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California paves way for acceptance

Written by: LaShawn Oglesby

A California law that went into effect Jan. 1, 2014, allows transgender students, K-12th grade, to use bathrooms and join sports teams they identify with regardless of their biological sex.

This law is a positive step toward acceptance and equal rights. Many transgender students go through bullying for standing out. This legislation will help students fit in and feel more at ease with themselves and their school environment.

Having unisex bathrooms or bathrooms specifically for transgender students would not be a better solution to making all the students feel comfortable. Transgender students want to feel welcome within the sex group they identify with.

Giving them separate bathrooms would only bring more attention to them. The transgender boys and girls don’t want to be viewed any different from his or her schoolmates and fellow peers. Requiring schools to have transgender bathrooms sounds quite similar to the segregation laws this country used to have.

According to the Parent-Student Handbook for the Los Angeles Unified School District, this law is just an addition to the accommodations already arranged for transgender students. One of the districts policies states that “students cannot be disciplined or prevented from wearing attire that is commonly associated with the other gender.”

So far rules of this nature, which have been part of the school’s policies before this law went into effect, haven’t hindered students from learning or feeling comfortable. California students already have had experience with this type of diversity

Ashton Lee, a sophomore student attending school in California, asked to be transferred from his girls P.E. class to the boys P.E. class. His school had no problem with the transfer, which also included bathrooms and locker rooms. His school also gave the same treatment for five other transgender students.

This is not an impossible situation and does not pose any tremendous problem. Will this law end discrimination or bullying? I doubt it.  Will it settle all differences? No. However, if anything negative arises from this, it will come from intolerant people.

Children of many different ages and grades have been able to continue their schooling and embrace their school’s diversity. If small children and adolescents can be accepting of differences, what is stopping the rest of us?


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