Possible repeal of transgender student law would not change existing protections

From Ed Source:  http://edsource.org/today/2013/possible-repeal-of-transgender-student-law-would-not-change-existing-protections/41533#.UodZhuJ1Epm

November 13th, 2013

As efforts to overturn a new law allowing transgender students to use bathroom facilities and participate in sports teams consistent with their gender identity gain momentum, repeal of the law would have no impact on many existing policies protecting transgender rights in youth sports, according to legal advocates.

It would also, they say, not affect more comprehensive anti-discrimination policies in four school districts, including Los Angeles Unified.

Privacy for All Students, a Sacramento-based coalition of advocacy and religious groups, said this week that it had submitted 620,000 signatures – some 115,000 more than the 505,000 signatures required by the California Secretary of State – to put a referendum on the ballot challenging Assembly Bill 1266, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on Aug. 12. The law allows transgender students to participate in school sports teams and other activities, and to use bathrooms, locker rooms and other facilities consistent with a student’s gender identity, regardless of the gender listed on the student’s records.

Repeal of the law, said Frank Schubert, campaign manager for Privacy for All Students, would give local school districts the flexibility to “seek less intrusive alternatives, such as access to a teacher’s facility, a single-stall restroom, private changing times” rather than allowing transgender students to use general student bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. Schubert is the national political director for the National Organization for Marriage, which was heavily involved in organizing for the 2008 ballot initiative that outlawed same-sex marriages, known as Proposition 8.

Even if the referendum were successful, repeal of the law would not affect existing California and federal laws, or school district and California Interscholastic Federation policies, that offer some protection for transgender students, said Ilona Turner, legal director of the Transgender Law Center, an Oakland-based organization that is involved in litigation across the country. Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination at school on the basis of gender identity, Turner said, but don’t provide detail about what that means for school districts. The number of transgender adults is estimated to be about 0.5 percent of the state’s population, and the percentage of transgender youth would be lower, Turner said. The term transgender refers to those who identify with a gender that differs from their sex.

Continue reading at:  http://edsource.org/today/2013/possible-repeal-of-transgender-student-law-would-not-change-existing-protections/41533#.UodZhuJ1Epm

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Women’s College Admissions: Are Trans Women Left in the Dust?

From The Edge Boston:   http://www.edgeboston.com/news/national/151564/women%E2%80%99s_college_admissions:_are_trans_women_left_in_the_dust

by Antoinette Weil
Tuesday Nov 5, 2013

The women’s college traditionally has been a place for social experimentation, nonconformity and ferocious advocacy for social justice. To their credit, women’s colleges have been at the forefront of our country’s ever-changing cultural landscape and have served as forums for important questions, including ones about conventional gender roles and what it means to be a woman. Now, with transgender issues at last making their mainstream debut as the next wave in the LGBT movement, the women’s college is faced with one of its biggest questions to date: Where do trans students fit in to these unique learning institutions?

Transgender student policies are largely still being ironed out, and these policies are a topic that has sparked debate on both sides of the aisle, causing many women’s colleges internal turmoil.

Currently, while some women’s colleges have enacted specific policies on transgender students and student applicants, most remain up in the air, ostensibly subject to a case-by-case examination. While perusing transgender policies at some of the remaining women’s schools, it is commonplace to see references to diversity and LGBTQ inclusion coupled with a statement of exclusivity, somewhere along the lines of “[insert college here] only admits women.” For cisgender males and females this appears pretty black and white — but what exactly does it mean for transgender students?

Are the applications of transwomen considered? Largely they are not unless the applicant has undergone sex reassignment procedures and legally changed her gender marker before the time of application. Considering the majority of undergraduate applicants begin the process of seeking admission at 17 or 18 years old, this is a tall order. The expenses related to sex reassignment surgeries, most of which are not covered by insurance and must be paid out of pocket, are enough to put transgender females of most income levels at a severe disadvantage when applying to a women’s college. This disadvantage is amplified for individuals in low-income households.

For female to male transitioning students, however, the process is more favorable. Applicants who were born female and who are “legally” female will be given a fair shake with the rest of the women applying. The rules vary from school to school on whether enrolled students choosing to transition from female-to-male during their college years are allowed to continue toward their degree.

Hollins University in Virginia, whose transgender policy has been called “the strictest of an American college” by the Chronicle of Higher Education, will consider transgender females for admission if they have already undergone sex reassignment and have legally changed their gender marker, but will not allow transgender males undergoing sex reassignment to continue toward their undergraduate degree. While they have not had to implement their policy yet, officials from Hollins say it will assist transmale students in finding a new school, but that it strictly admits and graduates women.

Continue reading at:  http://www.edgeboston.com/news/national/151564/women%E2%80%99s_college_admissions:_are_trans_women_left_in_the_dust

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California anti-trans coalition has no plan for transgender protection

From GLAAD:  http://www.glaad.org/blog/california-anti-trans-coalition-has-no-plan-transgender-protection

By Jeremy Hooper, Special Projects Consultant
November 14, 2013

You’ve likely heard about the School Success & Opportunity Act, the recently passed and signed California law that grants increased safeguards and protections to transgender schoolchildren.  If you have, you’ve likely also heard about the anti-transgender coalition that’s trying to repeal this law.  So far, their strategies have involved fabricating stories of harassment, claiming transgender students are “inherently harassing,” and encouraging their followers to harass transgender students on line.

Being someone who deeply cares about the welfare of transgender children and someone who is nothing if not suspicious of this newly forged anti-trans coalition’s intentions, I am always looking for ways to flesh out and crystallize what’s actually going on with the other side.  If you do this kind of work, one thing that stands out is how rarely these anti-LGBT folks present workable solutions to match their vocal opposition.  They are always trying to stop this protection or that right, but they always do so under the guise of “protecting” their own interests.  They never address the actual human beings, in this case, the protection of transgender students.

Wanting answers, I went over to this coalition’s Facebook page (they are working under the devious name Privacy For All Students) and asked what, exactly, their repeal effort would mean for these students who will be left vulnerable once their campaign is through.  I know they see a problem, but I’ve never heard them mention any solutions, so to speak. So I put it right to them.  Here’s what happened:

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Their spokesperson’s response is nothing short of enraging.  Here we have a coalition (headed by Karen England, Brad Dacus, Dran Reese, Frank Schubert, and more) that is telling California voters that repealing this, the researched and carefully enacted law of a fairly elected legislature, is well within their pay grade, but they think it’s somehow unfair for me to ask for some sort of plan to protect the students who the same research shows us face a very real threat?  Unreal!

This law didn’t come from nowhere—it was put into place precisely because the legislature recognized the problem.  This coalition is acting like it’s a two-sided conversation, where both solving a very real problem and concocting a fake threat (theirs) is on equal footing.  They demand the legislators answer to their resistance movement, yet they don’t seem to believe that they have to answer for the fallout that will come from their demolition.  The transgender students, who are the very reason why we are talking about any of this, are left in the lurch while adults with political agendas turn their safety into a chess match.

Continue reading at:  http://www.glaad.org/blog/california-anti-trans-coalition-has-no-plan-transgender-protection

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