A new proposed bill will require California public schools to allow transgender students greater access to school bathroom facilities, locker rooms and sports activities.
Backers of the new bill, introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, say existing laws are not doing enough to guarantee transgender students these rights based on their personal gender identities. Supporters also say students feel unsafe when they are expected to use a bathroom that does not match their gender identity.
Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center and backer of Ammiano’s new bill, told SFGate:
“Transgender boys are boys, and transgender girls are girls, and this bill ensures they are treated as such.”
Those who oppose the bill say the new law goes too far, arguing that the law will be abused and that gender identity is up to the one claiming to either be a boy or a girl. Karen England, executive director of the Capitol Resource Institute, a right-wing family values lobbying initiative, said to SFGate:
“It is solely at the discretion of their opinion of themselves. We should not be mandating state law based on that.”
Ammiano said the bill will create uniform rights for transgender students since it is unrealistic to expect students to relocate when their needs aren’t being met within a certain school district. Joel Baum, director of training at Gender Spectrum, an organization that trains schools on gender issues, said the new law is more than just a “bathroom bill”:
“Use of restrooms and lockers is, I would argue, a tactic that misses the point. This isn’t about any one practice. It’s a bill about creating an inclusive requirement.”