SACRAMENTO -- The Assembly approved on Thursday legislation that would ensure students could participate in school activities and use facilities like bathrooms based on their gender identity, not their physical sex.
The bill's author, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), has said the legislation is another step toward making sure transgender students are not ostracized in their schools.
For example, a student born male but identifying as a female would be able to play on a girls' basketball team and use the girls' locker room. The deciding factor would be a student's gender identity, not what's listed on school records.
"Will transgender students make some other children uncomfortable? Perhaps," Ammiano wrote in an op-ed last month. "I don’t want to minimize that, but new experiences are often uncomfortable. That can’t be an excuse for prejudice."
The bill, AB 1266, was approved on a 45-24 vote, according to Ammiano's spokesman. It now goes to the state Senate.The California Catholic Conference opposed the bill, saying it was unnecessary because there are already laws preventing discrimination against transgender students.
Carol Hogan, a spokeswoman for the conference, said the issue should be handled by school officials, not lawmakers.“Our legislature tends to get involved in things that are better handled in local school districts," she said. “One size does not fit all.”