The Culture War in California Rages in Public School Bathroom Stalls

Problem solvedCalifornia’s new law
acknowledging transgendered students adds the following to the

state’s code

“A pupil shall be permitted to participate in sex-segregated
school programs and activities, including athletic teams and
competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender
identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s

The concerned social conservative response can be summarized as
“OMG! Boys in the girls’ bathroom! And you can’t stop it!”
Opponents have used this tactic to get enough signatures to
possibly force Assembly Bill 1266 to a vote. From the
Associated Press

A coalition of conservative groups called Privacy for all
Students submitted 620,000 signatures to get the initiative on the
November 2014 ballot, said Frank Schubert, the political strategist
handling the signature gathering effort.

To qualify, at least 505,000 valid signatures must be submitted.
To verify the signatures are real, each of California’s 58 counties
will first check that the count is correct, then conduct a random
sampling of signatures to make sure they are legitimate. After
that, it is likely the state would order a full review to ensure
the integrity of the signatures.

If, after all of the reviews, the group has the requisite number
of valid signatures, the initiative would qualify for the

This fight has the potential to get really nasty. The Pacific Justice
(not to be confused with the totally unrelated
liberty-minded Pacific Legal Foundation) caused a bit of a
shitstorm by targeting a single transgendered student at Florence
High School in Florence, Colo., claiming the biologically male
student was “making sexually harassing comments toward girls he was
encountering” in the bathrooms. Some media outlets apparently
reported the story as gospel only to discover later that these
incidents are disputed and the school believes no incident actually
happened. The National Review Online, for example, reported the
claims and then
updated later
with the school’s response that they hadn’t had
any incidents of harassment. Others apparently deleted the story

Cristan Williams, a writer at Transadvocate,
tracked down
the school’s response that the transgendered teen
isn’t harassing anybody and that just one parent is upset. She
found a post from a girl from the same school saying she’s never
seen the student harass anybody else and nobody had a problem with
the student using the girls’ bathroom. Parents apparently got upset
after he was outed as transgendered in a Facebook message
somewhere. Also, the commenter claimed the student gets beaten up
trying to use the boys’ bathroom.

This is going to be the kind of fight where everybody is arguing
over who the true victims are. Opponents are insisting that some
sort of privacy violation is taking place in the school bathrooms,
like these filthy holes are sacred spaces. The Pacific Justice
Institute has a video of a woman in
– actual tears – over being unable to stop a biological
boy from using the same bathroom as a girl. If this makes the
ballot, the fight is going to be very unpleasant to watch.
Conservative Republican member of the State Assembly Tim Donnelly
made news for pulling a son out of public school after this law
passed. He just recently announced plans to run for governor and
about his outrage
, so he clearly wants it to be an election

I have yet to see any actual real-world examples that indicate
granting transgendered students some leeway here will result in any
sort of victimization of non-transgendered students. Thinking that
boys will game the system (because that’s really what we’re talking
about, right?) to harass girls ignores that boys honestly don’t
need to go through all this effort if they want to do so. And any
sort of actual harassment could result in discipline and even
criminal charges. Girls can sexually harass other girls and the
same holds true for boys. The increasing acceptance of gay students
didn’t make it legal for gay teens to harass their peers. The
predatory fears of what transgendered folks may be up to may make
for some interesting movie plots, but it’s not a real-world

Of course, more school choice would help solve all of this, and
all students could find education choices that suit their interests
and needs better. Failing that, this whole effort smells of faux
outrage by adults who are still (and will perpetually be) terrified
of the development of teen sexuality and individual identity.

from Hit & Run

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