By OMAR HASSAN ALI-BADIA, age 10
California is the first state to pass a law that gives transgender students the right to get involved in all school activities and to choose the bathroom they want to use. A transgender person is born one biological sex but identifies as a different gender; for example, a baby born female may grow up to identify as a man, or vice versa.
The law went into effect on January 1, 2014, but is in danger of being repealed (cancelled) since opponents have been gathering signatures to overturn it. They claim that the language within the law is too general and that it will sacrifice the privacy rights of a majority of students for the sake of a small group. If approved, the petition to repeal the law could be up for a vote in the November 2014 elections.
John Santa, a fifth-year psychology major, expressed understanding toward those who might oppose the new law, especially where it concerns middle school and high school students. “Sharing facilities probably wouldn’t be a big deal for younger students, but once students are older, it becomes more complicated for everyone involved,” Santa told The Highlander. “Maybe a better solution would be having single occupancy unisex restrooms for the students uncomfortable using the facilities of a certain gender.”
Ashton Lee, a 16-year-old transgender boy from Manteca, Calif., has been a strong supporter of the bill and says, “It just feels better than having to be the kid that uses the staff bathroom or being the boy in the girls bathroom or not being able to use it at all.”
John O’Connor, executive director of Equality California, which co-sponsored the bill, said, “Protecting this law is our number one priority, and we will put everything we’ve got into it.”