To the Editor:
What is the first word that comes to mind when you envision America? Happiness? Equality? What about the word contradictory? A nation where “all men are created equal” is filled with racism, sexism, and homophobia.
While it is refreshing to see California encourage equivalence for transgender students through Assembly Bill 1266, which took effect in the Golden State on Jan. 1, the new law is not the solution.
AB 1266 requires schools to respect students’ gender identity, including their right to choose the restroom that matches that identity.
However, allowing students to choose which restroom to use could potentially put these students at a higher risk of victimization, since there is no faculty supervision in restrooms. Alternatively, there is a safer measure that can be taken to help these students.
With the introduction of additional gender-neutral restrooms and adoption of stricter punishments for those who terrorize their transgender peers, transgender students will feel safer than in the milieu created by the legislation. This in turn will generate a productive learning environment for all staff and students.
A version of this article appeared in the April 02, 2014 edition of Education Week as Gender-Neutral Restrooms Best for Transgender Students