LOS ANGELES – Californians jolted by the mental image of children sharing lavatories and locker rooms with opposite-sex classmates are campaigning to repeal the nation’s first law requiring schools to accommodate transgender pupils.
The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, requires all schools receiving state funds to let children choose between boys’ or girls’ bathrooms, for instance, and participate in sex-segregated sports teams based on their gender identity rather than their biological sex.
The drive to put a repeal on the ballot echoes a 2008 initiative, Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment passed by voters that banned same-sex unions. California resumed gay weddings in June following a Supreme Court ruling.
“It is just fundamentally wrong,” said Doug Boyd, a lawyer circulating petitions in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendora. “It’s against the laws of God and nature.”
Boyd, 60, said he can’t stomach the idea of his two daughters sharing school bathrooms, showers or locker rooms with a boy who sees himself as a girl.
A coalition led by the Capitol Resource Institute, a Sacramento-based nonprofit group that promotes itself as a “watchdog for family values,” is seeking about 500,000 signatures to put a repeal on the 2014 ballot.
“This law just goes way too far,” said Karen England, executive director of the institute and a co-leader of the petition drive. “We need to protect the privacy of all students, not just some students.”
The law’s supporters, which include the California State PTA and Gov. Jerry Brown, 75, a Democrat, underestimated the public backlash, Boyd said.
“I have a 6-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old daughter in public schools and I’ll be darned if there are boys in their bathrooms,” Boyd said. He said he’d put the girls in another school before making them share bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams with opposite-sex peers.