California Senate OKs bill to let transgender students choose facilities

07/04/2013 12:00 AM

07/04/2013 9:19 AM

Legislation to allow California students to choose the bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams that best match their gender identities squeaked out of the Senate with a 21-9 vote Wednesday.

The Assembly passed the bill in May. Its next stop is the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown.

Authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, Assembly Bill 1266 sparked questions about whether a bill couched in tolerance could alienate some students and parents.

Skeptical lawmakers said it might encourage biologically male students to join women's teams and dominate.

Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, said the measure would impose "no standard of evidence to verify what gender (students) declare that day."

Lawmakers supporting the bill argued that school administrators would be able to distinguish between students trying to game the system and students struggling with their gender identity.

Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, invoked the abuse transgender students face.

"What we're not yet teaching kids is the broad diversity of the human experience," Leno said.

Call Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5543. Follow him on Twitter @CapitolAlert.

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