When stuff happens on July 3, it often goes unnoticed because of the approaching holiday. That appears to have been the case this past Wednesday as well.
The California state Senate approved AB-1266 Pupil rights: sex-segregated school programs and activities, which amends Section 221.5 of the Education Code to mandate that programs, activities and use of facilities be available consistent with a student's gender identity.
If signed by Governor Jerry Brown, California will become the first state to require schools to let students choose their bathrooms and sports teams based on their gender identity.
There was a heated floor debate prior to the vote with the usual predictions about the end of society as we know it. Republican Senator Steve Knight and Democratic Senator Rod wright both argued that mediocre athletes who were boys would be allowed the competitive advantage of competing for places on girl's teams, ignoring the fact that transsexual girls on testosterone blockers actually have less testosterone than genetic females (testosterone is produced in the testis of males and the ovaries of females, as well as in the adrenal glands of both; if the testis source is blocked, trans girls are only getting the minimal amount of testosterone from the adrenal gland). The argument is also made that kids born male have higher bone density, but there has been no connection shown between bone density and athleticism.
Yes, because a cis-gendered youth would definitely pretend to be transgender — bullying, denigration, and abuse be damned! — in order to get into that elusive locker room or win that big wrestling tournament. Can't argue with that absolutely stunning logic.Most of the opposition centered rather around the fear that hormonally-active boys will be able to sneak into girl's bathroom's to be sex-offenders.
--Callie Beusman, Jezebel
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. 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.Democrat Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) pointed out that several major California school districts have had similar transgender protections for a number of years.
To date there’s been no single reported incident of any misconduct,. Let’s not confuse silly behavior issues with sensitive gender identity issues.
--Sen. Ricardo Lara
There should be certainty that every kid has the chance to go to school and be treated equally and fairly. 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.The bill passed the Senate 21-9. Since it is identical to the bill passed in the Assembly 46-25, it now passes to Gov. Brown's desk. His office has declined to comment on whether he will sign it.
--Sen. Mark Leno, bill sponsor
Our view is that California's existing law should already require schools to provide transgender students with equal access to facilities and activities, but in practice, many schools are not complying with that requirement and will not do so unless the Legislature provides specific guidance on this issue.
--Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights
I just want to be treated the same as all the other boys, but my school forces me to take P.E. in a class of all girls and live as someone I'm not. I can't learn and succeed when every day in that class leaves me feeling isolated and alone.
--Ashton Lee, 16, who is seeking to play high school football
Families matter in LAUSD. We've worked closely with students and families to ensure that our policies related to gender identity are successful, welcomed by students, and supported by parents. In addition to longstanding policies banning bullying, harassment, and discrimination, LAUSD has had specific policies banning discrimination based on gender identity for nearly a decade. We have firsthand experience recognizing and valuing the diversity of school communities, which ultimately enhances and enriches the lives of all our students.
--Judy Chiasson, program coordinator for human relations, diversity and equity with the Los Angeles Unified School District, which implement a nearly identical policy in 2005