Effort to Repeal California’s Transgender Student Rights Law Fails to Qualify for Ballot


Efforts to collect enough signatures for a ballot measure that would repeal a new California law protecting transgender students have failed, the AP reports.

619, 387 signatures were submitted. To qualify, at least 504,760 of those needed to be valid.

Governor Jerry Brown signed the protections into law in August 2013. They require public schools to allow those students access to whichever restroom and locker room they want.

California Republicans approved a resolution supporting the law's repeal in October 2013.

NCLR reacts and reports on the efforts, via press release:

The law—also known as Assembly Bill 1266—went into effect on January 1st, ensuring that schools have the guidance they need to make sure all students, including those who are transgender, have the opportunity to do well in school and graduate.

The law is modeled after policies and practices that are already working well in several schools, and gives important guidance to educators so they can work with students and families on a case-by-case basis. 

Oakland’s Redwood Heights School is among the California schools with policies in place that provide transgender young people with fair chances. Like other schools with similar policies across the state, the policy has been successful since it was established five years ago.  

“We want our students to know that when they walk onto this campus, they are welcomed for who they are,” said Redwood Heights Principal Sara Stone. “Every educator I know went into the education field because they truly care about young people and making sure they have everything they need to do well in school.”

The law helps students like Zoey, a 12-year-old transgender girl from the Los Angeles area who transferred out of her school after administrators there refused to acknowledge her as a girl or allow her to use the girls’ restroom. Her mom, Ofelia Barba, says that the law makes it easier for her daughter to go to school and be herself.

“I love my daughter and want the same things for her that other parents want for their children,” Barba said. “I want what’s best for her, for her to be happy, and for her to be able to do well in school. No one wants to see any kid singled out and excluded from school because of who they are.”

The Support All Students campaign is comprised of a broad coalition of nearly 100 state and national organizations supporting the new law. The coalition includes Equality California, Transgender Law Center, National Center for Lesbian Rights, ACLU of California, Gay-Straight Alliance Network, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, Gender Spectrum, LGBT organizations, racial justice organizations, statewide teacher and parent organizations, and others committed to ensuring that all kids have the opportunity to do well in school and graduate.

Said Transgender Law Center Executive Director and Campaign Chair Masen Davis: “This law gives schools the guidelines and flexibility to create an environment where all kids have the opportunity to learn. We need to focus on creating an environment where every student is able to do well and graduate. This law is about doing what’s best for all students—that’s why it’s supported by school boards, teachers, and the PTA.”


  1. says

    Ha ha! But I never thought it would pass muster in the first place. We’re too relaxed here in California to be so indifferent to the transgender community as end protections for them. Brown is almost 76 years old but still in great shape and a fine Governor. I hope he runs for another term.

  2. Keith says

    I realize that I’m probably wrong, but to have 114,627 signatures proven invalid and thus signify that not enough were submitted to qualify for the ballot seems off to me. That seems to be within the potential margin of error. . .so how does AP know that enough of the gathered signatures were invalid and thus the group didn’t meet the 504,760 minimum signatures required to make the ballot?

    I’ll be glad to be wrong, as I would really despise yet another divisive ballot measure that is intended to denigrate and attack our community. Any experts on this count able to respond would be appreciated.

  3. roger says

    If it goes to ballot, the protections for transgenders will be removed by a large margin. People don’t want men dressing up as women entering women’s toilets. Women are especially opposed to these men.

    If you did a breakdown of current attitudes, you’d find that a huge number of women are opposed to transgenders using women’s toilets.

  4. Robert M. says

    This is more proof that hate filled Christians and other religious bigots are finally becoming less influential. Let’s all hope this is a trend that continues…

  5. Bill says

    @Keith: they did a preliminary estimated count using a random sample. That was too close so they had to do a full count. The process was completed by the State of California: the AP merely reported the results and did not do its own count.

    See http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/failed-to-qualify.htm#1598 where you’ll see a note entitled “Final Full Check -02/24/14″ and if you click on that link, you’ll find a breakdown by county.

  6. says


    You know, my childhood church in Toronto, just this past sunday, had a vote on whether or not to officially become an “Affirming Congregation” (google it if you don’t know what that means). There’d been discussion groups in the church for a while, and before the voting was done there was a final chance for questions and statements. One woman, in her early 70s, stood up to speak, and talked about “marginalized groups”, and in her words spoke about the injustices that face transgendered people. The unfairness of treatment they receive, and how their struggles and issues remain (willfully) ignored by far too many. I spoke about being a gay man, and how I’d grown up in this church, and how when I came out in my teens the congregation that had known me since I was a toddler had always been supportive and embracing of who i was. Longstoryshort – the vote passed, with only *ONE* vote against becoming an Affirming Congregation. And this is a north toronto church, where most members of the congregation are over the age of 60.

    Straight cisgendered people in their sixties – voting to support, and actively promote their support, of those who remain marginalized.
    The world only spins forward. I’m relieved that that the effort to repeal this bill has failed. Only the willfully ignorant and adamantly-bigoted would want it to succeed.

  7. Tom says

    The people who opposed this law, rightwing Christians, are antigay. The people who support the law, trans activists, are also antigay. So it really came down to a question of which group was more despicable. It’s a close call.

    One thing is for sure. If this repeal effort had gotten on the ballot, it would have passed easily. And the LGB community would have been forced by trans activists to fight this battle, spending vast amounts of LGB time and money to defend a law that has nothing to do with gay people. It would have been a violation of LGB peoples’ right to chart their own course, but it also would have been a good teaching moment about the consequences of making LGB people the slaves of trans activists.

  8. Seb says

    Little Kiwi, why be so deceptive and misleading? You have never once mentioned that church and you have never once invoked Christian teachings in any of your tiresome rants.

    It is pretty obvious that you are not currently a member of that church and are likely not a Christian. Nothing wrong with that, but how arrogant and presumptuous of you to go to that church, which you abandoned, to instruct them on what they should believe and how they should behave. You think the fact that your parents made you go there as a child gives you some special authority over these people? Lol! You are a balding man approaching middle age. No one cares that your corporate CFO daddy took you to that church in the 80s.

    They should have thrown you out and then voted as they did based on the input of their actual members.

  9. SFshawn says

    This is fantastic news. Congrats to Mark Leno and Governor Jerry Brown for making it happen. Brain Brown and NOM are CRYING in frustration and disappointment at this MAJOR loss! Yahoo.

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