California First State To Recognize Transgender Students - New York News

California First State To Recognize Transgender Students

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It's a major victory for transgender students, now that Governor Jerry Brown has signed into a law that makes all public K-12 schools accommodate the needs of transgender students.  That means, regardless what the birth certificate indicates, if a students identifies as the opposite gender the school has to accommodate that gender choice.  Those students would be able to choose what restroom facilities, locker room they use and whether they participate in boys or girls sports. 

Today, I talked to an 18 year old, we'll call "Eric."  The law comes too late for him, but he is happy other students may have an easier time in school than he did.  "Eric" is a Calabasas High School graduate and has no idea how the school would have handled his coming out as a transgender male.  He does know, that as he struggled with his identify, others around him struggled too.  He says, he was too scared to use the men's room and would use the women's room at odd times to avoid people.  But one day, he was washing his hands when a lady came out of one of the stalls and asked him why he was in the girl's bathroom.  He "proved" to her he was biologically a girl and she apologized. 

He told me about other uncomfortable moments for him, ones that would occupy 80% of his thoughts while he was in school. He believes, if he were in school today and could benefit from the new law, that he would worry less and study more.

But the new law doesn't come without controversy.  Those behind the website  SaveCalifornia.com warns that the law allows boys in girls' restrooms and locker rooms and goes onto say, "Jerry Brown targets 'every kid in public school with gender-bending brainwashing."

As the parent of a student in the  Los Angeles Unified School District, I was pretty surprised to hear that for nearly 10 years,  LAUSD's schools would accommodate students who are transgender.  Its not a personal issue for my son, but if the district's numbers are true and as many as three thousand LAUSD students identify as transgender, there could be other parents who don't know.  When school starts Tuesday, LAUSD will accommodate  any child who identifies as transgender. And, then when the new law goes into effect on January 1, 2014, every public school in California will do the same. 

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