California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that increases the rights of transgender students at public schools. It will allow students to participate in extracurricular activities and use school facilities based on their gender identity – not their physical characteristics.
Critics have suggested “bad actors” could use the law to prey on school children. But the bill’s author, Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, calls those complaints “scare tactics” and says they’ll go away with education.
“And also proof in the pudding – like LA and San Francisco and Arcadia and Willits – where nothing bad happens. And obviously, if there was any misbehavior – just like for any student – there would be methods to deal with it,” says Ammiano.
The LGBT community and civil rights groups are praising the governor’s signature. Several Republican lawmakers have tweeted their frustration, including Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, who wrote “Say goodbye to your daughters’ innocence and privacy.” A legal group says it’s seeking plaintiffs to challenge the new law in court.
The measure takes effect January 1st, 2014.