Governor Jerry Brown of California has signed a bill that will allow transgender students to compete in sports and use facilities based on their gender identity, rather than their sex. The measure goes into effect on January 1.
The measure is aimed at reducing bullying in schools and help transgender students feel more comfortable on campuses, according to Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), who wrote the bill.
"While many California schoolchildren are already protected by policies in some of our biggest school districts," Ammiano said, "other districts don't seem to understand that transgender students should have equal access to all programs and facilities."
Carlos Alcala, a spokesman for Ammiano said girls who are transitioning into boys would be able to try out for the boy's football team. However, it would be up to the coaches to decide whether the girls make the cut, based on merit and athletic ability.
Meanwhile, conservative groups and lawmakers have opposed the bill, saying it infringes on students' privacy rights. For example, girls may not want biological males sharing their shower rooms and changing areas.
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks) said the law "will not, as stated by its author, fulfill the promise that all men are created equal. Instead it will put at risk the right of privacy of every other student, and will open our state to unlimited liability."
Sen. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) said the law could be abused. For example, boys may try to join the girls' swim team in order to gain a competitive advantage.
However, those in support of the measure said four school districts, including those in Los Angeles and San Francisco, with similar policies have had no major problems.
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