AP Photo/Rich PedroncelliGovernor Jerry Brown signed the Student Success and Opportunity Act earlier this year.

Opposition of California’s transgender student law is misguided

On Aug. 12, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the new Student Success and Opportunity Act into law. It will explicitly ensure that all students are allowed to participate in school activities.

Specifically, the law, which was introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, will prevent the exclusion of transgender students from certain sex-segregated programs, such as sports teams and physical education classes.

Even though anti-discrimination laws are already in place in California, many school administrators remain unaware of their responsibility to treat students equally. Similarly, parents of transgender youths may be unaware of their rights.

Last week, the California secretary of state confirmed that opponents to the law had submitted 614,311 signatures to repeal it. The signatures were compiled by Privacy For All Students, an organization whose logo is an apple with a men’s restroom sign and women’s restroom sign separated by a line.

Privacy For All Students believes the law violates a right to use school restrooms, locker rooms and showers without transgender students and their so-called gender identity.

Naturally, the National Organization for Marriage and the tea party have stated their support for the referendum.

“These fringe organizations have been failing on issues like marriage, and now they’ve turned to targeting students,” said Mark Snyder, communications manager of the Oakland-based Transgender Law Center.

The folks at Privacy For All Students seem to be completely uninformed about how gender identity works and should probably do a little research before launching a referendum.

From PrivacyForAllStudents.com: “A student can assert a gender identity at school at any time.” It’s, like, the equivalent of a themed dress day during Homecoming Week. “Because gender identity is based on feelings… he or she can be both transgender and heterosexual at the same time.”

Actually, the fear they’re trying to instill here is that if a student is transgender and homosexual, a female-to-male attracted to males, he will cause chaotic, sexualized confusion in the boys’ locker room. By this wayward logic, then all homosexual students, not just homosexual transgender students, should not be allowed to ogle at half-naked football players in the showers.

“Some teens will undoubtedly game the law.” If they think this law will encourage straight high school boys to dress in drag so they can get a glimpse of girls taking off their bras, then they have absolutely zero faith in the enforcement of public school disciplinary policy and should probably just home-school their kids, or move out of California.

Privacy For All Students also doesn’t seem to realize that having transgender students participating in activities and using facilities where they feel most at ease makes the rest of the students more comfortable as well.

Even though more than 500,000 signatures were submitted, election officials still have to vet and validate each one before the effort to overturn the law can get on the ballot. The process can take months, but early validation estimates available on the secretary of state’s website indicate the measure won’t have enough valid signatures to make it on to the ballot.

“We are confident that fair-minded Californians will see through any attempts by anti-gay groups to stir confusion about the fact that transgender students are protected by existing California and federal law,” Snyder said.

Oscar Raymundo is the head of marketing at a leading LGBT media company. Email him at oraymundo@sfexaminer.com.

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