At Woodgrove High School in Loudoun County, Virginia, a contingent of students staged a walkout, voicing opposition to the district's inclusive gender policy.
The policy, referred to as Policy 8040, was adopted by the Loudoun County School Board in 2021 and permits non-binary, gender-fluid, and transgender students to select facilities corresponding with their gender identity.
Reported by ABC WJLA, the number of students protesting ranged from 50 to 100. Their demand was a return to the previous status quo, where school facilities like bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers were segregated based on sex assigned at birth.
One male student expressed discomfort, stating that the morning locker room routine felt intrusive to privacy when students who are biologically male but identify otherwise, utilize the same space.
"In the locker rooms in the morning it's an invasion of privacy, as I said because when men and natural-born males are in our locker rooms, and they are showering in the morning, natural-born females can walk in there as they please," he said in a statement to WJLA. "And that is not OK. And it goes against what we believe in."
A female student highlighted her fear for safety to the extent of avoiding school bathrooms, criticizing the district for neglecting their concerns and labeling students as extremists when they're genuinely frightened for their daily welfare. She pointed out that many students share her apprehension, avoiding bathrooms and changing in stalls out of fear.
"We express these concerns and they ignore us and write us off as right-wing crazies," she said. "We're not crazy. We just don't want to be in danger on a daily basis in this building. I think it's people finally stepping up and just being sick of it. We're sick of being here and just being completely ignored. I stopped using them [the bathrooms] because I don't know what's going to happen to me in there. And people can be like, 'Oh, well, that's paranoid’."
"I’m telling you right now half the women in this building feel the same way," she added. "We don't use the bathrooms. We hold our pee until we can't. I mean, there are girls in PE [Physical Education class] who still get changed in the bathroom stalls in there because they're afraid of who might waltz in."
Another male student wished for a change room environment where he didn't have to worry about members of different genders observing him, speculating that female students probably share his discomfort.
In the midst of the protest, there were also students displaying pride flags, indicating their support for Policy 8040.
While some students felt the entire school population should join the walkout, others preferred to remain inside, wary of potential repercussions for opposing the policy publicly.