California law a beacon of hope for transgender equality


Some students fully support AB 1266. Credit: Lucy Knowles/The Foothill Dragon Press

Sean Anthony

Some students fully support AB 1266. Credit: Lucy Knowles/The Foothill Dragon Press
AB 1266 allows transgender students to become a more accepted part of school society. Credit Lucy Knowles/The Foothill Dragon Press

Born into a boy’s body, 6-year-old Coy Mathis knew early on that she wasn’t willing to conform to the traditional norm of gender identity, a fact that her Colorado Elementary School wasn’t willing to accept when they denied her the right to use the girl’s restroom.

 Coy’s story is like thousands of others’ across the nation who face discrimination in their schools from students and staff alike.

 California’s progressive new law is ready to change that.  (Find out how it affects Foothill)

 Signed by Governor Jerry Brown on August 12 and going into effect January 1 of next year this state’s bill is the first of its kind to specifically require schools to allow transgender students the choice of which bathrooms to use and sports teams to join based on their gender identity.  No longer will transgender students be ostracized by school code and forced to identify as someone they aren’t.

 Before the law was passed, a 16-year-old transgender boy in California was denied a spot on his high school football team and placed into an all girls P.E. class.  Lee was not only forced to be something he’s not but says “[He] can’t learn and succeed when every day in that class leaves [him] feeling isolated and alone.”

 The remaining argument for this code is a simple one: all students deserve equal treatment and access to school facilities and activities.

 In a society blessed with equality (equality still in progress), we have no right to exclude its graceful hand to anyone, yet to transgender students in most states (49 out of 50) we still do.

 This lesson is one not easily learned, seeing that with each step we take the conflict resurfaces in another form.  It began with civil rights for African Americans and shape shifted throughout history into women’s equality (in progress) and suffrage, the right for interracial couples to marry, and most recently the fight for homosexual marriage (also in progress).

 Unfortunately for transgender students the fight for equal treatment is just beginning, yet California’s daring step into the battle will reverberate fairness across the nation.

Want to learn more about AB 1266? Check out  New State law for transgender students creates concern.


Objections to this law include people’s discomfort with transgender students in bathrooms, the belief that “confused” (transgender) students will confuse everybody else, and the fear that youthful sex offenders would use this as an opportunity to get into the bathroom of the opposite sex.

 It is understandable that sharing a bathroom with someone who has different body parts may make some uncomfortable, but to put it bluntly, get over it.

 One’s temporary discomfort in a bathroom stall is minor compared to the infringement of another’s equality.  That’s something a person has to deal with every day, and chances are the discomfort they’ve faced escaping the mold cast by the false gender they were born with is exponentially greater than the other’s spent on the toilet.

 The fear of diffused confusion can be nipped in the bud as pure ignorance, and likewise that of sex offenders is unlikely and if it were to happen the offender would promptly face punishment.

 Progress is a slow moving vessel.  I am not so naïve as to think the passing of a simple law will end the torment and backlash these brave students face.  The unfortunate truth of the matter is that although these students may have equal access legally they won’t be treated the same socially.

 Through the insecure eyes of many, transgender students who defy the constricting path of social acceptance are unacceptable.

 The beauty of this law however, is that while it may not bring about instant acceptance it will command tolerance.

 Tolerating others is an easy gift to give, and the reward to the receiver is great.

 Through a slow and painstaking process tolerance ripens into acceptance, and only by accepting others fully can one learn to accept their self.

What do you think?