By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com August 01 2013 2:26 PM ET
A 16-year-old transgender high school junior has more than 6,000 people behind him in urging California Gov. Jerry Brown to sign a groundbreaking piece of legislation that would expand antidiscrimination protections in public elementary and secondary schools to trans students.
Earlier this month, the California state Senate approved the bill — the first of its kind in the nation — that would allow transgender students at public elementary and secondary schools to use the restroom, locker room, and play on the sports team that corresponds with the student's gender identity. The state assembly already approved the bill, so it's due to arrive on Gov. Brown's desk in the coming weeks.
Ashton Lee, the transgender high school junior who delivered the petitions to Gov. Brown's office on Wednesday, told the Los Angeles ABC affiliate that the bill would allow him to "be a regular boy at my school."
Lee was assigned female at birth, but now identifies and presents as male — though his Manteca, Calif., high school's policy doesn't allow him to take part in gender-segregated activities that correspond with his identity.
"I was placed in a class full of all girls for P.E., which doesn't make any sense to me because I'm a boy," Lee told ABC. "And every day I go into that class, it was just a reminder that I'm all by myself."
Opponents to the bill say it's unnecessary, and will lead to children arbitrarily deciding what gender they feel like on any given day. But the bill's Democratic co-author, state Sen. Ricardo Lara. "To date there's been no single reported incident of any misconduct," he told the Associated Press when the bill passed out of the Senate on July 5. "Let's not confuse silly behavior issues with sensitive gender identity issues."
Watch ABC's report below.