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Calif. governor Jerry Brown signs landmark transgender student rights bill

Monday, August 12, 2013

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed the School Success and Opportunity Act into law, a landmark bill to ensure transgender youth have equal opportunities to fully participate and succeed in schools programs across the state.

Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.)

The law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2014, is the first of its kind in the country, and requires that California public schools respect students’ gender identity and makes sure that students can fully participate in all school activities, sports teams, programs, and facilities that match their gender identity.

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

Co-authored by State Sens. Mark Leno and Ricardo Lara and Assemblymember Toni Atkins, the bill was backed by a coalition of leading organizations, including Transgender Law Center, Gay-Straight Alliance Network, Gender Spectrum, Equality California, ACLU of California, National Center for Lesbian Rights, statewide teacher and parent organizations, and dozens of other organizations.

Supporters say the law will help reduce bullying against transgender students.

It comes as the families of transgender students have been waging local battles with school districts around the country over what restrooms and locker rooms their children can use.

Detractors said allowing students of one gender to use facilities intended for the other could invade the other students’ privacy.

Such fears are overblown, said Alcala. In general, he said, transgender students are trying to blend in and are not trying to call attention to themselves.

“They’re not interested in going into bathrooms and flaunting their physiology,” Alcala said.

He also noted that the state’s largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, has had such a policy for nearly a decade and reported no problems. San Francisco schools also have such policies, and numerous other districts signed on in support of the legislation.

“Clearly, there are some parents who are not going to like it,” Alcala said. “We are hopeful school districts will work with the m so no students are put in an uncomfortable position.”

The Gay-Straight Alliance Network said two states, Massachusetts and Connecticut, have statewide policies granting the same protections, but California is the first to put them into statute and require them in all school districts.

“Now, every transgender student in California will be able to get up in the morning knowing that when they go to school as their authentic self they will have the same fair chance at success as their classmates,” said Masen Davis, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center, in a statement.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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21 more reader comments:

  1. Its about time

    Posted on Monday, August 12, 2013 at 8:02pm
  2. its the right thing to do

    Posted on Monday, August 12, 2013 at 8:04pm
  3. History was made today. Another victory for LGBT rights. :)

    Posted on Monday, August 12, 2013 at 8:16pm
  4. @ Scott Stack Why the lower-case T?

    Posted on Monday, August 12, 2013 at 8:20pm
  5. I Real Happy!! that has happen for them my PAWS! ARE UP FOR THIS ONE YA FROM OREGON EUGENE AREA

    Posted on Monday, August 12, 2013 at 8:27pm
  6. @ Heather Oh sorry, typo lol. Fixed it.

    Posted on Monday, August 12, 2013 at 8:29pm
  7. Happy!

    Posted on Monday, August 12, 2013 at 8:34pm
  8. I am truly happy to see this! I have a transgender grandson who does not use the school bathroom. He feels like he would get yelled at if he walked into the girls´ and beat up if he walked into the boys´. So, because of this, he waits until he gets home, which could cause serious health problems. I cry many nights.

    Posted on Monday, August 12, 2013 at 8:40pm
  9. Amazing!

    Posted on Monday, August 12, 2013 at 9:37pm
  10. Nana Dee. You are an amazing grandma for caring so much.

    Posted on Monday, August 12, 2013 at 9:47pm
  11. Go CA! :-)

    Posted on Monday, August 12, 2013 at 9:53pm
  12. Anyone know of any transgender children support groups in lower FLorida. My child is now in first steps of transforming and looking to make contact with other parents who have been through this. sorry to post on this link, but wasn´t sure will else to post. can send message if would like to ta;l. thank you.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 1:14am
  13. Awesome. BUT the ONLY FLAW of the bill, it should have gone into effect immediately, not wait till January.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 2:28am
  14. :-)

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 2:28am
  15. Love my state, love my gov.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 2:39am
  16. Ralph. Laws usually can´t go into effect immediately. It would create an immediate burden.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 3:38am
  17. Great, now I have to worry about my daughter seeing a little boys parts, or worse in the bathroom/shower. Or get pummeled by the little boy/girl thats bigger and stronger than them in sports. What about protecting the other kids? In an effort to protect one small group, you have completely endangered another or both. I am all for equal rights, I have nothing against LGBT, but this is a serious breach in our children´s safety, both physical and emotional.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 3:55am
  18. Royce–Get a life! No monsters are gonna destroy your kid´s life. Try to make sure you don´t do it!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 4:48am
  19. Royce, seriously? You and your kids are so fragile and insecure that simply ensuring “one small group” (read: children who are strong enough to know and be who they truly are, and whose physical and emotional safety actually IS breached on a daily basis) can get the fullest from their educational experience, is a threat to other children? That is absolutely ridiculous! I´m not exactly sure why you think your daughter or any other child would be seeing the private parts of other students in the restroom, because generally, people seek privacy to do their business. Additionally, allowing a girl to play football, or a boy to play softball doesn´t “completely endanger” anyone. There is always going to be someone bigger and stronger on a sports team, and there will always be someone small and weaker. It doesn´t really matter if they wear a sports bra, or a jock strap.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 7:37am
  20. Royce do you not understand what *innocent* means? do you honestly think a child would know whats right and wrong about such things? it makes me sick how parents are so obsessed with sexual actions,that they completely become consumed by it.this is where phobia comes in.And did anyone think of this while in school and they were bullied by a much larger and stronger enemy? regardless if it was male or female? of course it causes intimidation but we *those who have suffered such actions* learn that WE must become the stronger.even in sports,there is always one that is bigger and stronger-no matter what and we can either sit on the side lines and go *waaa boohoo* or we can encourage them to become better at what they do,a better person against bully´s and to be the best they can be at sports.which side do you fall on royce? want to make your children hateful as well as cowards? sorry,wont be mine.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 10:39am
  21. ROYCE-YOU ARE A BIGOTED MORON.i remember people in the 50´s and 60´s saying ´im not racist,but my little girl will have to sit in a class with people not from her culture´……..and may i remind you Royce,that the vast majority of sex offenders are cis-gendered men.NOT TRANS PEOPLE YOU F**KING BIGOT!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 11:12am