California Moves Forward on Trans* Rights, Far Right Freaks Out

trans-student-billUnder a headline lamenting the “tragic” use of California gubmint intervention in keeping trans* kids safe, World Net Daily (the cool kids call it World Nut Daily, or WingNut Daily) announced the historic news as, “Your Government at Work: California Governor signs transgender-student bill: Lets kids choose which bathrooms, locker rooms they use.” We can already see which direction this one is going. Notice there is no mention of identity, very little mention of safety and bullying, no mention of the fact that this law is already building on previous law – because, let’s be honest, the whole thing is a big joke to WND.

The article itself is four measly lines and almost trumped by the title. The real meat of their spin on this historical bill is a public opinion poll they include that dwarfs the article in the same way that the sun dwarfs the moon and includes such enlightened options as:

  • “Why can’t they have a third bathroom for trangenders?” (Notice the nouning of “transgender.” Together with the separate facility serves to Other trans* youth. I suppose there should be separate water fountains as well?)
  • “Once again, a very small minority dictates what the rest of us can do.” (Translated: I want trans*children to be bullied and forced to secrecy!)
  • “Oh great!I can see boys claiming to be transgender so they can shower with the girls.” (Because teens love to play oppressed outsiders…)
  • “It’s fitting for California, whose government seems dominated by people with their heads in the toilet.” (Get it? Bathrooms, toilets! Ha ha ha and all that.)

And the fitfully sarcastic:

  • Why not make all of the school restrooms and showers unisex? That way no one will be offended. (It’s that word “offended.” It’s never “oppressed,” “bullied,” “marginalized,” or “threatened” to conservatives. It’s always about the fact that somebody’s feelings are hurt, a way to minimize hurt that oppression causes to irrationalities.)

Regarding the law itself, it is an amendment to Section 221.5 of the Education Code and states:

Existing law prohibits public schools from discriminating on the basis of specified characteristics, including gender, gender identity, and gender expression, and specifies various statements of legislative intent and the policies of the state in that regard. Existing law requires that participation in a particular physical education activity or sport, if required of pupils of one sex, be available to pupils of each sex.

This bill would require that a pupil be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.

This may be too much for Right Wingers, whether they are Christian non-profits or phony RightWing NoiseMachines like Fox and Frienemies.

Which isn’t just to say that trans*aggression isn’t just linked to Right Wing hate. Most of us tend to stick strongly to what we know, even the more egalitarian and curious of us. But notice the trend for acceptance and rejection of trans* and related people in the US right now is roughly similar to the acceptance/rejection of homosexuals in the 80s and 90s, so this opening by California is a pretty stinking big deal.

Yet, I remember closing down showers in my high school’s locker rooms because full-grown adults were afraid of homosexual boys checking out other homosexual boys and giving them AIDS. So it was common to stink after PE. Additionally to this day, some fringes still believe that only gay men can be pedophiles, but back then, that idea was widespread. WND, although a fringe group, passes along misinformation and fear-mongering as a way to sanction this antagonism – and the antagonism is spread through our Facebook feeds, family members, and neighbors.

With this opening and acceptance in the legislative and executive body of California, the conservative faction – which is reactionary towards maintaining the status quo by definition – will do what it can to maintain that fear and loathing in Los Angeles. The rest of us in the progressive left need to step up our game.


When he’s not riding both his city’s public transit system and evil mayor, Jasdye teaches at a community college and writes about the intersection of equality and faith - with an occasional focus on Chicago - at the Left Cheek blog and on the Left Cheek: the Blog Facebook page. Check out more from Jasdye in his archives as well!


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