Youngkin defends his policies when transgender student confronts him on bathrooms

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has gone viral for defending his transgender policies during a CNN town hall on Thursday.

During the town hall, a young “transgender male” high school student going by the name “Niko” admitted that she was transgender and then confronted Youngkin about his policies.

“Governor Youngkin, your transgender model policies require that students play on the sports teams and use the restrooms that correspond with their sex assigned at birth. Look at me. I am a transgender man. Do you really think that the girls in my high school would feel comfortable sharing a restroom with me?” she asked.

Watch the governor’s lengthy response below:

Youngkin began his response by praising Niko for having attended the town hall with her father.

“So, first of all, Niko, thank you for again asking the question and being here tonight and engaging in this important discussion. I believe first when parents are engaged with their children, then you can make good decisions together, and I met your dad, and I’m glad you’re both here together. That’s really, really important,” he said.

He then moved on to addressing the transgender bathroom issue.

“I also think that there are lots of students involved in this decision. And what’s — what’s most important is that we try very hard to accommodate students. That’s why I have said many, many times, we just need extra bathrooms in schools. We need gender-neutral bathrooms. And so, people can use a bathroom that they, in fact, are comfortable with.”

Incidentally, this particular response provoked a backlash from conservatives who argued that he was giving in to the left by proposing gender-neutral bathrooms.

Look:

Youngkin continued his reply by addressing transgender sports.

“I think sports are very clear, and I don’t think it’s controversial: I don’t think that biological boys should be playing sports with biological girls. There’s been decades of efforts in order to gain opportunities for women in sports. And it’s just not fair,”  he said.

“And I think that’s pretty noncontroversial and something that I think is pretty well-understood. Again, I think these are very difficult discussions, and I am very, very glad to see you and your dad here together,” he added.

Following the governor’s response, he was pressed with more questions by CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“There are obviously a lot of different views on this topic, and you’ve said it should be up to parents. But it’s not that simple, right? Because Niko’s dad assuredly feels different than the Republican mom who was supposed to be here earlier. In that case, which parent do you go with?” the left-wing CNN host asked.

“Well, I don’t think it’s that hard when we start with the basic principle that parents matter. And you know, there are parents who have, unfortunately, been on the other side of not being told what was going on in their child’s life, and I believe that Sage’s grandmother is here tonight,” Youngkin replied.

“And of course, what happened in Sage’s life was that counselors and teachers didn’t tell Sage’s family about the fact that she was transgender. And she got caught up in some horrific human trafficking issues, and they almost lost her. And they didn’t — they didn’t know. See, there’s a basic rule here, which is that children belong to parents. Not to the state, not to schools, not to bureaucrats, but to parents. That’s where the first step has to be,” he added.

Listen:

Sage, a high school girl who got involved in human trafficking after her school refused to tell her parents about her claims of being transgender, is the inspiration behind Sage’s Law.

Proposed by Virginia lawmakers in January, the law would require that any school worker who suspects a student is either at risk of suicide or “is self-identifying as a gender different from the student’s biological sex” report the finding to the child’s parents.

Unsatisfied with Youngkin’s answer, Tapper then said, “I don’t doubt that Sage’s grandmother and Niko’s dad are wonderful. But not every parent is supportive, especially when it comes to LGBTQ students, especially when it comes to transgender students. Then what?”

“Well, again, I believe firmly that parents have a right to be engaged in their children’s lives. And parents want to be engaged in children’s lives. And a child does want their parent. This is a moment for counselors and teachers and parents to come together and deal with what is a difficult issue. But they should do it together,” the governor replied.

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