SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A 16-year-old transgender teen from Manteca, Calif., on Wednesday delivered petitions containing more that 6,000 signatures urging Gov. Jerry Brown to sign legislation that would change the way California public schools treat transgender students.
Ashton Lee says the bill, approved by California lawmakers on July 3, would make school a lot better for him and other transgender students.
The bill 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.
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Some school districts around the country have implemented similar policies, but the bill’s author says Brown’s approval would mark the first time a state has mandated such treatment by statute.
“It’ll let me be a regular boy at my school,” said Ashton.
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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.
The bill is expected to get to the Governor’s desk soon, and he’ll have 12 days to take action.