New state law requires equality for transgenders

Natalie Moore


A new state law that supports and requires equal treatment for transgender students throughout California’s K-12 public schools is creating controversy. However, Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) students won’t see much of a change due to accommodations already in place on campus.

The new law permits students to use restrooms and locker rooms according to the gender they identify themselves with rather than their biological gender. The bill also states students may “participate in sex-segregated programs..,” such as sports teams based on their self-identification.

DPMHS is further ahead than most schools with LGBT equality and anti-bullying.

“(The new law) won’t have much of a change on our school,” Principal Deb Smith said. “We already have several gender neutral restrooms that are in use. We also have several students who are not comfortable changing for sports with their biological gender, for whatever reason they have. Those students are allowed to change in the restrooms.”

Although student athletes already change at DPMHS, which offers gender-neutral bathrooms, Birmingham Community Charter High School (BCCHS) will have to deal with transgender students on sports teams.

“I honestly don’t know what will happen,” said BCCHS athletic director Rick Prizant.  “I just don’t know but for certain (a transgender student will want to participate in the sport of their associated gender) and when it does happen all we can do is be prepared and act appropriately.”

The new state law was signed on Aug. 12 and is scheduled to take effect in schools on Jan. 1. LAUSD has had a similar policy in place since 2005, and has seen little problems.

LAUSD will be rewriting its policy to require schools to take transgender students’ needs into account. Currently, there are no district workshops set yet to inform principals on how to deal with problems that arise.

Despite the law being passed, many conservative organizations are against the law because it could potentially invade the privacy of students, specifically female students fearful of being seen naked by boys in locker rooms and restrooms.

“No 13-year-old girls should have to have the continued apprehension of a boy seeing them naked in the locker room,” said president of the Pacific Justice Institute Brad Dacus in an Aug. 14 article in the Los Angeles Times.

Many organizations that support the LGBT community such as Gender Spectrum and GLIDE are supporters of this new law, saying it’s a good step toward inclusiveness of all students and will create a welcoming place.

“Families matter in LAUSD,” said Judy Chiasson, LAUSD Program Coordinator for Human Relations, Diversity and Equity in an Aug. 16 article for the Transgender Law Center. “We’ve worked closely with students and families to ensure that our policies related to gender identity are successful, welcomed by students, and supported by parents.”

Sports Editor Jose Herrera contributed to this report.