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Landmark Transgender Bill Lets Students In California Choose Their Gender, Restroom

  • U.S.
  • 07.04.13 02:20 PM EDT

A progressive bill passed in California on Wednesday allows transgender students K-12 self-identify their gender, not necessarily the gender they were born with. This would permit them to choose which restrooms they use or which sports teams they play on. There have been similar policies enforced throughout the country but this would be the first official state statute

Supporters say this bill ensures equal rights and could prevent bullying, while opponents say it would disturb other students. Republican State Senator Jim Nielson argues that sex offenders could take advantage of this opportunity.

"Elementary and secondary students of California -- our most impressionable, our most vulnerable -- now may be subjected to some very difficult situations," Nielson said.

The bill's backers say that zero cases of misconduct have occurred in other places with this policy in effect.

The bill passed 21-9 and awaits a decision from Gov. Jerry Brown.