A transgender rights bill passed in California this week, and it protects the rights of children from kindergarten through high school graduation. Under the bill, it is a violation of state law to deny transgender children the option of using whichever bathroom they identify with.
The California Senate on Wednesday approved A.B. 1266 with a final vote of 21-9. The bill changes the state education code so that a student is “permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs, and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.”
Passed by the California Assembly, the bill now heads to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for a signature and final approval.
Bill A.B. 1266 was spearheaded by Democratic Senator Mark Leno of San Francisco. Speaking to the Associated Press, Mr. Leno says:
“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 was helped along by the testimony of 16-year-old transgender boy Ashton Lee, who released the following statement via the Transgender Law Center:
“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.”
In the statement, Transgender Law Center’s director, Ilona Turner, said:
“We’re thrilled that the Senate has passed this important legislation, and we are hopeful that the Governor will sign it into law.”
The transgender rights bill follows in the footsteps of the Los Angeles school district, which implemented a similar rights charter in 2005.
A similar law recently passed in Colorado and lawmakers in Maine are set to hear a case that could set a California type precedent in that state.
With a precedent now set, it’s likely that other transgendered rights bills will begin popping up in other forward-thinking States.
Do you think transgendered students should be able to choose whether or not they use the men’s or women’s restroom at school?