Pat Cordova-Goff, a 17-year-old transgender girl, is hoping to become the first openly transgender student to participate in a California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section athletic competition. Cordova-Goff made news last year when she became the first transgender student to be named to her school's homecoming court, and now aims to find a spot on Azusa High School's girls softball roster.
Cordova-Goff is the president of her school's gay-straight alliance, the associated student body president, and with a 4.0, she has the eighth-highest grade point average in her class. But having the opportunity to participate in athletics was something she thought had disappeared when she came out as transgender during the summer between her freshman and sophomore year.
"That's why when California passed AB 1266, I knew I would play softball," Cordova-Goff told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. "At first, I was kind of nervous because I thought maybe I lost my talent," she said in reference to her time spent playing baseball as a child. "But it felt natural. And I think because I played for so long, and I loved the sport, it was like I was back where I belonged."
California's AB 1266, also known as the School Success and Opportunity Act, is a recently implemented bill prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity statewide. Designed to provide students like Cordova-Goff the same opportunities to enrich their academic tenure by offering them equal access to classes, facilities, and extra curricular activities consistent with their gender identity, the bill has come under fire by a numer of conservative groups that claim the bill violates the privacy of cisgender (non-trans) students. These groups, united in a coalition known as Privacy for All Students, which includes 2013 Advocate Phobie Award runner-up the Pacific Justice Institute, are in the process of mounting a repeal effort, hoping to get the bill's fate put up for referendum this November.
"Our district encourages all students to participate in extracurricular activities and athlatics," Superintendent Linda Kaminski told the Tribune. "We want to ensure that every student has access to these components of our educational program. These types of activities enrich the school experience for our students."
Whether or not Cordova-Goff manages to earn one of the 15 varsity or junior varsity roster spots remains to be seen, though results of the tryout are expected to be posted this week.