California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1266 on Aug. 12, allowing K-12 children to establish their own gender and use whichever restroom or locker room the child feels appropriate.
The bill allows girls to join boys’ sports teams (and vice versa) if a girl considers herself the opposite birth gender. Restrooms will no longer be a comfortable place for those who do not experience confusion with gender identity.
I am concerned younger children will not have the ability to deal with the impact of this bill, seeing as it will affect their restroom breaks (often associated with recess) and sporting events. These things used to be experiences full of excitement and fun. They will now become situations of confusion and discomfort for some.
To ask a child to decide what gender they will associate with during their early school years seems like too important of a task, especially when children are spending these years trying to decide their favorite color or favorite snack.
However, the Encyclopedia of Children’s Health (healthofchildren.com) states, “gender identity emerges by the age of two or three and is influenced by a combination of biological and sociological factors reinforced at puberty. Once established, it is generally fixed for life.”
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, who opposes this bill, said: “Those afflicted with Gender Identity Disorder need professional counseling and our compassion, not more mandates that do not serve the best interests of our children.”
Although he is opposed to this bill and the supposed effects on children, he does agree that the struggle of gender identity is real and needs support.
I support changes being made in that they are a step towards reducing bullying and discrimination. It might open up awareness of just how many children struggle with gender identity and what they need in order to maintain happy and healthy lifestyles.
Although I can see negative outcomes from this bill, I believe it is not my place or anyone else’s to judge…ever. I do, however, see problems.
Good intentions often lead to unsuccessful results. I can see more children being bullied based on the lack of knowledge some children have on transgender identity than children immediately being accepted for how they choose to identify themselves.
Children often tease when they do not understand.
“Clearly, there are some parents who are not going to like it. We are hopeful school districts will work with them so no students are put in an uncomfortable position,” said Carlos Alcala, a supporter of Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), creator of the bill, in USA Today.
This gender identity bill will take effect January 1, 2014 and it will affect every public school in the state of California.