Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin insisted Sunday that there is nothing “controversial” about the state’s new school policy requiring students to use bathrooms or play for sports teams that correspond to their biological sex and not their gender identity.
“This is not controversial,” Youngkin, a Republican, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
He added that it is an issue parents should be deciding for their kids, at least when it comes to the bathrooms, instead of a blanket policy decided by the schools.
“I just think the idea that we’re going to have policies that exclude parents from their children’s lives is something that I have been going to work on since Day One,” the governor said. “We campaigned on it. We empowered parents to make decisions with regards to [COVID] masking in Virginia. We have empowered parents to make decisions with regards to curriculum that fits their families’ decisions.”
Youngkin, who made parental choice in schools a hallmark of his gubernatorial campaign in 2021, has rolled back how his Democratic predecessor dealt with transgender students.
The state’s new policy, introduced at the end of September, now generally requires that students use bathrooms and locker rooms based on their biological sex.
“We needed to fix a wrong,” the governor said.
“The previous administration had had a policy that excluded parents and, in fact, particularly didn’t require the involvement of parents,” he said.
“Dhildren don’t belong to the state. They belong to families. And so, in these most important decisions, step one has to be to engage parents, not to the exclusion of a trusted teacher or an adviser, but to make sure that parents are involved in their children’s lives,” Youngkin said.
CNN’s host Jake Tapper asked whether the policy shuts out parents who support their child going to the bathroom or joining a sports team that aligns with their gender identity.
”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,” Youngkin said.
“What we’re not saying is that there is no accommodation. What we’re saying is, parents have to be engaged in that decision. And if a child and their parent, along with administrators and teachers, choose to have accommodations for that child, they will be granted,” Youngkin said.
But he said sports teams are a different issue.
“I do believe that it’s unfair for girls to have biological boys play sports with biological girls. There are sports with segregated — with segregated sexes for those sports. And those sports should be honored that way,” he said.
”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 commonsense approach here to this. And I do think we have to respect girls as well here,” Youngkin said.