Target: California State Legislature
Goal: Commend California for upholding the rights of transgender primary and secondary schoolchildren
The state legislators of California recently approved a bill that will require primary and secondary schools to allow transgender students to decide which bathroom to use and which sports teams to join. Some school districts throughout the country—including many in California—have set up similar policies, but the passage of the California bill would inaugurate the first statewide statute protecting these transgender rights. While California state law already prohibits gender identity discrimination in schools, this legislation would enact specificity in what rights are covered. While Connecticut and Massachusetts have implemented statewide policies on the issue, they are not state statutes and are thus more vulnerable to elimination by reactionary political forces.
The California bill in question would allow K-12 students “to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities based on their self-perception, regardless of their birth gender.” Not only would it provide for equal rights, but it would also likely reduce the pervasive and constant bullying faced by transgender schoolchildren. Anti-gay detractors have claimed that such policies would result in confusion and increased sexual assault, but dozens of school districts have already implemented similar policies without any reports of serious misconduct.
While gay and lesbian Americans have recently witnessed a veritable tidal wave of public support, acceptance of transgenders and approval of their rights regrettably lags far behind. Yet, affirming the prerogatives of transgender schoolchildren is an important early step in securing a bright future for the transgender community as a whole. Please sign the petition below to show your support for the rights of transgender schoolchildren, and thank the State Legislature of California for doing the same.
Dear California State Legislature:
I thank you for you recent approval of a bill that will protect the rights of transgender schoolchildren throughout the state. While many school districts offer similar protections, the state of California may well be the first to make such protections statutory, thanks to your efforts.
While the American public has witnessed an unprecedented shift in favor of gay rights, the support for transgender rights has lagged far behind. Given these facts, and the vulnerability of transgender schoolchildren to bullying, discrimination, and abuse, I thank you for your actions in support of this unfairly maligned and widely misunderstood minority. After all, the protection of minorities from the prejudices of the majority is one of the most fundamentally American concepts central to this nation, and I applaud your actions in this vein.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: marsmet472 via Flickr