California legislators approved on Wednesday a bill that will ensure that all public school students have the ability to join sports teams or use school facilities not based on what sex their birth certificate says, but what gender they identify as.
According to Gawker, California already has transgender discrimination laws in place. Bill AB-1266 clarifies expectations for its K-12 public school system:
“This bill would require that a pupil be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.”
It's not a surprise that AB-1266, dubbed “the bathroom bill,” has its opponents. Many cite a lack of privacy for all students, others feel that this is exposing children to a lifestyle or questions that shouldn't have to be explained at such a young age. Massachusetts recently implemented a similar policy in spite of the same protests, but has had no problems since instituting the policy.
Some of the biggest concerns are that because there is no longer segregation based on gender, other children face a loss of innocence and must face ideas and issues that they are not ready for. If a boy identifies as a girl, she is allowed to use the girls bathroom and locker rooms. The same goes for girls who identify as boys. Opponents are concerned that other children may be confused and/or uncomfortable with seeing a child of the opposite sex in the bathroom or locker room. Those against bill AB-1266 feel transgender children are being granted rights to not be discriminated against at the expense of the other children.
A website called American Decency goes as far as suggesting that the bill and others like it put children at a higher risk for sexual assaults:
“Think about what is at stake – not only for children in California, but potentially across the country. The loss of innocence; a heightened risk for sexual assaults; a generation corrupted by an immoral agenda."
If nothing else, AB-1266 opens up another door for parents and guardians to have open discussions with their children. Whether you agree with the bill or not, children should understand what is happening. It's an excellent opportunity to reinforce the fact that everyone is different.
Now that the bill has passed, it heads to the desk of Gov.for his signature.