SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday that would require public K-12 schools to let transgender students choose which restrooms they use and which school teams they join based on their gender identity instead of their chromosomes.
Some school districts around the country have implemented similar policies, but the bill’s author says AB1266 would mark the first time a state has mandated such treatment by statute.
Existing state law already prohibits California schools from discriminating against students based on their gender identity, but the legislation that passed the state Senate on Wednesday spells that out in more detail, said Carlos Alcala, a spokesman for the bill’s author, Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco.
At least two other states, Massachusetts and Connecticut, have statewide policies granting the same protections, but neither policy is in statute, according to the Gay-Straight Alliance Network.
The issue has become a battle in some local school districts around the country. In Colorado, a family filed a complaint with the state’s civil rights office claiming that their local school had violated the state’s nondiscrimination laws. The family had been told that their first-grader, who was born a boy, could not use the girl’s bathroom and would have to use the restroom in the nurse’s office or teachers’ lounge.