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Arlington County Set to Outline Expanded Trans Students' Rights

by Sam Cronin
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Jun 25, 2019
The Arlington County neighborhood of Crystal City may be the site of a new Amazon headquarters
The Arlington County neighborhood of Crystal City may be the site of a new Amazon headquarters  (Source:AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

Virginia has been a major battleground recently in the debate on transgender students' rights. Gavin Grimm, a trans boy from Gloucester County has sued his school system after being barred from using the bathroom which aligned with his gender identity, and the case is set to go to trial in July. Several other counties including Fairfax, Arlington, Falls Church and Alexandria have all signed a brief outlining their support for his rights and for his case.

Recently, Arlington County has indicated it will set out more concrete rules surrounding the rights and protections of students based on gender identity. Once the new guidelines take effect, Arlington will join D.C. Public Schools and Montgomery and Frederick counties in Maryland which already have rules on the subject. The school system would be the first in Northern Virginia to have rules in place on transgender students' rights.

WTOP News reports: "The proposed policy implementation procedure, or PIP, is the result of input from various school district models and focuses on a range of issues, including how students should be addressed, implementing dress codes that aren't gender specific, allowing all students to participate in sports and creating gender neutral restrooms."

Assistant Superintendent Tara Nattrass indicated the importance of the new policy, citing troubling statistics. "The American Academy of Pediatrics cited a national survey that said 54% of transgender students have been verbally harassed in school and 24% have been physically assaulted."

A member of the Arlington Parent Coalition shared a survey which indicated many students have concerns about the new guidelines. "Of the 90 students surveyed, 87% said they oppose or strongly oppose the policy due to religious beliefs, the impact this could have on women's athletics and the possibility of students who disagree with being stigmatized," according to WTOP.

However, according to the Washington Post, many supporters were present at the announcement.
"Students, parents and advocates packed the board meeting to loudly back the plan, waving miniature LGBT and transgender pride flags to signal agreement with the nearly three dozen speakers who proclaimed support," the Post reports.

The rules are said to take effect this summer, meaning they will be in place in time for the 2019-2020 school year, according to the Washington Post.

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