California has taken its first steps toward granting equality to transgender residents. The State Assembly passed two bills Thursday that would give transgender Californians rights and protections both in schools and the courthouse.
AB 1266 prohibits would prohibit discrimination against transgender students in every public school district. The bill would "require that a pupil be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities including athletic teams and competitions." The bill also requires public schools to allow facilities, such as bathrooms and locker rooms, to be used "consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil's records."
The Sacramento Bee notes that some school districts in the state currently allow transgender students to use facilities for the gender they identify with, but the bill would ensure equality throughout the entire state. "No student can learn if they have to hide who they are at school or if they are singled out for unequal treatment," Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, the bill's sponsor, told the Bee.
The Assembly also passed a bill that would make it easier for transgender people to amend their birth certificate with an affidavit from a physician and without a court order. "[The bill] provides transgender people with a simple, inexpensive and private process for changing their names and documents to be consistent with their gender identity," Assemblymember Toni Atkins, co-sponsor of the bill, said.
Both bills, which passed largely on party lines, will now to go the California Senate, where Democrats are likely to push the items toward passage.