Virginia advocates celebrate as 11 anti-trans bills defeated in one week

A picture of two trans flags waving in an open area.

Virginia’s LGBTQ+ community and its allies celebrated a major win this week, after all 11 proposed anti-trans bills were defeated by state lawmakers.

After a concerning number of US states launched their 2024 legislative sessions by introducing bills designed to target transgender individuals, it’s a relief for advocates everywhere to see at least one state shut down all anti-LGBTQ+ efforts.

Since November 2023, democrats have held a House majority in Virginia, as well as a slim majority in the state Senate. Their stronghold was used to defeat a whopping 11 discriminatory bills that would have targeted transgender citizens – particularly minors.

A trans flag with the words trans lives matter
Virginia lawmakers shut down 11 anti-trans bills in one week. (Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty)

Among the 11 anti-trans bills that were shut down this week are Senate Bill 37 and Senate Bill 68 – both of which were killed by the Senate Education and Health Committee on Thursday (8 February).

While the former would have forcibly outed trans students, the latter would have imposed bans on trans student-athletes from participating in sports teams that align with their gender identity. Both bills were defeated in a 9-6 vote.

The same committee voted 9-6 to kill the proposed Senate Bill 671, which would have allowed parents, guardians, or custodians to withhold consent for healthcare, mental health treatment, or activities that could affirm their child’s gender identity in cases of gender dysphoria or gender nonconformity.

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Elsewhere on Thursday, a bill proposed by the state’s General Assembly chambers, that would restrict definitions of gender was tabled by lawmakers. 

The bill, named the ‘Women’s Bill of Rights’ despite addressing or amending any women’s rights issues, would have defined a person’s sex as that which they were assigned at birth, and would establish that single-sex environments like bathrooms, locker rooms, and athletics teams, were not discriminatory.

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a pink, blue and white trans flag waves in the air before some trees in a setting in the US, perhaps Ohio
Since November 2023, democrats have held a House majority in Virginia, as well as a slim majority in the state Senate. (Getty)

Celebrating this wave of defeats, Equality Virginia tallied that state lawmakers had shut down “one trans medical care ban, two forced outing bans, two anti-trans ‘Women’s Bill of Rights’ resolutions, and four trans athlete bans.”

Executive Director Narissa Rahaman told Washington Blade of the victory: “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.”

Meanwhile, the ACLU of Virginia commented in a celebratory tweet: “VICTORY! ALL 11 anti-trans bills are finally DEFEATED!

“Trans people belong in Virginia, ALWAYS! Anti-trans bills don’t.

“We deserve to live in a Commonwealth where trans people are loved, supported, & safe.”

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