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California Lawmakers Pass K-12 Transgender Rights Bill

Thursday Jul 4, 2013
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday that would require public K-12 schools to let transgender students choose which restrooms they use and which school teams they join based on their gender identity instead of their chromosomes.

Some school districts around the country have implemented similar policies, but the bill’s author says AB1266 would mark the first time a state has mandated such treatment by statute.

Existing state law already prohibits California schools from discriminating against students based on their gender identity, but the legislation that passed the state Senate on Wednesday spells that out in more detail, said Carlos Alcala, a spokesman for the bill’s author, Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco.

At least two others state, Massachusetts and Connecticut, have statewide policies granting the same protections, but neither policy is in statute, according to the Gay-Straight Alliance Network.

The issue has become a battle in some local school districts around the country. For instance, a Colorado family filed a complaint with the state’s civil rights office in March, claiming that their local school had violated the state’s nondiscrimination laws. The family had been told that their first-grader, who was born a boy, could not use the girl’s bathroom and would have to use the restroom in the nurse’s office or the teachers’ lounge.

California’s bill would give students the right "to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities" based on their self-perception, regardless of their birth gender.

It sparked an impassioned debate on the Senate floor about when transgender students’ right to expression might conflict with other students’ discomfort and right to privacy.

Supporters said the bill is needed to protect students from bullying and other abuse. They also said it represents the next front in their effort to provide equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, just days after same-sex marriages resumed in California.

"There should be certainty that every kid has the chance to go to school and be treated equally and fairly," said Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who carried the bill in the Senate. "We know that these particular students suffer much abuse and bullying and denigration. We can’t change that overnight, but what we can do is make sure that the rules are such that they get a fair shake."

Opponents said the state is going too far if it permits opposite-sex students to use restrooms and locker rooms.

"It is not all about discrimination. Elementary and secondary students of California - our most impressionable, our most vulnerable - now may be subjected to some very difficult situations," said Republican Sen. Jim Nielsen.

Parents, school administrators and school board members would have no say over students who identify themselves as transgender and enter shower rooms or bathrooms used by the opposite sex, Nielsen said, warning that the privilege could be abused by youthful sex offenders.

"Think about the millions of California parents and students who at the least would be extraordinarily uncomfortable with what this bill would impose upon them," Nielsen said.

Sen. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, and Sen. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood, each said that male athletes who are mediocre in competition against their own gender could game the system by competing against female athletes.

"There are kids out there that are struggling, that are having difficult times," Knight said. "But there are also kids that are going to take advantage of the system."

Nielsen and Knight voted against the bill, while Wright was among eight members of both parties who did not vote. Wright also worried that schools could eliminate football and other contact sports if they faced increased liability by letting girls play.

Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, said several major California school districts have had similar policies for years covering thousands of students.

"To date there’s been no single reported incident of any misconduct," Lara said. "Let’s not confuse silly behavior issues with sensitive gender identity issues."

The Senate passed the bill on a vote of 21-9. It previously passed the Assembly and now goes to the governor.

A spokesman for the Democratic governor said the administration would not comment on pending legislation.

Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Comments

  • BlondieSL, 2013-07-04 09:33:06

    [QUOTE]"Think about the millions of California parents and students who at the least would be extraordinarily uncomfortable with what this bill would impose upon them," Nielsen said. [/QUOTE]... welcome to our world. How uncomfortable Gay people were with Pro8 imposed on us! You didn’t seem to give a Fk about that... hmmmm


  • Anonymous, 2013-07-06 03:00:00

    @DerekJA - this is not about gay people or gay rights. These transgender nutjobs are their sick agenda is a war on women and has absolutely nothing to do with gay rights. The T is the bane of the LGBT. Women, gay or straight, do not want dicks in women’s restrooms, locker rooms and showers. Rape is a daily reality for women everywhere. It is infuriating that a 18 year-old grown ass male student can decide he "feels" like a woman and go take a shower with a 7 year old girl. So disgusting and that is what this law allows, not to mention the unfairness of allowing genetic males to compete against genetic females. Goodbye to sports scholarships to anyone with an actual vagina! I have always wanted to participate in the Westminster dog show, but I have human chromosomes, not canine ones so i do not meet the requirements. You use the bathroom and locker room of your sex, this gender bs has got to end!


  • BlondieSL, 2013-07-06 07:30:03

    @Anonymous - sadly, you do make a good point about assholes who will abuse the law and like you say, "feel" like the other sex (I won’t say feel like a woman, because Transgender goes both ways.) The law is intended to help young "actually transgendered" people avoid stereotyping and discrimination. Again, sadly you are right that there will be abusers, both Male AND Female! Like you say, an 18 year-old grown male showering with a 7 year-old girl is disgusting. As disgusting as an 18 year-old female showering with a 7 year-old boy would be. I’m sure you meant it that way as well. And honestly, I do not have the answer on how to avoid that and I wish I did. But with your point, and just throwing that out there, I wonder if there should be some safeguards put in place. I don’t know, but perhaps some medical certifications from both Physician and Physiatrist showing that the TG person is going through transition with help from the medical field? But Anony, transgenderism is not BS when it’s the real thing. I know many transgendered people. In fact, back in the 1980’s, I dated one. It’s not BS, is real, very real. While I do know some Male to Female TGs, I know more Female to Male ones. I do notice that you focus on "males" as TGs and not "females". Again, it does go both ways. In your last sentence, I’m going to assume that the "you" is meant in the general way and not directed at ME personally, because that would totally discredit your entire post as you do not even know me and I do NOT have sex in bathrooms or locker rooms. Please don’t assume all Gay men do that. I’m about to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary (legally married) in a couple of weeks. We have been together now for over 20 years. So again, I’m ASSUMING that wasn’t a short directed at me. I would suggest, however, that you meet some REAL TG people and get to know them. You know, just how Gay people would like straight people who hate, to stop, look, take a moment to KNOW Gay people so that the hate will stop. Once you KNOW, for real, the bitterness and frankly, incorrect attitude will diminish. As for the dog show comments, well, 2 things came to mind... doggy style.. ROFL sorry, couldn’t resist ... but the dog show thing is a poor example. TG is about a misfiring of genes, not interspecies interactions. :) So to sum up, TG is NOT just about males transitioning, it’s also about females transitioning. And yes, there’s lots of that going around. Just like a person doesn’t CHOOSE to be Gay or Straight, a REAL TG doesn’t choose either... who the hell would CHOOSE that! Except, like you say, the ones who "today" "feel" like the other sex.... and you are right about that. :)


  • Anonymous, 2013-07-06 12:54:36

    @DerekJA- I was not addressing you personally in the last sentence (and congrats on your anniversary!) I do not assume that all men are perverts and that’s not what I was trying to convey at all. Genetic males- perverts or not- do not belong in girl’s/women’s restrooms, locker rooms and showers. Period. I do know transgender people and I have no hate for anyone. I believe that every adult should live a life that is authentic to them as long it is does not hurt anyone else. This law, however, does hurt women. It tramples on the rights of women to privacy and safety in sex-segregated spaces and fairness in sports. That is very infuriating. Women DO deserve a safe place to do our business, shower, etc, away from the eyes ( and penises!) of men. What any person "feels" like inside is their business alone, and I am not trying to police that, but your sex dictates where you do your business, not your feelings. I may have only made examples of mtf transgender because this law, in all practicality, is not for the benefit of ftm. I doubt very much that ftm youth are going to start showing in the men’s locker room. They are genetic females and the truth of that makes them vulnerable to rape. The prospect of showering with a bunch of guys would be a scary one for most. Men, not women, lead the majority of assaults on TG people. What we need to be doing as a society, is teaching our boys to be accepting of others, no matter what they wear or how they present themselves. The answer here is educating boys and men and holding them responsible for their behavior and violence. Taking more rights away from girls and women is not the answer and it is not an option. TG is definitely not, as you’ve said, a "misfiring of genes". Most TG are not intersex, most have XY or XX chromosomes and are fully and genetically male OR female. And please do not get me started on the "brain evidence" for TG. There is 0 biological evidence of a "lady-brain" that makes a person love the color pink, pretty makeup and vacuuming. In all honesty, what it "feels" like to be a man or a woman, always and inevitably sounds like a bunch of dated stereotypes. If you think gender is a real, biological thing, than we should agree to disagree there. My dog show comment may have sounded crude, but the analogy could not be more apt. My genetics, my chromosomal makeup, dictates that I cannot enter the contest just as XY chromosomes dictate that you cannot shower with girls. This is not about hate. It is about making men responsible for accepting non-conforming men and not forcing women and girls into potentially dangerous situations with genetic men.


  • BlondieSL, 2013-07-06 13:18:54

    Anony, loved reading your post. Very well put and I totally get where you’re coming from. I don’t have the answer on how this should work. I know that when very young, if a TG or even intersexed person is, for the sake of argument, born a male, but is for all tense and purposes female (just the organs didn’t quit follow suit) that make them use "special" facilities will only bring down more discrimination on them. I love your point too, about training males at a young age to be responsible for their actions. 100% beside you on that. Please allow me to expand that. ALSO, for females to be trained from a young age to also be responsible for their actions as well. Which brings us full circle to this very issue. IF, in fact, again, for sake of argument, that people (let’s say in those very schools), male and female, where taught to NOT discriminate about someone who is TG or intersexed and NOT harass them and make them feel a lesser person, perhaps this law would not have had to occur. What I mean is, (and I might be totally wrong here, I just do not know).. but perhaps having a 3rd type facilities (washroom, lockerroom) for TG wouldn’t be a bad thing, IF WE COULD JSUT TEACH people that there ARE differences and because of this 3rd addition, if I may use that term, doesn’t make those people any less than ourselves. I’m not sure if I’m clear because this is such a tense and difficult subject. But my logic does dictate to me that, in general, in real adult life and very much so in "school-age" life, people can just be F’ing nasty and put others down so much. So, I guess, really, we’re seeing more eye-to-eye that first thought! ;) And thanks for the amazing debate. I love having good debates, even in situations where people do not agree. When done like this, it’s fantastic! :)


  • Anonymous, 2013-07-06 16:32:31

    @DerekJA- It’s good to discuss this with you as well- with the awareness that our experiences as men and women in the world have been wildly different. I specified the need to teach acceptance to our boys in particular, because, as I said, men are predominately the perpetrators of violence against TG people. Women are already conditioned at a young age to be sympathetic and accepting of others. Sure, there are exceptions, but it is a trend that goes back centuries and continues today. We should be teaching ALL children to respect and accept difference in others, but that is a whole other debate on the rigidity and nonsense of gender roles in raising children. Yes, I think they are nonsense and if I ever do have the opportunity to raise a son, he can dress like a princess all day if he wants to, and he will still be every bit the amazing boy that he is. Toys and clothing do not have an inherent "gender"- to think so is ridiculously ignorant and startlingly conservative. If I am not mentioning ftm tg in any of this, it is because ftm are not vocal in demanding access to men’s locker room and showers, for obvious safety reasons that I referred to previously. I am only speaking to how we deal with the issues of today’s TG youth in schools without taking away women’s rights to safe spaces and equality in sporting activities (which is also another debate). I fail to see how private changing rooms or showers would instigate more discrimination or bullying from other students. It is a totally reasonable option and maybe that is the problem- there is not any dramz in this solution and we, the people of the US of A, love the dramz! I am not a conservative person- politically or socially. I was a club kid :P and I have shared restrooms with more genetic males- drags queens and TG- that I could count and I still do on the rare occasion when I go out on the town today. There is nothing "transphobic" about me or my opinion on "gender" laws. This law forces k-12 age girls into situations where their reasonable right to privacy and safety is nullified and that is beyond wrong. If an elementary/middle school/high-school girl does not want to change and shower with her biologically male classmate, that does not make her a "hater" and she should never have to defend herself from those who scream loudly that it does. Sadly, many school-aged girls have already been sexually abused and/or assaulted in their young lives and male aggression is a reality. To force girls to be naked and vulnerable in an enclosed space with genetic males is insane and I see it as institutional abuse. Whether a person "feels" like a woman or is a good person or not, is totally beside any point. Cock and balls have no place in women’s private spaces, even if they are attached to the holy pope "herself" (wouldn’t that be something!). Washington state passed gender discrimination laws recently and there was a case of an adult TG student who was using the sauna at her college and exposing her man-junk to the entire women’s locker room, which at the time, included minors. A genetic male exposing himself to women and minors in any other situation would be illegal, but this person was well with in her rights here and that is what this law allows for, in the entire public school system of CA. This is not an isolated incident. I believe the Washington state law has been amended, along with other state’s laws, to exclude admittance to women’s facilities based on gender-identity when these are nude spaces. I have been to spas all over the globe and I have never seen a woman exposing her male genitals in the sauna or any women’s spa area. In traditional countries, this would have dire consequences, but even in the most liberal of countries, this would never, ever fly! The US really needs to get on the ball with gay rights, CA in particular has been a travesty. However, "gender" laws like this will cause a severe backlash in LGBT rights in this country- count on it. T does not have anything in common with LG or B. The sexuality of LGBs should have absolutely nothing to do with the right to marry whomever one chooses and the benefits that go along with it. But one’s self-proclaimed "gender" does not give one group "rights" that impede on the "rights" of others- the others being 50% of the population. Being accepting and accommodating of TG individuals does not include crapping on the right’s of women to safe spaces. I obviously feel strongly about this and its potential backlash on LGB rights. Joe and Joanna American are not aware of the difference between "sexuality" and "gender". The inevitable backlash against the nonsense of "gender" will, in fact, be a backlash on "sexuality" and that will be very, very bad for all of the recent progress of LGB rights in this country.


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