Like to munch on those gummy bears or jelly beans or candy corn as you spruce up your Halloween costume? Well, for every handful of what you think might be good, clean fun or a childhood sense memory, you’re putting money into the pocket of one of the men who’s trying to take away the rights of trans and non-gender-conforming expressive students.
These are kids like 12-year-old Jazz, who wanted to play on the girls’ soccer team at school, and 6-year-old Coy Mathis, whose family fought back after the school said she was not allowed to use the girls’ bathroom. For their courage—and that of their families—the two trans girls (pictured above) were honored by GLAAD at the organization’s 24th Media Awards gala in New York City last March
Herman Rowland Sr., Chair of the Jelly Belly Candy Company, is a major contributor to the Privacy for All Students initiative campaign—led by Prop. 8 strategist Frank Schubert, who is now the political director for the National Organization for Marriage. Just as he did with the misrepresentations and scare tactics of the Prop. 8 campaign, Schubert is trying to collect enough signatures to put an initiative on the 2014 ballot to repeal the historic “School Success and Opportunity Act, ” AB 1266, authored by out Assemblymember Tom Ammiano. The transgender student law goes into effect on Jan. 1, unless the measure qualifies, which would put the law on hold.
In a recent L.A. Times opinion piece, George Skelton interviewed both Schubert and Wendy Hill, identified as “a state Assembly staffer who helped guide a new transgender-rights law through the Legislature.”
“Our challenge is to get on the ballot,” Schubert says. “If we do, I don’t think we’ll have a great deal of difficulty winning the campaign. Most people I talk to can’t believe they [Gov. Brown, the California Legislature, Democrats] did this. What were they thinking? To say that we need to open up our school showers and bathrooms just doesn’t make sense.”
But Hill, the legislative staffer who also does private transgender counseling, says the common fear that a boy could be showering with girls, or vice versa, is outdated. Public schools generally haven’t had open showers for many years, she says.
They can’t afford the water, the towels or the janitorial service, she asserts, “and most important, they don’t want to be responsible for watching all the naked minors” and worrying about accusations of teacher molestation. “In some schools that still have showers, they’re single-stalled, with curtains.”
“They have bathrooms and changing areas,” Schubert counters. “Kids are going to be exposed.”
Hill, a lesbian, responds that “the very last thing” transgender children want to expose is their genitalia: “It gives them away.” They’re not old enough to have had transgender surgery.