Research on Transgender Youth

ACPS has published its Draft Transgender Policy. This policy is meant to take effect for the 2021-2022 school year for all K-12 schools. The school board is expected to vote on this policy during their August 12th meeting. The district held an information session on Wednesday, July 28th. It was a virtual one-way session, meaning no questions or comments were permitted.

In this post we evaluate some of the claims made by ACPS, we provide additional relevant statistics on transgender youth, and we provide suggested questions for your school board members.

If you have concerns about this policy: now is the time to act! The division has created an email address, TransgenderPolicyFeedback@k12albemarle.org, for questions and comments from the public. They stated, “All questions will be answered and posted online prior to the August 12 school board meeting” (July 16th Press Release).

ACPS is proposing an expansive policy. What evidence have they given for the need for this policy? Is it reliable evidence?


How many transgender students are in ACPS K – 12 schools?

Note: ACPS has never provided an estimate of the number of transgender students that this policy is designed to protect.

I’ve heard that transgender children have an increased risk of suicide.  How will this policy help keep them safe?

Note: ACPS has not mentioned suicide risk in transgender youth. We are including it here because we believe it to be relevant to this proposal.

Transitioning is a big decision. What do we know about adults who transitioned when they were younger?

Note: ACPS has not provided any research on the long-term effects of transitioning during childhood. We are including it here because we believe it to be relevant to this proposal.

Suggested Questions for ACPS:

  • ACPS has had an anti-bullying policy in place since 2005 (https://www.k12albemarle.org/for-students/bullying-prevention#6). Is there evidence that this policy isn’t working to protect all students, including transgender? And if so, shouldn’t that policy be amended?
  • How does this policy meet the requirement to “address common issues regarding transgender students in accordance with evidence-based best practices” (Code of Virginia, § 22.1-23.3)? Where is the evidence for these practices that you propose?
  • In the proposed ACPS Transgender Policy, you are advocating for the suppression of records from the “official record” and/or from parents who are deemed “unsupportive” of a child’s transition. How can this comply with FERPA, given that gender identity is not listed as a FERPA exemption?
  • Were you aware that according to the Trevor Project (2020)’s research, 52% of transgender youth consider suicide? (https://www.thetrevorproject.org/survey-2020/?section=Introduction).
    Therefore, if a student confides to the school that they are transgender, the school is then aware that the child has an increased risk of suicide. How can you justify keeping this information from parents? Are you comfortable with parents not knowing that their child is experiencing gender dysphoria and is therefore at increased risk of suicidal ideation?
  • Are you aware that 60-90% of transgender youth turn out to no longer be transgender in adulthood?(http://www.sexologytoday.org/2016/01/do-trans-kids-stay-trans-when-they-grow_99.html) In their reasons for detransitioning, individuals cite the following: gender dysphoria was related to other issues (70%), health concerns (62%), transition did not help dysphoria (50%) (Vandenbussche (2021).These are compelling statistics and they beg the question: How do you know it is in the best interests of children to encourage transition?
  • If a primary motivation behind allowing transgender students to use the single-sex bathroom that aligns with their gender identity is eliminating their discomfort, why does the discomfort of 0.7% (according to the Williams Institute), outweigh the potential discomfort of 99.3% of the non-transgender population? 
  • In 2012, Christopher Hambrook assaulted women in homeless shelters in Toronto, gaining access by falsely claiming he was a trans woman:

“Hambrook may not have genuinely believed he was a woman, but his subjective belief is legally irrelevant when the standard is how he identifies himself to others.” (from Price, 2020.  Women’s Spaces, Women’s Rights: Feminism and the Transgender Rights Movement Transgender Rights Movement.  Marquette Law Review). 

If male students can enter the girl’s bathroom without being confronted, how will you keep my daughter safe in the bathroom from would-be sexual predators falsely claiming to be transgender females?