California Governor Jerry Brown (D) on Monday signed legislation to ensure transgender students have equal access to school activities, sports teams, programs, and facilities.

Brown's signature makes California the first state in the country to write protections for transgender students' access to activities and facilities into law.

In a news release, the Gay-Straight Alliance Network said transgender students have been discriminated against and unfairly excluded from physical education, athletic teams, and other school activities, and facilities in public schools.

Brown signed a bill into law in 2011 that prohibited discrimination based on gender identity and expression. But some schools still prohibited transgender students from accessing sex-segregated activities and facilities consistent with their gender identity.

"I'm so excited that California is making sure transgender students have a fair chance to graduate and succeed," said Calen Valencia, an 18-year-old transgender student from Tulare and Gay-Straight Alliance Network board member. "I should have graduated this year, but my school refused to give me the same opportunity to succeed as other boys. Now other transgender youth won't have to choose between being themselves and graduating high school."

The legislation was introduced by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D–San Francisco).

“This is terrific. The Governor’s signature represents an important victory, not just for my bill, but for a whole movement for the rights of transgender people,” Ammiano said. “We had children testify in the Assembly and Senate that this law will mean they no longer must hide who they are, nor be treated as someone other than who they are.”

[Jerry Brown via Shutterstock]