Mountain View Voice

News - January 3, 2014

Referendum threatens transgender student law

A law that articulates the rights and treatment of transgender students at schools across the state, goes into effect Jan. 1, but it could be in jeopardy if a referendum for its repeal makes it onto the November ballot, according to the Associated Press.

The law is the first in the nation that allows transgender students to use the sex-segregated facilities of their choice and participate in sports usually divided by genders. But if petitions circulated by conservative group Privacy for All Students get enough signatures, the law could be suspended days after it takes effect, AP reports.

Counties have until Jan. 8 to report whether the required number of signatures has been collected to the secretary of state, who will then approve or deny the referendum of the law.

The California School Boards Association is preparing for the implementation of the law, regardless of the threat of its repeal. It stated that existing state and federal anti-discrimination laws and California Interscholastic Federation rules allows athletes to petition to play on sports teams without regard to their gender. These laws already accommodate transgender students in schools, according to AP.

The association said schools should handle requests on a case-by-case basis and include parents in the process if possible. It said that schools should be prepared to make special arrangements for dressing rooms, both for transgender students and for classmates who might not want to dress with them.

"We did strike a balance between the sensitivities associated with gender identity, not only for those students who experience a change in their gender status but the students who would be in the same facilities, in the same classrooms and on the same teams," its general counsel, Keith Bray, told AP.

—Palo Alto Weekly staff

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