Transgender bill challenged: Law is well-meaning, but flawed2 min read

Serena Scaglione, Staff Writer

A flawed California law meant to protect transgender students may be defeated if a referendum effort by conservatives is successful.

Assembly Bill 1266, which is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, allows transgender students to participate in athletic activities and academic programs, as well as use restrooms and other facilities, which are consistent with their gender identity.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Privacy for All Students, the main conservative coalition behind the law’s opposition, has submitted a petition with 620,000 signatures to the secretary of state earlier this month.

If enough signatures are proven to be from registered voters, the bill will be delayed until it appears on the November 2014 ballot.

The coalition’s action is likely to be successful, because the law is too open-ended and will threaten the privacy and safety of all students, including those who are transgender.

“It doesn’t contain guidelines, standards, or any definition to guard against the privacy and security concerns of the students who might be disturbed about sharing intimate group facilities — like showers, like changing areas and bathroom facilities — with someone of the opposite biological sex,” said Privacy for All Students advocate Gina Gleason in an interview with One News Now.

This law gives transgender students the choice to play sports and use bathrooms according to his or her gender identity, but their choice could have serious consequences.

For instance, a female who identifies herself with the male gender and uses a men’s bathroom may be verbally harassed or sexually assaulted by her female and male peers.

A male who identifies himself as female and changes in a women’s locker room may be labeled as a pervert in addition to being targeted for harassment.

Another concern with AB 1266 is the lack of guidelines and standards that will surely lead to students abusing this law.

According to kmtg.com, it is recommended for each school board to develop a policy that addresses transgender students who want their gender identity recognized and how to approach those students’ desires to be involved in sex-segregated activities in a way that is appropriate and comfortable for all students.

According to the Transgender Law Center, supporters of AB 1266 are focused on the academic success this law will give to transgender students who are excluded from physical education, sports, activities and facilities, and how “this exclusion negatively impacts students’ ability to succeed and graduate with their class.”

The center does not give specific examples of how the exclusion negatively impacts transgender students or how the bill will combat this issue.

Transgender students deserve to be treated equally within California’s education system, but AB 1266 is too underdeveloped to make this happen without jeopardizing the privacy and safety of all students.

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