California: Bill for Transgender Student-Athletes Pulled

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com January 12 2012 3:49 PM ET

A bill aimed at making school sports teams more welcoming for transgender student-athletes was withdrawn from the California legislature before it had the chance to be considered by state lawmakers.

Co-sponsors of this new bill asked lead sponsor Assemblyman Tom Ammiano to withdraw the bill on Wednesday. The latest move comes after the FAIR Education Act, which
mandates California's schools to teach age-appropriate history lessons
on LGBT rights, has been the target of antigay organizations who want to stop positive LGBT education in schools.

Last week, advocates including Ben Hudson of the Gender Health Center in Sacramento, Calif. were optimistic that the proposed policy would be heard by the end of the year, if not within weeks. Hudson told KTXL News that the bill was about students "who feel they are not entitled to [participating in school sports] because they feel some guilt over their transition. So it's great to be able to say not only are you entitled to it, but the law backs you up to participate in sports just like your peers are."

But on Thursday, a spokesman for assemblyman Tom Ammiano told The Advocate that the bill has been withdrawn, and will not be considered by the legislature for the rest of the session.

Hudson later told The Advocate that transgender students are protected against discrimination in California's schools, but the bill was intended to further clarify that they also have a right to compete on school sport teams. Still he is hopeful that the legislature will pick it back up in the future.

"With as much political wrangling that happens, the concern that the right will use the FAIR Education Act against us does a disservice to the students in schools right now," Hudson said. "There are youth in schools today that are not getting equal treatment on sports teams, and bathrooms, and locker rooms because the school administrators are not interpreting the laws correctly."