The school board of Loudoun County in Virginia passed new rules in a 7-2 vote that will protect LGBTQ students, largely those who are trans and nonbinary. The measure has been hotly debated by the community, with many claiming it infringes on their religious rights (because apparently, Jesus wants people to disenfranchise trans students?)
However, the ruling is a very important milestone in the fight for equality because it didn’t take place in a major city. Loudoun county is made up of a collection of small towns over an hour outside of Washington DC. So this wasn’t like Los Angeles or San Francisco voting to protect trans students, this was a county where the largest town is Leesburg, which has just over 52,000 people.
The ruling states that teachers need to address students by their preferred pronouns and gender names. It also requires school counselors to be trained in the specific needs of LGBTQ students, and even allows transgender students to use school facilities and partake in sports and school programs.
The meetings over the proposed new policies made national headlines back in June as PTA meetings brimmed with hatred and anger. One teacher even filed a lawsuit against the school board, and many others threatened to quit.
Luckily, the school board focused on students instead of parents. According to CNN, the Loudoun County school board stated, “LCPS’ number one priority is to foster the success of all students and ensure they feel safe, secure, accepted and ready to learn at school. The school division will continue to do its due diligence in creating that environment and remaining open and transparent with all LCPS partners, community members and stakeholders.”