Famed antigay campaign strategist Frank Schubert — who led successful efforts to block marriage equality in Maine and North Carolina and helped pass California's unconstitutional Proposition 8 — has set his sights on California's AB 1266, a new law that would allow transgender students to use the facilities and play on the sports teams that correspond with their gender identity.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1266 into law in August, making California the first state in the country to provide statutory guidance on the equal rights of transgender students. The law is set to take effect January 1 unless opponents qualify a ballot initiative to repeal the law.
But Privacy for All Students, the conservative coalition leading the charge to repeal the law, immediately announced its plans to rescind the law by putting it to a popular vote in 2014.
And on Sunday, Schubert told the Associated Press that his campaign turned in 620,000 signatures to the Secretary of State's office — more than 100,000 more signatures than required by law to qualify an initiative for the ballot. The Secretary of State's office will now begin the process of verifying the signatures, and if at least 505,000 signatures are from legitimate, registered California voters, the initiative will qualify for the 2014 ballot.
In addition to Schubert, who led the campaign's signature-gathering effort, the antigay National Organization for Marriage has lent its support to the transphobic campaign. In a fund-raising email last month, NOM president Brian Brown said that "nakedness trumps sincerity," asserting that the law established co-ed bathrooms in schools around the state.
"I do not want a naked boy in front of a young girl in the shower or bathroom even if he sincerely identifies as a girl," wrote Brown. "How can we claim that this [law] will decrease bullying, when forcing boys and girls to share bathrooms IS bullying?"
Brown seems unwilling to acknowledge the fact that transgender youth are regularly bullied and harassed at school based on their gender identity — a truth that the California law is aimed at changing. According to a 2011 report from the National Center for Transgender Equality, 82 percent of trans youth reported feeling unsafe at school because of who they were, while nearly 90 percent reported experiencing transphobic or homophobic harassment from peers "often" or "frequently."