August 15, 2013

Rights for Transgender Students


Logan Henderson: I just never use the bathroom during school.

Scott: Logan Henderson is a recent high school grad and was born female.

Ashton Lee: I wasn’t sure I’d be safe, so I didn’t do it.

Scott: In order to make teens like Logan feel safe, California passed a new law. The first of its kind in the U.S., it protects certain rights for transgender students. The governor signed a bill this week requiring all public schools to allow transgender students access to whichever restroom and locker room they want.

Ashton: I was just like, ‘Ahhh!’

Scott: That was 16-year-old Ashton Lee’s reaction to the law.

Ashton: Because I’ve been working really hard, you know. And everything that I’ve been working for, it happened.

Scott: A fight he says to feel normal. Ashton was born Kimberly, but two years ago started the transition from identifying as a female to a male.

Transgender is an umbrella term often used to refer to people whose gender identity differs from their assigned sex at birth.

Now, the new law doesn’t go into effect until January but is already causing some controversy.

Californian: You’re trying to protect one person but you may affect five hundred.

Scott: School sports are also covered in the new law, allowing athletes to play on teams they choose.

The new legislation is creating worries that others won’t feel safe.

Brad Dacus: Here you have girls in the locker room taking their showers and yet you also have a boy that could come in there, undress, be naked at the same time.

Scott: Brad Dacus is the founder of the conservative legal foundation the Pacific Justice Institute.

Dacus: This allows a large male to play on the girls wrestling team. Now, this is a high touch, high impact sport. This is going to cause many girls to feel violated when you have wrestling – a male wrestling a female.

Scott: Ashton’s mother insists the transition will be important to make sure other students are okay.

Cathy Lee: And they need to look at how can we make it so that all students are safe.

Scott: Some say this new law gives teachers, students and their parents an opportunity to learn the importance of tolerance.

Dr. Jenny Cartinella: The idea is doing a lot of training with parents and teachers on acceptance and changing the culture in schools of more acceptance.

Scott: Acceptance that Logan says is needed.

Logan: No one would choose this life.

Scott: As for Ashton, he says he is not worried at all.

Ashton: Everybody that I talked to today was just completely ecstatic about the fact that I’m finally going to be able to be treated the same as everyone else.

Scott: Scott Evans, Channel One News.


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