California Republicans target transgender youth protections in 2014 push

By David Ferguson
Tuesday, October 8, 2013 15:46 EDT
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The California Republican Party is throwing the full weight of its political muscle behind an effort to repeal the state’s ban on discrimination against transgender kids. According to BuzzFeed’s Tony Merevik, far-right conservatives and tea party operatives have made overturning the recent protections enacted for transgender teens in public schools the center of the party platform.

In July, the California State Assembly passed the School Success and Opportunity Act, which stipulated that all students are “permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.”

On Sunday at a meeting of the Republican Party faithful in Anaheim, a majority of delegates voted for the party to endorse a raft of candidates who are all placing opposition to the law at the top of their policy priorities.

“Clearly the California Republican Party understands that AB 1266 is a threat to the privacy and safety of public school students throughout California,” said Gina Gleason of Christian group The Watchmen Ministry. “Forcing boys and girls to share bathrooms, showers and locker rooms will not decrease bullying. It is bullying.”

Her remarks printed in a newsletter published by “Privacy for All Students,” the coalition arrayed to force children and teens to conform to their birth gender while at school.

California state assemblyman Tim Donnelly warned direly in a column for “Birther” website and right-wing conspiracy hub World Net Daily that the transgender protection law “will take the normal hormonal battles raging inside every teenager and pour gasoline onto those simmering coals.”

Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, told BuzzFeed that the Republican Party is unlikely to be able to repeal the law.

“It is somewhat shameful that the [California GOP] aligned itself with groups like the [Capitol Resources Group] and [other] groups that are behind the referendum,” Davis said. “We have a lot of fair-minded Republicans in the state that believe in supporting all of our youth, and I don’t believe the decision this weekend speaks for them.”

The Capitol Resources Institute is an anti-LGBT group that has already run afoul of California law on multiple occasions. Its tax-exempt status was revoked by the IRS in February over failure to supply the required financial disclosures to operate in the state as a nonprofit.

The mother of transgender teen filed a complaint against CRI with the state attorney general’s office, charging that the group has been lying about its run-in with the IRS and current tax-exempt status.

[image via Flickr user Jaymi Heimbuch's photostream, Creative Commons licensed]

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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