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California

Calif. lawmakers approve transgender student rights bill

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

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.

Rich Pedroncelli, AP
State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, urges the passage of a bill regarding transgender students at the state Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, July 3, 2013.

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 one other state education department, in Massachusetts, has a policy granting the same protections.

The 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.

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.

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

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37 more reader comments:

  1. YES, YES, YES!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 5:35pm
  2. It’s About Time

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 5:36pm
  3. Good news!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 5:38pm
  4. Woot !

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 5:39pm
  5. Beth Kepner

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 5:40pm
  6. WOO!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 5:43pm
  7. ca..proud once again!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 5:45pm
  8. <3

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 5:52pm
  9. about time!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 5:54pm
  10. Excellent!!! Now 49 more to go!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 6:00pm
  11. Love how the opponents use personal discomfort as a means to try and deny us rights we should already and have always had. Well, sorry hon, if using a restroom with a trans-person makes you feel uncomfortable, then how do you think we feel. Your discomfort is a form of discrimination, regardless of what you say. When you feel discomforted around us, it is bigotry. All we ask is to be treated fairly, not as lesser, not as half or even not human. We’re more than a medical curiosity on National Geographic, we are people! Sadly this is only for students, luckily I live in a county that has full bathroom rights though. It’s a start, may it lead to more state-wide resolutions in the future.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 6:15pm
  12. w.o.o.t.!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 6:28pm
  13. i am glbt..but there are just some things i still don’t agree with..and that is my right too

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 6:36pm
  14. Awesoooooome xD

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 6:39pm
  15. It’s about time!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 6:43pm
  16. Well, that’s a stride in the right direction! How wonderful.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 7:51pm
  17. I hope Delaware gets on this bandwagon soon. We’ve made so much progress, but we still have so far to go.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 8:28pm
  18. YAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 8:34pm
  19. Plus, their discomfort is not nearly as much as the discomfort of a transgendered student being told what teams/bathrooms/etc they must use… even if it’s not what they feel is right.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 8:35pm
  20. I really need to move back to Cali.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 8:40pm
  21. Exactly.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 8:43pm
  22. HOORAY!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 8:57pm
  23. New York’s legislature needs to pass GENDA in the next session!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 9:06pm
  24. You know… it makes me extremely uncomfortable…. when people try to take away the rights of other human beings. Boom.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 9:29pm
  25. It’s only difficult for the adults to imagine. The kids will have no problem, unless prodded on by a bigoted parent.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 9:41pm
  26. Sensible law!

    Posted on Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 3:57am
  27. Awesome. Haha finally

    Posted on Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 7:27am
  28. YES.

    Posted on Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 7:39pm
  29. Good Job Cali.!!

    Posted on Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 7:43pm
  30. Jasper Heinrichs

    Posted on Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 7:49pm
  31. nice

    Posted on Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 7:52pm
  32. finally lawmakers are getting something right for a change.

    Posted on Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 7:54pm
  33. about time! Good for the students!

    Posted on Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 8:47pm
  34. Thank you.

    Posted on Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 10:24pm
  35. I am glad that the world is evolving so our children won’t have to struggle in the same way as we did

    Posted on Friday, July 5, 2013 at 6:15am
  36. Yes this is great!!! But I do think that lawmakers should implement some educational classes on transgenders…to educate children that may have difficulty understanding what is happening. .if it is left for the parents to do( those prejudice and biased)..children might develop that same thought pattern. ..which could lead to the bullying and discrimination the lawmakers are hoping end by passing this new law…

    Posted on Friday, July 5, 2013 at 10:09am
  37. finally

    Posted on Friday, July 5, 2013 at 11:45am