California Assembly Bill 1266, enacted in August, allows all people who do not identify with their birth gender to access locker rooms, restrooms and sports teams in K-12 public schools.
Imagine the confusion of gender neutrality being thrown at them when their bodies are at the beginning of the huge change brought on by puberty.
Privacy for All Students is a coalition of parents, students and other advocates who have fought for a repeal of the act since October 2013. They push to make this piece of legislation a referendum so that parents of the children attending these schools have a voice in the matter.
As of Jan. 8, the petition cleared another legal hurdle to get the referendum on the ballot. It looks increasingly likely that the referendum will be on the ballot in November.
Assembly Bill 1266 was initially enacted to support children who identify themselves with a gender contradictory to their physical sex. It was the first piece of legislation in the country to ever diminish the difference between men and women in public schools.
By pushing chromosomal evidence aside, children establish their restroom, locker room and sports teams preferences based only on gender association. The bill was thought to satisfy the push from the LGBT community in California by giving children the choice of gender identification.
There has never been a law, in any state, determining whether a person cannot use the restroom of their choice. The argument of the LGBT community and its advocates claim discomfort among transgender children, but transgender children have never been forced into a particular restroom.
Plenty of young males accompany their mothers to the women’s restrooms; we have all seen a person who looks either too feminine or masculine to be in the restroom they chose.
There is no need to expose all young children and stir more confusion than is already present at that age. The rights of the majority public school attendees are just as crucial as the rights of the minority.
It won’t be long before kids begin questioning their sex identification because their other classmates do. Students are forming their social identity through school; over-emphasizing the need for transgender accomodations make the rest feel perplexed and irregular.
Specific gender-neutral restrooms and locker rooms that are created in addition to both women’s and men’s designated rooms, may be a step to creating a compromised solution between Privacy for All Students and the LGBT community.
If such a compromise were enacted, there would still be definite concerns for implementing gender neutrality among elementary and middle-aged children, regardless of the circumstance. But, of course, this option is far less feasible than just transforming every restroom and locker room to be gender neutral as enacted by AB 1266.
Unisex restrooms can be found across the majority of states throughout the country, Arizona included. Universities in Arizona, including UA, NAU, and ASU, have all created gender-neutral restrooms and even gender-neutral housing accommodations for on campus living. For those students who do not wish to associate themselves with either male or female, this is a great alternative for them.
There is a large difference in creating gender-neutral facilities in higher education, where students are legal adults, as compared to public school systems for children as young as 4-years-old. Parents are no longer involved, so privacy rights not fall on the student themselves.
Also, these gender-neutral restrooms that we see on campus are in addition to the traditional men and women’s bathrooms. We, as students, still have the option to use a gender-specified bathroom. We have this right, unlike children in California, who have to share a bathroom with both sexes.
California is the first to enact such a law, and in a month’s time, when the ballots have been counted, and Assembly Bill 1266 has been repealed, the battle will not be won.
Public school systems across the country are pushing for more neutrality among gender-specified public places. This will be provocative and alarming for the majority of students, and beneficial to very few. It will cause more confusion, discomfort, expenses and uproar among parents.
Reach the columnist at Aubrey.McCleve@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @theartsss