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Opponents of Youngkin administration transgender student policies weigh options

Transgender Americans-5 Things
Toby Talbot
FILE- In this Aug. 23, 2007 file photo, a sign marks the entrance to a gender neutral restroom.

Opponents of the governor's new guidelines for transgender students are trying to figure out next steps.

Advocates for transgender students who want to use the bathroom and the locker room of the gender they identify with are trying to figure out the best way to respond to the governor's new guidelines for public schools. The new guidelines say students must use the bathroom and the locker room of the gender assigned at birth.

Delegate Danica Roem is a Democrat from Prince William County who says the guidelines violate the Virginia Human Rights Act.

"It's just going to be an issue of can we get a preliminary injunction to actually hold it in the first place because of the actual harm it could cause," says Roem. "If that's not able to happen, could we actually get a lawsuit in place based on actual harm from the student that this would unfortunately affect. And that's the sad thing is, we shouldn't have to wait for someone to get hurt by this."

Todd Gathje at the Family Foundation says the governor is acting within his authority to issue guidelines.

"They are in compliance with what the statue has required, which is that the School Board provide written policies," Gathje says. "And this is just part of how executive work is done."

The guidelines won't go out to local school divisions until after a public comment period that ends in late October. And then local school boards across Virginia will have to decide how they want to respond.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria. He has reported for NPR, the New York Daily News and the Alexandria Gazette Packet. He has a master's degree in American Studies from Florida State University, and he is a former adjunct professor at Tallahassee Community College. He is the author of four books.