Excellent news for Care2 activists! On August 12, California became the first state in the nation to enact a law protecting transgender students, when Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1266 into law.
Thank you so much to the almost 6,000 Care2 members who signed our petition urging Governor Brown to end discrimination against transgender students in California schools.
This legislation also happens after 16-year-old Ashton Lee, from Manteca, California, brought his own petition with 6,000 signatures to Governor Brown’s desk.
As he stated to Newsy:
“I was placed in a class full of all girls for P.E., which doesn’t make any sense to me because I’m a boy. Every day going to that class was just a reminder to me that I’m all by myself.”
As a California high school teacher, I am thrilled that Governor Brown has signed this bill into law.
Assembly Bill 1266 guarantees transgender students access to interscholastic sports, gym classes, locker rooms and bathrooms based on their gender identity, irrespective of their biological sex.
Interscholastic athletic commissions in several states, including California, already have policies that allow students to compete on teams that correspond with their gender identities rather than the sex listed on their school records.
Specifically, according to the Transgender Legal Defense And Education Fund, 17 states, including Massachusetts, have policies granting some sort of legal protections for transgender people, as do several school districts around the country, including the Los Angeles Unified School District, but none of these policies are statutes.
This is the first state bill protecting the ability of transgender students to align themselves with the gender they identity with most.
The law, known as the School Success and Opportunity Act, was signed the day before the deadline for Brown to take action.
Brown’s action came on Trans Advocacy Day, when a number of transgender people and their allies were in Sacramento.
“It’s very exciting,” bill author Assemblyman Tom Ammiano said in a brief phone call to the Bay Area Reporter. “I’m flabbergasted.”
Ammiano, a gay San Francisco Democrat, had released a statement early Monday asking the governor “to do the right thing.”
“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,” stated Ammiano.
This is a powerful move by Governor Brown, and one that should decrease bullying and create a more welcoming environment for transgender students in California schools. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2014.
Kudos to Governor Brown for putting this legislation in place.
Photo Credit: National Clearing House on Families and Youth