Gov. Brown Signs Transgender Student Rights Bill

Gov. Brown today signed AB 1266, the bill that allows transgender students to participate in sports and other activities, as well as use bathrooms, based on their gender identity as opposed to their sex at birth.

The deadline for Brown’s signature was Tuesday, Aug. 13, although the bill would still have become law without it.

This morning, before Brown passed the bill into law, San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, the bill’s sponsor, urged Brown to do just that.

“While many California school children are already protected by policies in some of our biggest school districts, other districts don’t seem to understand that transgender students should have equal access to all programs and facilities,” Ammiano said in a statement. “I ask the Governor to do the right thing: Sign this bill to protect the kids.”

Last week, KQED Public Radio’s Forum program devoted a segment to the legislation. You can listen to that here

On the program, Eli Erlick, executive director of Trans Student Equality Resources, advocated for the bill by relating her personal experience as a transgender girl growing up in Willits. She said when she was 8, she asked her classmates to treat her as a female, even as teachers and faculty prevented her from participating in classes and programs with other girls. She said she was harassed and ostracized and eventually lost all of her friends. Her grades dropped and she refused to leave the classroom during recess and lunch. She said the school prohibited her from using the girl’s room.

Erlick said there were “thousands and thousands” of transgender students in California in similar circumstances who would be affected by the legislation.

Matthew McReynolds, an attorney for the Pacific Justice Institute, which opposes the law, said that while the question of how to accomodate transgender students is a difficult issue, schools should be allowed to present alternative solutions short of full access to bathrooms, for example. He suggested a third restroom alternative or other options that “respected both transgender students’ needs as well as the other 99½ percent of students that are not transgender.”

The Arcadia Unifed School District agreed last month to treat a female-born transgender student as male, after an investigation by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

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  • fed-up-with-the-crap in CA

    Great! Now we can abolish Title IX! With the passage of this bill, schools should replace gender based sports (e.g. softball vs baseball, girls/boys basketball) with unisex sports teams. Let the lunacy reign forevermore!

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Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks writes mostly on film for KQED Arts. He is also an online editor and writer for KQED's daily news blog, News Fix. Jon is a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S.

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