Virginia

Governor-elect picks anti-LGBTQ+ for Virginia Dept. of Education post

Youngkin has said he does not support allowing trans children to play on sports teams that are consistent with their gender identity

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Elizabeth Schultz (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. – Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin on Thursday announced he has named an anti-LGBTQ former member of the Fairfax County School Board to his administration.

A press release that Youngkin released notes Elizabeth Schultz will be the Virginia Department of Education’s Assistant Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Schultz, who represented the Springfield District on the Fairfax County School Board, in 2015 voted against the inclusion of gender identity in the Fairfax County School District’s nondiscrimination policy.

The Traditional Values Coalition, an anti-LGBTQ organization, endorsed her re-election campaign that year. Schultz in 2019 lost re-election.

“Elizabeth Schultz is an education and public policy professional, a prior U.S. Department of Education official, and a former professional senior contracts and negotiation manager with 25+ years of operational and organizational experience serving large, complex public and private sector organizations,” said Youngkin in the press release. “Elizabeth’s work has served the U.S. Departments of Education, Treasury, and Justice; U.S. Customs Service; IRS; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; Secret Service; U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Fairfax County in the areas of asset management, information technology, global and K-12 education.”

Youngkin, a Republican, on Thursday also announced he has named Jillian Balow as the Department of Education’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. Balow had been Wyoming’s State Superintendent for Public Education.

The Department of Education in 2020 issued guidelines that are designed to protect transgender and non-binary students.

Youngkin during his campaign against McAuliffe expressed support for Tanner Cross, a gym teacher at a Leesburg elementary school who was suspended from his job after he spoke out against the policy. Youngkin has also said he does not support allowing trans children to play on sports teams that are consistent with their gender identity.

Youngkin will take office on Saturday.

The Virginia General Assembly’s 2022 legislative session began on Wednesday. Republicans have a 52-48 majority in the Virginia House of Delegates, while Democrats maintain a 21-19 edge in the Virginia Senate.

State Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas), who is the first openly trans person seated in any state legislature in the U.S., earlier this week told the Washington Blade she will continue to fight for trans students in Richmond.

“I will be a brick wall on the House floor, and I will fight my heart out defending trans kids,” said Roem.

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