PFLAG BLUE RIDGE CALLS ON VHSL TO REVISE TRANSGENDER STUDENT-ATHLETE POLICY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

PFLAG BLUE RIDGE CALLS ON VHSL TO REVISE TRANSGENDER STUDENT-ATHLETE POLICY

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.

Contact:
Jane Cornelius, President
Karen Barker, Secretary
PFLAG Blue Ridge
pflagbr@gmail.com

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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 www.pflagblueridge.org.


Harrisonburg Group: New Meeting Location!

Blue Ridge Hall

PFLAG Blue Ridge’s Harrisonburg group will be meeting in a new location beginning this Thursday, November 7th.

The new location is on the JMU Campus in Blue Ridge Hall, Room 309. Blue Ridge Hall is located at 601 University Avenue in Harrisonburg.

Our meeting time remains the same, from 6:30-8:00 p.m., and coincides with the Shenandoah Valley YES! Alliance youth group meetings which take place down the hall in room 326.

Those interested are welcome to contact facilitator Mark with any questions!

Announcement Regarding Change In Charlottesville Group Meetings

In an effort to best respond to the needs of our community and the members we serve, PFLAG Blue Ridge is making the following change to our Charlottesville group meetings, which meet on the 3rd Monday of each month at ASG:

Our Charlottesville meetings will now be designated for parents/families of transgender youth.

The majority of our regular participants over the last year and a half have been parents and caregivers of trans* and gender nonconforming children and teenagers, and a large majority of our contacts seeking support are related to gender identity questions.

We feel that this change in our meeting format will offer means of providing a regular “safe space” for those families who are looking for in-person support, and allow us to better focus our group’s mission.

Our Harrisonburg group remains open to LGBTQ+ individuals and allies.

As always, individuals looking for peer support or who have other needs beyond the scope of our Charlottesville group meetings are welcome to contact us, and one or more of our volunteers will be happy to meet with you in person, or talk by phone or email.

Harrisonburg Support Group Info

Tonight, February 7th, PFLAG Blue Ridge offers our first support group meeting in Harrisonburg. We will be meeting at the JMU LGBT & Ally Education Center, located in Montpelier Hall on the James Madison University Campus. The JMU LGBT&A Center is on the 5th Floor, to the left as you exit the elevator.

You can find a map and the location address on the Harrisonburg page at our website. Please note that due to ongoing construction, you cannot enter the parking lot at the front of Montpelier Hall directly off Cantrell. Drivers will want to take Madison, and then a left into the parking lot to loop around behind the building, arriving back in front. Parking is directly in front of Montpelier in the spaces marked for Health Center parking.

Beginning next Month, our 1st Thursday Harrisonburg meetings will be held in the Gandhi Center space at JMU’s Cardinal House, and will coincide with a youth support group meeting hosted by Shenandoah Valley YES! Alliance. We are thrilled to partner with YES! in bringing this support to the Valley.

PFLAG Blue Ridge Announcing Harrisonburg Support Group Meetings

lgbta logoPFLAG Blue Ridge is proud to announce that beginning in February, we will be offering support group meetings on the 1st Thursday of the month in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

We are partnering with JMU’s LGBT & Ally Education Center to bring these group meetings to the Harrisonburg community. They will be located in the JMU LGBT & Ally space in Montpelier Hall on JMU’s Campus, 5th Floor. More information here.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions!