California News

Teen's petition urges Brown to sign transgender school bill

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A 16-year-old student turned in thousands of signatures to Governor Brown's office Wednesday urging the governor to sign new legislation that would benefit transgender students in public schools.

With more than 6,000 signatures collected, 16-year-old Ashton Lee turned in a petition to Governor Brown urging him to sign a bill that he says would make school a lot better for him and other transgender students.

"It'll let me be a regular boy at my school," said Ashton.

"Ashton" used to be "Kimberly," and never quite felt right about being a girl. The high school junior says all the rules at his Manteca school forced him to be something he's not.

"I was placed in a class full of all girls for P.E., which doesn't make any sense to me because I'm a boy," said Ashton. "And every day I go into that class, it was just a reminder that I'm all by myself."

The Legislature sent Governor Brown a measure that would allow transgender students in California public schools, kindergarten through high school, to use the restrooms and locker rooms and join sports teams of the gender they identify with.

The special allowances upset opponents.

"We're going to start letting 5-year-olds question their sex and gender, and decide which bathroom they want to use?" said Benjamin Lopez, a spokesman for the Traditional Values Coalition. "Or if they're a boy who perceives themself as a girl and they want to play on the girls soccer team or a girls softball team to gain an advantage? These are the issues that are going to be thrown up in the air and unresolved if this madness gets signed into law."

It will be interesting to see what the Governor does. On the one hand, he has signed numerous bills advancing LGBT rights. On the other, he's a big advocate of letting school districts decide their own policies.

"This bill's absurd. There's no legitimate reason, no public outcry for this bill -- therefore Governor Brown should veto it," said Lopez.

But Ashton says the Governor's signature will change his life as a student.

"I'm not going to have to worry about being so different than the rest of my peers," said Ashton. "I can just be who I am."

The bill is expected to get to the Governor's desk soon, and he'll have 12 days to take action.

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education, jerry brown, school, california news, nannette miranda
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