Students Speak Out: Supporting Our Transgender Peers

Students participated in the LGBTQ+ walkout speak up against Glenn Younkin administration new policies


Leesburg, VA: On September 27th, 2022 Loudoun County Schools from all over participated in a walkout to protest new rewrite of model politics for transgender students. 

Early this month Virginia’s Governor, Glenn Youngkin, releaced policies that pressure all students to use school facilites based on the sex they were assined at birth. On page six of 2022 Model Policies on the Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for All Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools, clearly states, under Statutory Authority and Requirements, “Student participation in sex-specific school activites, events, and use of school facilities.” 

Needless to say, students were not happy. 

When asked why he was out protesting, Evan Harris, a sophomore at Tuscarora said, “I believe in this cause. I myself am trans, and if they’re gonna un-trans my gender, they can’t.” 

Because admin would not let the walkout be publicized at school, having the information for the walkout thrown around facebook and other social media sites, only a few students knew about the walkout. However, though only a small percentage of Tuscarora’s student body came out to help show support, it is true that actions speak louder than words, and many students decided to speak up and actively advocate for, either themselves, or their peers. “It’s basically telling them that they don’t matter. And that eventually, that they just, they won’t be welcome anywhere,” said Eva Ulreich, a sophomore at Tuscarora, “so that’s why we’re here today. We weren’t here today, just to escape class and talk to our friends and walk out, take a little walk outside. This is very important for a lot of students here, and a lot of my friends and me personally, and it will be affecting many people in the state and all around the world.”

Corbin Segna, a sophomore at Tuscarora, said, “I hope that they can keep their preferred bathrooms and their names,” when asked what he hoped the walkout would accomplish for some of his peers. Many of his friends nearby seemed to agree. Harris also agrees with this statement, in hopes, “that ohter people around Virgina are going to also do walkouts.” Harris goes on to explain how being a part of the LGBTQ+ community has given him grate confidence to, “feel empowered being a part of something bigger than myself, and also I hope that enough people participate in walkouts around Virgina that the governor sees this and is forced to take back what he did.”

Though the governor is not the only one who needs to take back what he did. While participating in the walkout some students state how they heard others yelling slurs at people while they were speaking. Roslyn McKerley, a senior at Tuscarora, said, “One of the bad things was that while the speakers were talking and like about the issues that they were facing and that we’re facing together, some of the people in the background we’re saying slurs like the F slur, and I think one of us heard someone say the the N word as well. So it was kind of disappointing to hear people just coming out to skip school and then mocking the actual reason for the protest.” 

With not as big of a turn out as many may have hoped, one can only imagine how disappointed the students, who do feel strongly about these new policies, feel about others going out of their way to being negativity and bigotry to a walkout all about supporting transgender rights. 

When asked about what Tuscaora can do to help transgender students feel safer and more inclided in school, Harris said, “I hoped they banned using slurs.” Students like Harris being shown such little respect, in what was supposed to be a safe space, can surely be frustration and a let down. 

Though Harris does describe the teachers and staff at Tuscarora as being much more open and accommodating. “All of my teachers so far have been supportive and tried their best to use my name and pronouns,” said Harris. 

“We have a GSA here,” said Harris. Tuscarora is fortunate enough to have GSA, also known as Gender-Sexualty Alliance, which you can follow on Twitter @TuscaroraGSA, as well find more information on the Tuscarora website.   

“So to those of you who came out to support I’m so glad that you did. I did not expect this many people to come out. And just like we really appreciate it and like thank you so much,” said Ulreich.