California’s transgender students bill of rights: Going too far?

People compete in a Hula-Hoop contest at the 14th annual Trans Pride L.A. festival. A new bill of rights for transgender students in California is garnering widespread attention.
(Luis Sinco / L.A. Times)

California has once again found itself in the national headlines -- this time for a new law involving transgender students.

As The Times’ Patrick McGreevy wrote on PolitiCal, Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed a bill allowing “students in California schools to compete on sports teams and use facilities, including restrooms, based on their gender identity, regardless of whether they are listed as male or female in official campus records.”

The bill had been supported by gay rights groups and many Democrats, who hailed it as a major step forward in transgender rights.

Assembly Speaker John Pérez released a statement saying: “This is a powerful affirmation of basic human dignity and puts California at the forefront of leadership on transgender rights. Young transgender Californians should be treated with dignity and respect, and recognized for who they truly are.”


But Republicans opposed it. There was a heated debate in the Legislature in June:

Republicans including Sen. Jim Nielsen of Gerber opposed AB 1266, saying it would violate the privacy of students who don’t want to share restrooms with members of the opposite sex.

“Think of all of the parents and all of the students that would be uncomfortable in this situation, and that a student has no burden but to declare that ‘I want to be in the boys shower or the girls shower’ that day,” Nielsen said during the floor debate.

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