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


Sharing: Virginia Anti-Violence Project and Minority Health Consortium condemn the brutal murder of Richmond, VA transgender woman

We are sharing the following press release, sent to us by our friends at Virginia Anti-Violence Project and Minority Health Consortium.

On this Transgender Day of Remembrance, our hearts are saddened by this loss and all losses due to transphobic violence, and our determination to work even harder towards support, education, and advocacy on behalf of our loved ones and friends is renewed.

Virginia Anti-Violence Project and Minority Health Consortium condemn the brutal murder of Richmond, VA transgender woman
Agencies urge community solidarity

November 19, 2013, Richmond VA

For Immediate Release:

The Virginia Anti-Violence Project and Minority Health Consortium condemn the murder of Amari Hill, a transgender woman in Richmond, Virginia that occurred on November 9.

Juan Pierce, Executive Director of the Minority Health Consortium stated, “Our community has lost another ‘gem of brilliance’ to senseless violence and backward behavior. We encourage the community to support efforts to end this violence.” Ted Heck, President of the Board of Virginia Anti-Violence Project, stated, “This is a terrible tragedy to lose a loved member of the community in such a violent manner. We stand in solidarity with the family and the community in the face of this crime.”

In response to this attack, Minority Health Consortium (MHC) and the Virginia Anti-Violence Project (VAVP) offer support to transgender and other community members and organizations to assist in processing this violence and responding in a constructive manner. Support to victims and survivors of anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) violence, including those experiencing fear and distress resulting from this and other hate-motivated violence is the mission of VAVP, along with work to prevent all violence against and within LGBTQ individuals, families, and communities. From Monica Behney, Board member for VAVP, “As members of the LGBTQ community and people of compassion, we must reach out to each other in our grief and outrage at this loss. Moving forward together to educate and advocate to prevent violence may be the best way to remember and honor this beautiful life.”

The Minority Health Consortium works with the LGBTQ community and all citizens to address the stigma and social determinants of health that impact the communities we serve through providing education, outreach and drop-in center activities that include a safe space to explore and discuss issues that impact minorities and youth. The MHC website can be found at

The Virginia Anti-Violence Project works to address and end violence, with a specific focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities across Virginia. VAVP is an organization active since 2006, and currently offers services for survivors of intimate partner abuse, sexual assault, and stalking, including a free and confidential helpline for LGBTQ people in Virginia. The Helpline number is 866-356-6998. VAVP also has resources to support training and consultation with agencies, community groups, congregations, and other interested organizations. The VAVP website can be found at

For inquiry, please contact:

Ted Heck, VAVP Board President
(804) 726-1056

Juan Pierce, MHC Executive Director
(804) 641-1555