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Black people account for 68% of HIV-related arrests in Virginia

Incarcerating people for HIV-related offenses has cost Virginia at least $3.2 million

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Virginia State Police cruiser on patrol (Photo Credit: Virginia State Police Twitter Account)

LOS ANGELES – Since 2001, at least 97 people have been arrested under Virginia laws that criminalize people living with HIV, hepatitis B, and syphilis, according to a new report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. HIV-related crimes are disproportionately enforced on the basis of race and sex, with Black men being the most likely to be arrested and convicted.

Using data obtained from the Criminal Justice Information Services Division of the Virginia Department of State, researchers found that charges were filed in over 70% of HIV-related arrests in Virginia and more than half of them resulted in a guilty outcome, resulting in sentences averaging 2.1 years.

HIV criminalization is a term used to describe laws that either criminalize otherwise legal conduct or increase the penalties for illegal conduct based upon a person’s HIV-positive status. More than two-thirds of U.S. states and territories have enacted HIV criminal laws.

Until this year, Virginia’s HIV criminalization statute contained a felony provision—which prohibited people living with HIV, Hepatitis B, or syphilis from engaging in sexual activity of any kind with the intent to transmit the infection—and a misdemeanor charge for engaging in sexual activity without disclosing a positive status.

“In reality, people have been charged with felony crimes under Virginia’s HIV criminal laws simply for not disclosing their status,” said lead author Nathan Cisneros, HIV Criminalization Analyst at the Williams Institute. “For two decades, Virginia law has singled out people living with HIV for criminal prosecution without requiring actual transmission or even the possibility of transmission. Moreover, the law ignored whether the person living with HIV is in treatment and virally suppressed, and therefore cannot transmit HIV.”

KEY FINDINGS 

  • At least 97 people in Virginia have been arrested for HIV-related criminal offenses since 2001.
  • Black people account for 20% of Virginia’s population, but 58% of the state’s people living with HIV, and 68% of all those arrested for HIV-related offenses.
  • Men comprise 75% of people living with HIV in Virginia, but 87% of people arrested for HIV-related offenses.
    • Black men are 40% of people living with HIV in Virginia, but 59% of all people arrested for HIV-related offenses.
  • Nearly one-fifth (18%) of those arrested for HIV-related crimes had no other criminal history.
  • Charges were filed in over 70% of HIV-related arrests in Virginia. And over half (54%) of all charges filed resulted in a guilty outcome.
  • Guilty outcomes resulted in an average sentence of 2.1 years.
  • Incarcerating people for HIV-related offenses has cost Virginia at least $3.2 million.

Virginia is one of four states, including Missouri, Illinois, and Nevada, to modernize its HIV criminal laws in 2021. Virginia’s new law only criminalizes actual, intentional transmission, which remains a felony, and it removes HIV-specific language. Virginia also revised its donation law to align with the federal HIV Organ Policy Equity Act.

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Virginia lawmakers give final approval to marriage equality bills

Voters in 2006 approved an amendment to Virginia’s constitution that defines marriage as between a man and a woman

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Virginia House of Delegates in session. (Photo Credit: Commonwealth of Virginia government)

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia lawmakers this week approved two bills that would affirm marriage equality in the state.

The Virginia House of Delegates approved state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria)’s Senate Bill 101 by a 58-42 vote margin. The Virginia Senate passed state Del. Rozia Henson (D-Prince William County)’s House Bill 174 by a 22-17 vote margin.

Both bills now go to Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin. 

“Virginians across the political spectrum have taken heart to see these bills receive bipartisan support in the General Assembly,” said Ebbin, a gay Democrat, in a press release. “I hope Gov. Youngkin will sign this critical legislation to create state-level protections for all Virginians regardless of who they love.” 

Voters in 2006 approved an amendment to Virginia’s constitution that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Same-sex couples have been able to legally marry in the state since 2015.

The General Assembly in 2021 approved a resolution that seeks to repeal the marriage amendment. It must pass in two successive legislatures before it can go to the ballot.

“Senator Ebbin and I introduced this legislation to codify marriage equality in Virginia’s Code so that all marriages are protected under Virginia law beginning July 1, 2024,” said Henson, who is also gay. “Codifying marriage equality will assuage concerns from the LGBTQ+ community in Virginia following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022) reversal on abortion rights by the Supreme Court and Justice Thomas’ comments in his concurrence.”

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Virginia House of Delegates passes bill to expand bullying definition

House Bill 536 passed in the Democrat-controlled chamber by a 53-43 vote margin. State Del. Joshua Cole who is bisexual, introduced the bill

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Virginia flag flies over the state Capitol. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia House of Delegates on Friday approved a bill that would add sexual orientation, gender identity and expression to the state’s definition of bullying.

House Bill 536 passed in the Democrat-controlled chamber by a 53-43 vote margin. State Del. Joshua Cole (D-Fredericksburg), who is bisexual, introduced the measure.

“Above all else, our schools must be places where all students can feel safe, supported and free from bullying, and this new, important bill is a step in the right direction toward a more equitable and harassment-free future for all of Virginia’s students,” said Equality Virginia Executive Director Narissa Rahaman in a press release.

GLSEN Executive Director Melanie Willingham-Jaggers in the same press release cited their organization’s research that “has demonstrated that protecting LGBTQI+ children from violence and discrimination results in improved academic performance, a greater sense of belonging in the community and better mental health outcomes.” 

“We applaud the Virginia House of Delegates for passing legislation that includes LGBTQI+ students in the enumerated protections in school anti-bullying policies, while simultaneously rejecting extreme bills that infringe on the rights of transgender students,” said Willingham-Jaggers. “Thank you to the leaders in Virginia and across the country who are increasingly rejecting the politics of division and instead centering safer schools where children can learn and reach their full potential.”

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Pride flags stolen by members of elite U.S. Army ceremonial unit

Specialist Matthew Henshaw, 20, was charged with 3 counts of Unlawful Entry – Bias Motivated & 3 counts of Petit Larceny for the flag thefts

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The two men arrested by Arlington, Va., police on Feb. 2 for allegedly stealing LGBTQ Pride flags from the home of a lesbian couple on five separate days between September 2023 and January 2024 are members of the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Regiment also known as the Old Guard. (Official U.S. Army Photo)

ARLINGTON, Va. – News surfaced this week that two men arrested by Arlington, Va., police on Feb. 2 for allegedly stealing LGBTQ Pride flags from the home of a lesbian couple on five separate days between September 2023 and January 2024 are members of the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Regiment also known as the Old Guard, an elite ceremonial unit that participates in burials at Arlington National Cemetery.

One of the two soldiers, Specialist Matthew Henshaw, 20, has been charged with three counts of Unlawful Entry – Bias Motivated and three counts of Petit Larceny for the flag thefts that Arlington police say occurred Sept. 16, Sept. 30, and Jan. 27. He was released on a secured bond, according to a police statement.

Booking photograph of Matthew Henshaw
via Arlington County, Virginia, Police Department.

The other  soldier, Private First Class Joseph Digregorio, 23, was charged with one count of Petit Larceny for the flag theft that occurred on Jan. 21. Police said he was initially released on a summons, but court records show he failed to show up for a Feb. 7 arraignment hearing at Arlington General District Court and is listed as a fugitive.

Henshaw appeared in court for his arraignment on Feb. 8, where General District Court Judge Cari Michele Steele scheduled his trial date for March 21. 

The judge set the trial date after reading the six charges pending against Henshaw and asking him if he has retained an attorney or needs a court appointed attorney. Henshaw said he has retained an attorney.

He appeared in court dressed in a civilian business suit and tie accompanied by a uniformed male soldier. He declined a request from the Washington Blade for comment after leaving the courtroom following the arraignment.

Arlington police have said in a statement that the case of the Pride flag thefts remains under investigation and anyone with any information relevant to the case is urged to contact them through the police tip line at 703-228-4180.

Police have also pointed out in their statement that the two women, whose Pride flags were stolen repeatedly after they replaced them following each of the thefts, live in a home on the 200 block of South Courthouse Road, which is located less than two blocks from the south entrance of Fort Myer Army Base, where Henshaw and DiGregorio have been stationed. 

During a visit by the Blade to the 200 block of South Courthouse Road on Feb. 6,  at least eight houses on the block had Pride flags either hanging on the sides of the houses or displayed on flag poles.

A resident of one of the houses told D.C.’s NBC 4 News that neighbors of Michelle Logan, 30, and her partner, Jenna Burnett, 27, the couple whose flags were stolen, decided to display their own Pride flags as a showing of solidarity for the two women after learning of the arrests of the two soldiers for the theft of the couple’s flags.

Attempts by the Blade to reach Logan and Burnett for comment have been unsuccessful.

Henshaw did not respond to any of the charges against him during his Feb. 8 arraignment. Under Arlington’s court system, he was not required to enter a plea of innocence or guilt until the time of his trial on March 21, according to a court clerk.

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Court records show that as of Feb. 8, neither Arlington police nor the Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney, which serves as prosecutor in criminal cases, have filed any court documents disclosing the evidence they obtained to support the charges against Henshaw and Digregorio.

Those familiar with the case have speculated that police most likely linked the two soldiers to the Pride flag thefts from video images of the thefts from a security camera that the two women have on their house. The women told the Washington Post and other news media outlets that they posted the video images on social media shortly after the thefts began last September.

“We recognize the significance and impact of their actions and take these charges seriously,” the Army said in a statement released to news media outlets. “The actions of those involved in no way represent the values and character of The Old Guard or our Army,” the statement says. “We will continue to work with the Arlington County Police Department throughout this ongoing investigation.”

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Anti-trans bills die in Virginia General Assembly

Democrats last November regained control of the House of Delegates. They hold a slim majority in the Senate

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Virginia's Capitol in Richmond. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia lawmakers have killed all of the anti-transgender bills that had been introduced during this year’s legislative session.

The Senate Education and Health Committee on Thursday in a 9-6 vote tabled Senate Bill 37, which Equality Virginia said would have forcibly outed transgender students. A Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee on Tuesday killed an identical measure, House Bill 670.

The Senate Education and Health Committee also on Thursday in a 9-6 vote killed Senate Bill 68, which would have banned trans students from school sports teams that correspond to their gender identity. 

The same committee on Thursday tabled an identical measure, Senate Bill 723. House subcommittees on Tuesday killed two bills — House Bill 1120 and House Bill 1229.

Lawmakers killed or tabled an anti-trans “Women’s Bill of Rights” that had been proposed in both General Assembly chambers. 

The Senate Education and Health Committee on Thursday by a 9-6 vote margin killed Senate Bill 671, which would have banned transition-related health care for minors in Virginia.

State Sen. Christopher Head (R-Botetourt County) on Thursday withdrew Senate Bill 153, which would have allowed a “medical practitioner, health care institution or health care payer not to participate in or pay for any medical procedure or service that violates such medical practitioner’s, health care institution’s or health care payer’s conscience.” A House subcommittee last month killed an identical bill.

Democrats last November regained control of the House. They hold a slim majority in the Senate.

“Equality Virginia is grateful to the pro-equality majorities in the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate, which have prioritized the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ — and especially transgender and nonbinary – Virginians,” said Equality Virginia Executive Director Narissa Rahaman in a press release.

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Virginia police arrest two men in theft of Pride flags

This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with info related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Police

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Booking photograph of Matthew Henshaw via Arlington County, Virginia, Police Department.

ARLINGTON, Va. – Police in Arlington announced on Friday evening that they have arrested two men for allegedly stealing LGBTQ Pride flags from the home of a lesbian couple who reported their flags were stolen on five separate days between September 2023 and January 2024.

In a statement, police said they charged Matthew Henshaw, 20, of Fort Myer, Va., with three counts of Unlawful Entry – Bias Motivate and three counts of Petit Larceny for the flag thefts that occurred Sept. 16, Sept. 30 and Jan. 27. The statement says he was released on a secured bond.

The statement says Arlington police also arrested Joseph Digregorio, 23, of Bay Shore, N.Y., on one count of Petit Larceny for the flag theft that occurred on Jan. 21. He was released on a summons, according to the police statement. 

“This remains an active criminal investigation,” the police statement says. “Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected].” 

Police spokesperson Ashley Savage declined to disclose whether Henshaw is a member of the U.S. military, possibly the U.S. Army, in response to a question from the Washington Blade. The police announcement says Henshaw is “of Fort Myer, Va.,” which is a U.S. Army base located a short distance from the house where the lesbian couple lives and where the flags were stolen. The couple lives in the 200 block of South Courthouse Road, according to information released by police.

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Online court records show that Henshaw was scheduled to appear for an arraignment at Arlington General District Court at 2  p.m. on Monday.

“Within hours after it would come down, we would put it back up,” Michaelle Logan, 30, told the Washington Post in describing the repeated thefts of the couple’s Pride flag.

“It was just a constant wave of putting it back up and it being taken down,” she told the police.  

Logan and her partner, Jenna Burnett, 27, also told the Post that their home security camera captured images of a man wearing a cowboy hat pulling down the flag on two of the five times it was removed. 

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Virginia police investigating thefts of lesbian couple’s Pride flags

The two women said they began raising money from neighbors and friends on social media in response to the theft of their Pride flags

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Photo Credit: The Arlington County, Virginia, Police Department

PENROSE, Va. – Police in Arlington County are investigating the repeated theft of an LGBTQ Pride flag at the home of a lesbian couple that took place on at least four different days between Sept. 16, 2023, and Jan. 21, 2024, according to a police statement released to the Washington Blade.

The statement says the home where the thefts took place is located on the 200 block of South Courthouse Road, which is near the sprawling Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. Police have listed the thefts as larcenies that remain under investigation.

“Within hours after it would come down, we would put it back up,” Michelle Logan, 30, told the Washington Post, which published a story on the thefts on Jan. 29. “It was just a constant wave of putting it back up and it being taken down,” Logan told the Post. 

Logan and her partner, Jenna Burnett, 27, also told the Post that their home security camera captured images of a man wearing a cowboy hat pulling down the flag on two of the four times the flag was removed.

The police statement obtained by the Blade says the reporting party told police a male suspect and two male witnesses approached the house on Sept. 16, with one of the suspects removing the Pride flag before fleeing the scene on foot. The statement says the person removing the flag is described as a white male.

The Blade couldn’t immediately reach the couple for comment.

The two women told the Post they believe the same male suspect wearing a cowboy hat removed the flag the second time on Sept. 30 based on images from their security camera. The police statement says police received reports that the flag was stolen at the same location again on Dec. 16 and at least one more time on Jan. 21, but no description of a suspect was given for those two instances.

The Post reports that the women said their video camera captured the image of a man without a cowboy hat removing the flag and the flagpole from their porch and walking away during the most recent incident.

The two women told the Post they began raising money from neighbors and friends on social media in response to the theft of their Pride flags and have been donating the money to the Trevor Project, a nonprofit group that provides support and a crisis hotline for LGBTQ youth. They said at least one neighbor sent them two Pride flags in case the thefts continue.  

“The investigation into these incidents is ongoing,” the police statement says. “Anyone with information or home surveillance that may assist the investigation is asked to contact the Arlington Police Department’s tip line at 703-228-4179 or [email protected],” the statement says. “Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477),” it says.

In a separate case, police in Montgomery County, Md., reported an unidentified suspect was captured on a video security camera on Nov. 7, 2023, tearing up and pulling down part of a two-story tall LGBTQ Pride banner from the outside wall of Bethesda United Methodist Church in Bethesda, Md. That case also remains under investigation according to police.

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Virginia Senate committee delays repeal of marriage amendment

The General Assembly approved a resolution in 2021 to repeal the amendment but it requires two successive sessions to approve it for ballot

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The Virginia Capitol building in Richmond, Virginia. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

RICHMOND, Va. – A Virginia Senate committee on Tuesday delayed consideration of a resolution that seeks to repeal a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

The Associated Press reported the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee voted not to consider state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria)’s Senate Joint Resolution 11 during this year’s legislative session. Lawmakers also opted to postpone consideration of proposed constitutional amendments that would expand access to abortion and reform the system that allows felons who have completed their sentences to have their civil rights restored.

Democrats currently hold a 21-19 majority in the state Senate. They regained control of the Virginia House of Delegates last November.

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin will remain in office until his term ends in 2025.

Voters in 2006 approved an amendment to the state constitution that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Same-sex couples have been able to legally marry in Virginia since 2014.

The General Assembly in 2021 approved a resolution that seeks to repeal the amendment. It must pass in two successive legislatures before it can go to the ballot.

The state Senate last year approved Ebbin’s resolution that sought to repeal the marriage amendment. Senators in 2023 also passed the gay Alexandria Democrat’s marriage equality affirmation bill.

A House of Delegates subcommittee last year tabled the resolution. State delegates also did not consider the marriage equality affirmation bill before the 2023 legislative session ended.

State Del. Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax County) has introduced a separate resolution in the House Delegates that seek to repeal the marriage amendment. Ebbin and state Del. Rozia Henson (D-Prince William County) have also sponsored bills that would reaffirm marriage equality in Virginia.

The AP reported the Senate Privileges and Elections Committees on Tuesday also rejected Republican-sponsored bills that critics say would have restricted voting in Virginia.

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Fairfax County Va. schools head sworn in, uses banned books

“It is a chilling thing. Pray for this nation every day. We are in a spiritual war between good and evil. God deliver us”

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Fairfax County School Board member Karl Frisch taking the oath of office Wednesday, December 13, 2023 on a stack on LGBTQ books banned in other school systems. (Screenshot/YouTube FCPS)

FAIRFAX, Va. – Fairfax County School Board member Karl Frisch was sworn into office this past week as the newly elected Chair during the board’s regular meeting session on Wednesday, December 13.

Currently the Board’s Vice Chairman, Frisch won reelection last month by more than 30 points and received a larger share of the vote (67%) and more total votes than in 2019, when he secured more votes than any School Board candidate in Providence District history.

Frisch was elected as the board’s Providence District representative in 2019, becoming the board’s first openly gay member. Since assuming office, Frisch has been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ rights and the American Civil Liberties Union, Capital Pride, FCPS Pride and other organizations have recognized him for it.

Following last night’s Oath of Office, the new Board remains not only entirely Democratic but also diverse like the community it serves, with one Black member, one Hispanic member, two Indian American members, one Korean American member, three LGBTQ+ members, and three immigrant members. Additionally, women are the Board’s majority, with seven members.

Frisch was sworn in on a stack of the five LGBTQ-themed books most frequently banned by other school systems. Those books included “Lawn Boy,” “Gender Queer,” “Flamer,” and “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” all of which have been criticized and flagged by other schools for sexual content. His action mirroring that of newly appointed Central Bucks Board of School Directors, Karen Smith in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Unlike other her newly sworn fellow Board members who placed their hands on the more traditional Bible, Smith opted to use a stack of books on LGBTQ+ themes and race that had been banned by the previous board.

In a short speech, Frisch told the audience gathered in the auditorium: “Fairfax County residents want safe and inclusive schools with exceptional, well-compensated educators and equitable access to the rigorous academic and enrichment opportunities every student needs to succeed. I am grateful for the trust Providence District families have placed in me, and with tonight’s Oath, I commit to standing strong for these values and advancing these priorities with my new and returning colleagues.”

Conservatives and right wing Christian groups expressed dismay and anger over Frisch’s actions.

Far-right political action group Convention of States said: “Frisch has emerged as an enemy to one of the most fundamental rights in human society — a parent’s right to educate their kids according to their values. But more than that, by openly promoting pornography in a K-12 school, he has crossed a line that should be universally condemned.”

Former Trump White House Director of Strategic Communications Mercedes Schlapp called it; “Disgusting.”

Philadelphia’s AM-990 and Salem News Channel right leaning talk-show radio host Chris Stigall said; “This is the Left’s new thing. The new Central Bucks Pa School District President did the same. It’s not just shoving graphic materials in kids’ faces, it’s also extending a middle finger to believers at the same time.”

Christian conservative radio host and author Eric Metaxas said of Frisch; “We have never before seen American figures publicly mock God like this. It is a chilling thing. Pray for this nation every day. We are in a spiritual war between good and evil. God deliver us.”

FCPS School Board Swearing-In Ceremony – 12/13/2023

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Virginia school board says no to grant from LGBTQ nonprofit

“The LBGTQ agenda in schools is about indoctrination and grooming our children into an evil and wicked lifestyle”

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E.C. Glass High School/Facebook

LYNCHBURG, Va. – At its regular board meeting last week, the Lynchburg City School Board  voted 7-2 against accepting a grant from the LGBTQ-focused nonprofit It Gets Better Project. The Lynchburg News and Advance reported that the $10,000 grant was earmarked to develop a safe-space or “quiet room.”

The E.C. Glass High School Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) club was awarded the grant back in August as part of the non-profit’s “50 States 50 Grants 5,000 Voices” program, an “initiative to fund projects that support and uplift LGBTQ+ identity in schools across the U.S. and Canada.”

In an interview with Lynchburg’s WSET ABC 13 News, Brittany Harris, co-president of the GSA Club, said that E.C. Glass was the first school in Virginia to be awarded the money from the grant.

“We worked so hard to get this,” Harris said. “We submitted videos and testimonials from our students and how they have conquered so much; it was so surreal to be awarded the grant.”

During the October 24 school board work session meeting, Board Chairman Dr. Atul Gupta and LCS Superintendent Dr. Crytsal Edwards told E.C. Glass principal Daniel Rule to provide more information on it and answer questions about the grant. This was also requested of the student GSA officers.

“Many schools within LCS already have such rooms and they have been shown to promote student self-regulation and are correlated to better student outcomes,” Rule told the board at that meeting.

“The students selected this project due to the high rate of bullying that the LGBTQIA+ community experiences, but the entire school would be welcomed and encouraged to use the room. The budget for the room includes flexible seating, interactive sensory devices, non-intrusive lighting and white noise machines,” Rule added.

During the Nov. 14 meeting the Lynchburg News and Advance reported that five E.C. Glass students and GSA club members told the board why they applied for the grant and why they picked the projects it’s intended to fund.

“Many students, including myself, struggle with mental health. School can be overwhelming just by itself, but a lot has happened in the last three or four years, what with the uncertainty of COVID along with the many lockdowns and how those have affected students,” junior Lindley Crosby said.

“Students have skipped school because they don’t feel safe or they don’t feel supported and these classrooms can be disruptive and chaotic and sometimes it can be too much. We want to provide this safe room so they have somewhere to go and breathe for a second.”

There were points that the meeting became contentious, a grandparent and guardian of an E.C. Glass student, Greg Barry, spoke in opposition to the grant: “Let me be very clear, the LBGTQ agenda in schools is about indoctrination and grooming our children into an evil and wicked lifestyle, all while circumventing the rights and responsibilities of parents,” he said.

Lynchburg school board rejects grant for LGBTQ+ high school safe space:

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Virginia Beach schools adopt new policy for transgender students

This decision was made following more than a year of student walkouts protesting Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s new guidelines

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Virginia Beach School Board adopts revised transgender model policies. (Screenshot/YouTube WAVY)

By Cal Benn | VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. – The Virginia Beach School Board on Tuesday in a 9-1 vote approved an updated policy for transgender and nonbinary students.

The new policy will require teachers to use pronouns and names that are on official record with exceptions for nicknames commonly associated with the student’s legal name. If a student requests anything else, teachers will be required to report it to the parents. Students must also use bathrooms and participate in sports teams that correspond to their assigned sex. 

This decision was made following more than a year of student walkouts protesting Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s new guidelines for trans and nonbinary students and the formation of Students4Trans. Several parents before the vote came out in support of the policies and voiced their opinions as well to the board.

Board member Jessica Owens is the only one who voted against the policy.

“My sticking point being the issue of not being able to address students in the manner that they would like to be addressed,” she said.

Arlington County Public Schools, Fairfax County Public Schools and Prince William County Schools are among the Virginia school districts that have refused to implement them.

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Cal Benn, is a journalism major at Emerson College who is in D.C. with the Washington Center, and is a Fall intern at the Washington Blade.

Benn’s work focuses on human rights, climate change and how the two issues intersect. They are also passionate about sustainability, advocacy and writing and enjoy skateboarding and playing with their cats when they are not writing.

VB School Board adopts revised transgender model policies:

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