. I feel the bill does not support the transgender community. I think the bill might lead to a hostile environment for trans and non-binary students and may affect the quality of their mental health. I also think the model is not based on data and should not be put in place without supporting information, pro or con. I think we need to support all of our students where they are comfortable.”  

Within the survey, interviewees were asked if they had any advice for students struggling with their identity or disheartened by the media’s rejection of their community. Here are some responses; 


“I feel like if this bill passes I would rather lose my job for supporting transgender students by not sharing with their parents than share this personal information without the students consent.” 


“Please…any students who are struggling or feeling down…talk to a trusted adult.”


“You are loved and supported and we, as a community, are better for having you as part of it.”


“I wish I had some great words of wisdom to share, but all I can really say is that you have people here supporting, and fighting for you. There are truly no words to share when people are being treated this way, because no words can make it better; only actions.”


“If you are comfortable, ask your teachers and admin if they consider their rooms a “safe space.” I think it can be hard for teachers to discuss items that are not necessarily in their “wheelhouse” or they feel they may not have appropriate answers to all students’ questions but that letting the students know they support them, no matter what, is important.”


“Seek out affirming adults and peers to confide in. You are not alone! No state lawmaker has the power to regulate your bravery and authenticity.”


…Employed by a local school board who…has reason to believe, as a result of direct communication from a student, that such a student is self-identifying as a gender that is different than his biological sex to contact… at least one of such student’s parents to ask whether such parent is aware of the student’s mental state and whether the parent wishes to obtain or has already obtained counseling for such student.”

HB 1707 Public school students; self-identification as gender other than biological sex, parental contact, introduced by Tara A. Durant, January 9, 2023. 


“Love each other. We are all figuring things out as we go along in our lives and we make choices for ourselves or have different ideas about things that may change in the future as we live more and learn more. We all have different experiences and we want to be understood by others, but that can only come with healthy communication, showing genuine love and respect for others no matter their differences, and putting in the effort to seek to understand others. I never want to say that I’ve learned enough or I have nothing left to gain from others. It’s a process that takes time and requires patience…and if we all want others to show grace and kindness and fairness to us, that starts with us showing it first.”


If you or anyone you know is struggling with their identity and/or might be in an unsafe situation, please contact 1-877-565-8860 offered by The Connect Program, by Trans people, for Trans people.