A tea party lawmaker has pulled his ‘horrified’ kid out of public school in California because of a newly signed human rights law that, among other things, allows trans kids the freedom to use bathroom and changing facilities they feel comfortable in.
The law, AB 1266, has so enraged California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-D33) that he has joined a small but very vocal number of parents who have pulled their kids from public schools in California because transgender kids can now use the same facilities as their children.
Donnelly reportedly told Fox & Friends on Monday that his 13-year-old son, with a “horrified” look on his face, said, “Seriously, dad? That’s the stupidest idea I ever heard,” before his two sons “expressed real concern over using the bathroom, in particular, with a girl in the next stall.”
AB 1266, signed by Governor Jerry Brown this month, is a groundbreaking piece of legislation that says schools must allow a student to participate in sex-segregated programs, athletics and to use facilities that are “consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.”
Donnelly has now withdrawn one of his sons from the public school system and plans to withdraw his other son in due course. He told Fox, “When you look at this bill, it’s a bad idea on so many different levels that it’s hard to understand how it’s going to help reduce bullying — when you have a group of kids that, admittedly in the LA Times, is maybe 1 1/2 percent to 2 percent of the student population that identify as transgender. If the problem is that you’re not comfortable, how is it a solution to make the other 98 percent share that same discomfort?”
The implication here seems to be that if the majority finds something uncomfortable or inconvenient, it has the right to simply disregard the human rights of a particular minority. That this is alarming barely needs to be said. Nevertheless, Donnelly also highlighted attempts to overturn the law.
One rumored approach is a lawsuit on the dubious grounds that the bill infringes on the privacy of public school students. Commenting separately in a piece for WND, Donnelly said “The right to privacy enjoyed by every student will be replaced by the right to be ogled.”
Except of course, it won’t, because the law changed nothing about sexual harassment in public school bathrooms.
“No 13-year-old girl should ever have to worry about a 16-year-old boy entering showers where she’s showering on the pretext that he is a she,” Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute of Sacramento, is quoted as saying. This bit of scaremongering is sadly typical of the PJI’s tone. Previously, the group attempted to overturn California’s LGBT inclusive FAIR Education Act but found little support.
For this latest effort, Dacus is rumored to be musing a Title IX challenge on the grounds that the bill is unfair to female athletes because it could allow a student who was sex-assigned male to compete in women’s teams.
This concern is overblown because it presumes that there is not room for careful consideration of individual circumstance. The bill instead does allow the California Interscholastic Federation, which presides over competitive sports, to issue guidelines that allow a careful balancing of the law against existing state and federal guidelines. That the PJI has jumped the gun on this is telling.
Another challenge to the law comes from the PJI and other groups who are hoping to collect the 504,700 plus signatures needed to repeal the law by public referendum at the 2014 ballot. They have only 90 days in which to do so and, because the bill has received a positive reception among many liberals and moderates as a common sense law that is sensitive to the particular needs of transgender children, the referendum will not be an easy goal to achieve despite divided wider public opinion.
This will not stop the anti-LGBT groups, however, who, with no hope of overturning the judgment against Proposition 8, have found a new focus for their animus.
It is also telling that both Dacus and Assemblyman Donnelly are prepared to demonize trans kids in order to fight what they perceive as a threat to their socially conservative agenda, and that Donnelly in particular is prepared to pull his child from a public school and preserve the kid’s ignorance rather than risk him meeting a trans kid and having an education in tolerance.
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