Charlottesville’s political climate has been heating up as we draw nearer to primary elections. Del. Sally Hudson will challenge Sen. Creigh Deeds for the 11th District Democratic nomination for state senator. Voters will have to choose between two different visions for the Democratic party — one more progressive and new against one more moderate and long-standing within Virginia. For Gen Z, this race is indicative of a larger political moment — as we become a larger portion of the electorate, we have the capability to ensure our representatives change as our voices grow. By turning out to vote, we can signal whatever direction we think is best for our nation, prioritizing the ideas of people over party.
Earlier last month, Governor Glenn Youngkin held a town hall to discuss issues related to public education. One seventeen-year-old high school student asked Youngkin about the governor’s proposed policy that transgender students be required to use the bathroom and play the sport that matches the sex they were assigned at birth. Youngkin’s proposal is just one example of recent anti-transgender policies being considered in state legislatures across the country, with 461 anti-LGBTQ+bill in consideration nationwide. Many people often associate anti-transgender laws with K-12 education, but in a recent General Assembly session, another piece of legislation was proposed, that all public schools in the Commonwealth, including places of higher education, limit participation in sports based on sex assigned at birth. Another bill of particular concern would force teachers to out students to their parents. Luckily, these bills failed — but the targeting transgender individuals, especially transgender youth, remains. These anti-transgender policies are not only detrimental to the health of transgender individuals, they violate their human rights and negatively impact their quality of life. We all must make sure that these unconstitutional and discriminatory anti-transgender laws are challenged and refused. Being a true ally means speaking out against these atrocities and standing in solidarity with the transgender community.