California | GLAAD | Jerry Brown | Law - Gay, LGBT | News | Transgender | Wilson Cruz

CA Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Into Law Landmark Protections For Transgender Students

6a00d8341c730253ef019103dad489970c-800wiCalifornia Governor Jerry Brown today signed into law a bill that will provide unprecedented protections for transgender students in the Golden State, the San Jose Mercury News reports:

California on Monday became the first state to enshrine certain rights for transgender K-12 students in state law, requiring public schools to allow those students access to whichever restroom and locker room they want.

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown announced that he had signed AB1266, which also will allow transgender students to choose whether they want to play boys' or girls' sports. The new law gives students the right "to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities" based on their self-perception and regardless of their birth gender.

Supporters said it will help reduce bullying and discrimination against transgender students. It comes as the families of transgender students have been waging local battles with school districts across the country over what restrooms and locker rooms their children can use, disagreements that have sometimes landed in court.

Prior to signing the bill, Governor Brown received a petition from transgender high school student Ashton Leigh who had garnered 6,000 signatures in support of the proposed legislation. The bill, named the School Success and Opportunity Act, was introduced by assembly member Tom Ammiano and coauthored by Senator Mark Leno and Senator Ricardo Lara. Carlos Alcala, a spokesman for Ammiano, commented that the bill will help transgendered students have a more normal life during their high school tenure:

Dunk"They're not interested in going into bathrooms and flaunting their physiology...Clearly, there are some parents who are not going to like it. We are hopeful school districts will work with them so no students are put in an uncomfortable position."

Wilson Cruz, GLAAD's national spokesman, praised the bill's passing:

"Well done California for passing a law that protects transgender students from discrimination in their own schools and affirms their identities. This is another step to ensuring that transgender students have the same opportunities at learning and school involvement as all other students."

This comes as the second victory for transgender students in California within the last month. At the end of July, the Departments of Education and Justice found that transgendered students were protected under Title IX and Title VII. The DOJ and DOE's findings were related to a discrimination complaint brought against Arcadia Unified School District in California.

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  1. Bravo

    Posted by: Aaron | Aug 12, 2013 5:54:31 PM

  2. This has the makings of a total disaster.

    Posted by: tom | Aug 12, 2013 5:55:05 PM

  3. This has the makings of a total disaster.

    Posted by: tom | Aug 12, 2013 5:55:07 PM

  4. Jerry Brown-- one of the cool pols. Always has been.

    Posted by: Throwslikeagirl | Aug 12, 2013 5:56:03 PM

  5. wonderful wonderful wonderful. may the precedent be set.

    the world only spins forward and we're finally getting to a place in our culture where gender-identity and gender-expression are finally being understood. this will make it a lot easier for the shining young vanguards to feel safe in their schools.


    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Aug 12, 2013 6:13:20 PM

  6. Truely transgender students should undeniably have the rights to choose accommodations that fit them; but how would a school prevent a truely straight perverts from claiming to be a transgender to be in the same shower room as girls ?

    Posted by: AndyTowlette | Aug 12, 2013 6:36:14 PM

  7. Where were all the transgender people when I was growing up? Good for them we've got knee jerk liberals today.

    Posted by: Josh | Aug 12, 2013 6:40:23 PM

  8. I think school officials would know the difference, Andy T. I don't think many if any kids will actually do such a thing for starters, but this law w/similar language has been in place in several districts for years and nothing of the sort has occurred.

    Anyway, this is amazing news. A great step for trans youth in California, and hopefully the beginning of a wave of similar laws throughout the country.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Aug 12, 2013 6:41:24 PM

  9. Proud of my state!

    Posted by: eric | Aug 12, 2013 6:51:48 PM

  10. I too am proud of California, my home state, in enacting this law, and know that as it's implemented, it will only improve the lives of our transgender friends and their families. However, if the blogs I've read around the state are any indication, parents of straight girls are not so thrilled (note, no parents are worried about naked girls in the boys' showers) over the bathroom/shower situation. Only time, and the realization that little actually changes except for those who are transgendered (for whom this could be life saving and affirming). Eventually, straight people will learn and understand, but it will take time and the eradication of irrational fear for that to happen.

    Posted by: Keith | Aug 12, 2013 7:20:04 PM

  11. @AndyTowlette: Generally speaking, a child has to identify as trans long term in order to use the bathroom associated with their identified gender. That basically means living full-time in that gender, and almost always taking puberty-delaying drugs. If someone were to try to abuse that system by A) changing back and forth quickly, B) not desiring hormones/pubertal blockers C) not identifying as trans full time, it would be readily apparent to their parents, the school administrators, and the psychologists they would have to see as part of the transitioning process. It's not a perfect system, but abuse would be pretty easy to identify and then would be treated the way you would treat any incident where someone tried to sneak into the opposite gender's bathroom/locker room.

    Posted by: Thedrdonna | Aug 12, 2013 8:25:37 PM

  12. Puberty-delaying drugs ?


    Posted by: Pookie | Aug 12, 2013 10:38:40 PM

  13. Yay California and Gov Brown. The most protection for Transgender students in the US!

    Posted by: Tim Miller | Aug 12, 2013 10:42:27 PM

  14. Once again, LGBs are conned into doing the work of heterosexual transsexuals. LGB orgs should focus on LGB rights, not on issues that have nothing to do with gay people.

    BTW, it is only a matter of time until some boy declares himself female and accesses a girls bathroom or locker room. This already happened in Washington, where a middle aged man lounged around int he women's locker room with penis out for the world to see. A bunch of underaged girls on a swim team had to see that. The same thing is going to happen in CA. But it'll be some immature kid with less sense of restraint doing god knows what. The resulting brouhaha is going to be laid at the feet of gay people, who have no stake in this issue.

    Posted by: Jase | Aug 12, 2013 10:46:32 PM

  15. @Pookie: They quite literally save lives.

    Posted by: Thedrdonna | Aug 12, 2013 11:25:29 PM

  16. @TheDrDonna I don't see any visible requirement that the student has to consult a psychologist or show the diagnosis to the administrator in this law. That is why I find it dangerous because it gives the traditional values crowd reasons to deride this law because of alleged abuses.

    Posted by: Matt Munson | Aug 13, 2013 12:48:12 AM

  17. @Matt: it says that a person must be treated according to gender identity. However, gender identity is a tricky idea, because one is presumed to have a certain gender identity based on their gender expression. If someone is claiming a gender identity different from their gender presentation, then they are going to be expected to prove it. This is where psychiatrists and what-all comes in. Expecting school districts to be complicit in abuse of a law like is is somewhat odd, given how it's played out in all the other locations whe these policies are in place.

    Posted by: TheDrDonna | Aug 13, 2013 1:19:06 AM

  18. Great news for California's students, which will stop ridiculous situations of trans kids having to stop going to the bathroom because they're not allowed to go into the one they fit in.

    And again, the occasion for transphobic trolls to storm the place. Towleroad, you really have to do something about your commenting section to stop the abuse by racists, transphobes and even sometimes homophobes. It's becoming a real problem!

    Posted by: Jols | Aug 13, 2013 5:52:32 AM

  19. Here is the nentire law as voted on and signed. Nowhere in the law as written is there any mechanism for preventing any kind of abuse...very scary,


    AB 1266, Ammiano. Pupil rights: sex-segregated school programs and activities.
    Existing law prohibits public schools from discriminating on the basis of specified characteristics, including gender, gender identity, and gender expression, and specifies various statements of legislative intent and the policies of the state in that regard. Existing law requires that participation in a particular physical education activity or sport, if required of pupils of one sex, be available to pupils of each sex.
    This bill would require that a pupil be 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.
    Vote: majority Appropriation: no Fiscal Committee: no Local Program: no

    SECTION 1. Section 221.5 of the Education Code is amended to read:
    221.5. (a) It is the policy of the state that elementary and secondary school classes and courses, including nonacademic and elective classes and courses, be conducted, without regard to the sex of the pupil enrolled in these classes and courses.
    (b) A school district may not prohibit a pupil from enrolling in any class or course on the basis of the sex of the pupil, except a class subject to Chapter 5.6 (commencing with Section 51930) of Part 28 of Division 4 of Title 2.
    (c) A school district may not require a pupil of one sex to enroll in a particular class or course, unless the same class or course is also required of a pupil of the opposite sex.
    (d) A school counselor, teacher, instructor, administrator, or aide may not, on the basis of the sex of a pupil, offer vocational or school program guidance to a pupil of one sex that is different from that offered to a pupil of the opposite sex or, in counseling a pupil, differentiate career, vocational, or higher education opportunities on the basis of the sex of the pupil counseled. Any school personnel acting in a career counseling or course selection capacity to a pupil shall affirmatively explore with the pupil the possibility of careers, or courses leading to careers, that are nontraditional for that pupil’s sex. The parents or legal guardian of the pupil shall be notified in a general manner at least once in the manner prescribed by Section 48980, in advance of career counseling and course selection commencing with course selection for grade 7 so that they may participate in the counseling sessions and decisions.
    (e) Participation in a particular physical education activity or sport, if required of pupils of one sex, shall be available to pupils of each sex.
    (f) A pupil shall be 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.

    Posted by: Kevin | Aug 13, 2013 11:06:56 AM

  20. i love the "what about when rapes start happening?!?!" non-argument.

    what, you think sociopathic rapists are bound by a moral code of respecting "current bathroom/changeroom policies?"


    "well, you know..... everything was fine until they allowed transgendered people to use the facilities of their gender-identity. turns out that was the only thing stopping violent rapists from entering a woman's bathroom. yeah. truth. a little sign on a door was actually a great piece of rape prevention" - words you won't ever hear.

    @JOLS - i agree. on all counts. it's officially TrollRoad now. Andy can either update this interface, and get them out, or do what the GOP does, and pander to the most pathetic worthless scum instead.
    i'm pretty much done here.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Aug 13, 2013 12:30:22 PM

  21. Kiwi - Why do you want to control what other people say?

    Posted by: Hagatha | Aug 13, 2013 1:13:47 PM

  22. i will not now, nor will i ever, apologize for having the balls you'll never have.

    i'm not the one controlling what other people say. you prove you're not man enough to say it publicly.


    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Aug 13, 2013 2:07:29 PM

  23. Kiwi- You said:

    "Andy can either update this interface, and get them out, or do what the GOP does, and pander to the most pathetic worthless scum instead.
    i'm pretty much done here.

    Clearly you want Towleroad to exclude those who disagree with you. I'll ask you again: Why do you want to control what other people say?

    Posted by: Hagatha | Aug 13, 2013 3:00:34 PM

  24. Funny, Hagatha, I never see you calling out the folks trying to get Towleroad to stop posting trans-centric stories for "silencing".

    Posted by: Thedrdonna | Aug 13, 2013 3:05:00 PM

  25. THEDRDONNA - They aren't Kiwi. But that aside, the obvious difference is this: the published content of Towleroad is entirely the owner's business. I can complain about it, and have in the case of the obsession he appears to have with certain celebrities and other common interests of teenaged girls. My objection is when this or any online publication has a comment section and then polices those comments for POV (rather than the usual vulgarities). Whether it's Towleroad or SFGate, a comment section should be as free as possible. People whose feelings are easily hurt, probably should avoid the internet if it bothers them.

    Posted by: Hagatha | Aug 13, 2013 3:15:12 PM

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