Virginia is for Equality

Katelyn Burton, Copy Editor

In September, Virginia students were shocked to find out that school policies regarding transgender students had been rolled back due to the policies proposed by current VA governor, Glenn Youngkin. Outrage rippled across the state, causing protests among the citizens of Virginia who strongly opposed these policies.

Several schools across the state conducted walk-out protests, showing their support for transgender and gender non-conforming students while also expressing their antipathy for the governor’s proposed policies.

Transgender students are already being impacted. Gabriel Chaos, a transgender student at Brookville High School, ran for homecoming king and was voted onto the court, but the administration made him run for homecoming queen instead. Campbell county is a more conservative part of the state, but compared to others nearby, it is a lot more accepting.

“I absolutely think we’re better than the other schools in the area, (Rustburg, Liberty, etc.) but I don’t think we’re nearly as supportive as we can be. I get more support from adults in the Brookville school system than students. I consider myself lucky to go here versus other schools, but there’s some things that are great barriers to transitioning socially in school. Ex. My name h

as not been changed in any of my school’s rosters. I came out in third grade. Most likely, I will graduate with my deadname. It’s things along those lines that never allow me the feeling of normalcy that every cis student has.” Chaos said.

Going about life as a transgender student has it’s differences. “Student life at Brookville is hammered into your head as soon as you start here as a freshman.” Chaos said, “There’s always something to do here, and I appreciate that about this school. However, the student body has prepared me for everything that will probably be said about me in my life. My name for most of my freshman to senior year was transformer. (a pretty cool name in my opinion) most of the people who support me are women, that’s simply the demographic of people who are interested in my cause. On the male side of things, it’s rare (although happens sometimes) that someone expresses support for what I’m doing. The teachers and faculty are much more supportive than the student body has ever been. To the lunch ladies correcting themselves, teachers giving me high fives in the hallway. I’ve been known around school for years, even before things started this school year. Like I said, I’m happy I go to a more liberal school in the district; but it’s far from perfect.”

So, have the walkouts sent a message? Not just to the governor, but to the people the protests are supposed to help?

“The walkouts and protests going on around Virginia are a prominent reason I’m trying to express my trans ‘agenda’ so much. I think that people like me or people who support me are finally realizing that we have a voice. Every walk-out fills me with hope that we can change something in the world. People who have participated are doing so much good and pushing the ideas and feelings of so many students and people that are too scared to express themselves. They remind me that there is truly good in this worlds, and that people our age are willing to fight for the simple right to exist” Chaos said.