Saturday, August 17, 2013

Homophobes File Referendum on Transgender Student Rights Bill

Here we go again. Just last week Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1266, the School Success and Opportunity Act, into law. SSOA basically put into effect statewide the policy of the state's largest school district, LAUSD, which allows transgender students to participate fully in activities using the gender identity that they feel is most appropriate. Massachusetts and Colorado already have similar statewide policies.

Most people think this was a historic move forward to advance the rights of transgender students. Of course, that is not how the homophobes see it. They have filed paperwork to put theis historic civil rights law up for a referendum, meaning that it would not go into effect immediately if they are able to file 500,000 signatures with the Secretary of State within 90 days. Then there would be a vote during a statewide election in 2014 on whether the measure would go into effect at all or be effectively repealed.

Equality California executive director John O'Connor responded to the move:
"This is a predictable move by fringe groups that oppose all pro-equality measures and that historically have lacked the capacity to successfully execute similar efforts. AB1266 is an historic civil rights bill ensuring all students have the opportunity to participate and succeed in schools, including transgender students. EQCA and our partners will remain vigilant about monitoring the situation."
It should be remembered that there were also people who wanted to put the FAIR Education Act up for  a vote of the people of California, and they failed (twice!) to do so. The FAIR Education Act was a law that amended the state Education Code to insure that information about LGBT people in all California public schools has to be "fair, accurate, inclusive and respectful."

Now it looks like the homophobes are starting to realize that they are most certainly going to lose the war over marriage equality (California's fight over Proposition 8 ended with a whimper on Wednesday August 14) they are changing their focus to the T in LGBT rights, narrowing in on challenging the very concept of gender identity itself.

This is the hyperbolic language they are using on their temporary website to publicize their attempt to overturn the Transgender Student Rghts Bill:
Governor Jerry Brown just signed into law AB 1266 which would allow boys and girls to share the same school locker rooms, showers, restrooms, sporting programs, and school activities, based on the student’s gender identity, rather than his or her actual biological gender. 
Gender identity refers to a person’s subjective opinion of ones gender, which may or may not correspond to the person’s biological sex. But no matter the student’s gender identity, imposing this drastic and intrusive law upon all students is foolish and irresponsible. 
This bill will go into effect in Jan. 2014 unless we stop it.
One of the main reason that the heterosexual supremacists are going after AB 1266 is that the polling on it is pretty tight, with a June 2013 survey indicating 43% support and 46% opposition to the then pending legislation.
Hopefully they won't even get enough signatures to qualify the referendum, but this is probably also about activating the conservative base in California for the 2014 statewide elections, since currently the Republican party has basically zero power in all three branches of California government.

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