In the face of public outcry from concerned parents and activists about gender identity issues, the LGBTQIA+ community is blaming culture wars on conservatives, Republicans, and parents for instigating conflict.
Local news outlet WTOP reported that the LGBTQIA+ community claims that it has become “collateral damage” in these culture wars in public education.
These critics single out Republican politicians, such as Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Attorney General Jason Miyares, because of their emphasis on returning public schools to traditional standards. Youngkin announced a slate of state school policies, called the “2022 Model Policies for Virginia schools,” which requires students to use locker rooms and programs according to their assigned sex at birth. The policies do not allow school districts, administrators, or teachers to change a child’s name or gender on school records and they must seek parental permission.
Youngkin, at a “Parents Matter” rally, criticized a Fairfax County Public Schools’ Regulation 2603 which prevents school officials from sharing a student’s gender or transgender status with parents. He said, “They think that parents have no right to know what your child is discussing with their teacher or their counselor, particularly when some of the most important topics that a child may want to discuss are being determined.”
Miyares, speaking from a legal perspective, said that parents have a right to know about their children, “Parents have a fundamental right to the educational upbringing of their children, and that includes the big decisions that you just mentioned, that parents should be involved and that, I think, is what’s bringing so much frustration — why there’s an energy among parents in Northern Virginia is they feel like they’re being cut out.”
LGBTQIA+ advocacy groups, such as Equality Virginia and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), claimed that Youngkin and Miyares’ efforts are detrimental to their community. Equality Virginia said, in a statement, that the Youngkin administration is “making open threats to their rights” by “contributing to hostile school environments for our youth.”
Another LGBTQIA+ group, Pride Liberation Project, called the Youngkin administration’s school policies “bigoted.”
Addressing these criticisms, Youngkin told the media that parents are tired of being bossed around by teachers about their own children. He said, “I firmly believe that teachers and schools have an obligation to make sure that parents are well-informed about what’s happening in their kids’ lives.” The governor added, “And one of the things we learned last year during the campaign is that parents were tired of being pushed to the background in their child’s education.”
But the same groups failed to acknowledge that underage children are the responsibility of parents and that parents have the legal right to make decisions for children. Their stance emphasized the Left’s insistence that the government and community knows better than parents and both government and community should do the child-rearing.