Members of the Appalachian Queer Youth Summit, West Virginia's only summer camp for LGBTQ+ teens, have penned a letter to the state Senate opposing SB 515, which would force teachers to out transgender students to their parents. Read the letter below.


To Members of the West Virginia Senate,

We the undersigned are participants in the Appalachian Queer Youth Summit, West Virginia’s only summer camp for teens who identify as LGBTQ+.

We are writing in strong opposition to SB 515, which would force schools to “out” transgender students to their families. This would be a dangerous policy that could cost young people’s lives.

Most of us are fortunate to have support at home, but some of us have been disowned by our biological families simply because we are LGBTQ+. For many of our peers, home is where they experience the most bullying and violence. If a student has come out to a teacher and not their parents, there is a reason for that – it’s because they know their family members aren’t safe.

Forcing teachers to report on students will erode trust and leave transgender kids totally isolated and without any supportive adults in their lives. This isolation can breed despair and leave students even more prone to depression and suicidal ideation.

It is already very difficult to be a young queer person in West Virginia. Please stop trying to make it harder. We ask that you vote NO on SB 515 and stop attacking our community.


Helena, 16, Wood
Kyler, 17, Kanawha
Allison, 17, Randolph
Night, 17, Kanawha
Vinny, 18, Kanawha
Emma, 19, Barbour
Abby, 18, Kanawha
Cyrus, 15, Kanawha
Hayden, 16, Kanawha
Lloid, 18, Kanawha
Skully, 16, Wood
Herbert, 19, Berkeley
Parsley, 18, Monongalia
Juliana, 20, Mercer
Elias, 18, Wood
Ben, 18, Kanawha
Brik, 17, Wirt