Charlottesville, Virginia – February 21, 2014

The recently released VHSL policy regarding participation of transgender youth in Virginia school sports is not inclusive. Instead, the policy excludes transgender youth from participating in youth sports because it establishes standards that are effectively impossible for Virginia’s transgender youth to meet.

The policy is in profound conflict with well-established medical, social, and mental health understanding of gender identity.  PFLAG Blue Ridge calls for VHSL to rewrite the policy so that it conforms to modern, inclusive best practices.

Specifically, the policy should mirror that of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE):

Consistent with the statutory standard, “a school should accept a student’s assertion of his or her gender identity when there is consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity, or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held as part of a person’s core identity.”

We recommend that the following be considered when re-addressing the VHSL policy on transgender student athletes:

  • The NCAA’s Inclusion of Transgender Student-Athletes (released August, 2011) is an example of a policy that is far more in line with current understanding of transgender identity.  Note that genital surgery and sterilization are not required.  
  • The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)’s comprehensive guidelines (quoted, in part, above) includes the following unambiguous clarification of its policy: “If a student’s gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior meets this standard, the only circumstance in which a school may question a student’s asserted gender identity is where school personnel have a credible basis for believing that the student’s gender-related identity is being asserted for some improper purpose.”
  • California’s Assembly Bill No. 1266, an amendment to its Education Code, confirms the right of transgender youth to use whatever bathroom and participate on whichever sports team they believe matches their gender identity.  Again, there are no requirements for surgery or hormone treatment.

We feel that policies developed for younger student athletes should be at least as informed and inclusive as those developed for college-student athletes.

Jane Cornelius, President
Karen Barker, Secretary
PFLAG Blue Ridge


PFLAG is the nation’s foremost family-based organization committed to the civil rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. Founded in 1973, PFLAG has 200,000 members and supporters in more than 500 chapters throughout the United States. PFLAG Blue Ridge serves Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, and surrounding Central Virginia communities. To learn more, please visit


PFLAG Action Alert on ENDA

Sharing the following from PFLAG National:

Dear PFLAGers,

Please Call or Email Your U.S. Representative to bring ENDA to the House Floor for a vote

Contact your U.S. Representative to tell them to vote YES on ENDA when it comes up for a vote, to cosponsor if they have not and to thank them if they are already a co-sponsor of this important bill for workplace equality. Take action on ENDA today by clicking here.

Your PFLAG message: “As your constituent and as a member of PFLAG I’m asking you to cosponsor and help bring ENDA to the House floor for a vote. PFLAG values are American values, and workplace discrimination is not a family value.  If you have already cosponsored ENDA, I thank you for supporting workplace equality for LGBT people and their families.”

Please review this critical September 2013 report that bolsters the need for a fully inclusive ENDA

PFLAG National is committed to ensuring that ENDA stays inclusive, as drafted, providing for non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity as well as sexual orientation.  Please check out this very important resource for reference in case there is push back as ENDA moves forward in the House:

A Broken Bargain for Transgender Workers, co-authored by The Movement Advancement Project (MAP), The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), The Center for American Progress (CAP), and The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), in partnership with Freedom to Work, The Task Force, Out and Equal Workplace Advocates (Out&Equal) and SEIU. This report reveals staggering statistics about how unemployment and poverty disproportionately affect transgender workers in the American workforce.

A small sample of the findings is:

  • Transgender workers report unemployment at twice the rate of the population as a whole (14% vs. 7% at the time the workers were surveyed).

  • More than four in 10 transgender people (44%) who are currently working are underemployed.

  • Transgender workers are nearly four times more likely than the population as a whole to have a household income of under $10,000 (15% vs. 4% at the time the workers were surveyed).

These findings exist despite CAP polling showing that 73% of voters support protecting transgender people from discrimination in employment.  Passing an inclusive ENDA matters.