FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NOVEMBER 17, 2021
Judge’s Ruling Does Not Grant Teachers License to Discriminate
LOUDOUN COUNTY, VA — Today, a Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge granted our motion to file an amicus brief in the case Cross v. Loudoun County School Board. Joining with several other stakeholder organizations and represented by both the ACLU and ACLU Virginia, the 28-page brief highlights the “critical protections to transgender and gender-expansive students” that School Board Policy 8040 provides. With this brief accepted, we reaffirm our belief that the motion for a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order should be denied, and claims five through nine of their Amended Complaint should be dismissed.
It should be noted that in the ruling today, the courts only found that teachers have a right to free speech in their personal capacity. This does not apply in any way to the treatment of transgender students during a teacher's role as an educator, including using the student's name and pronouns. Failing to affirm a child's gender identity had been confirmed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and many other professional, medical, and mental health organizations to be a harmful practice that can increase rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation among children and teenagers.
“We will do everything in our power to help protect these students. These are our children's lives at stake,” said President Cris Candice Tuck. “Policy 8040 is one of the key pieces needed to continue to protect transgender students and afford them the basic human right of an equal education and dignity in our community.”
With respect to transgender students, allowing student athletes to participate based on their gender identity in sports has been governed by the Virginia High School League, a private organization, since early 2014 with absolutely no issues or challenges. In 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear a challenge to the case that permitted transgender students to use locker rooms and bathrooms in accordance with their gender identity, setting precedent in state law that can not be overturned by local rulings. Within Policy 8040, only the use of a student’s name and pronouns that fit their gender identity has not been challenged in court yet. The notion that refusing to use the names and pronouns of transgender students is a religious belief is disingenous, at best, and, at worst, abusive behavior towards a minor. Equality Loudoun stands firm in the principle that basic decency and respect should be afforded to every student to enable them to learn in a safe environment, which includes respecting a child’s gender identity through the use of facilities, student participation, and their proper name and pronouns.
Founded in 2003, Equality Loudoun (EQLOCO) is Loudoun’s largest nonprofit organization fighting to promote, protect, and defend LGBTQ+ equality in Loudoun County.