Originally published on Advocate.com May 11 2013 12:59 PM ET
The California assembly has passed bills to ensure more rights and protections for transgender citizens. One piece of legislation would require the state's public schools to allow transgender students to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions," MSNBC reports.
"No student can learn if they feel they have to hide who they are at school or if they are singled out for unequal treatment," Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, who sponsored the bill, said according to the Sacramento Bee.
Currently some of the state's largest school districts have similar policies in place, like the Los Angeles Unified, and San Francisco Unified districts.
The bill passed 45-24, mostly along party lines. Republican Curt Hagman of Chino Hills said the bill is not practical because of students in middle school and high school having to change in locker rooms together. Meanwhile, Republican Tim Donnelly also voiced his opposition to the bill.
"I do not believe that by allowing individuals of the opposite sex to use the same restrooms makes any sense at all, and I think the vast majority of Californians deeply oppose this," Donnelly said.
The state assembly also passed a bill to help transgender people who have undergone "clinically appropriate treatment" to amend their birth certificate without a court order, the Bee reports. The 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey showed that 44% of transgender people were denied services or harassed because their identity documents did not match their gender appearance.
Equality California executive director John O’Connor said Assemblymember Toni Atkins' bill "removes a significant barrier to full equality for people who are transgender.
“Having identity documents that accurately reflect who you are is vital in so many areas of everyday life — from applying for a job to exercising our rights at the ballot box,” said Masen Davis, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center. “Many of us wouldn’t think twice when asked to show our ID, but this is a very serious issue for transgender people.”