Wednesday, January 2, 2008

School Based Gender Identity Protections in Effect in California

As of yesterday, California public school students are now protected against sexual orientation and gender identity based discrimination. Go, California!

Sadly, the enactment of a law that passed in October didn't make the headlines, but those still organizing against it are making national news. According to the New York Times, conservative groups filed a law suit against the law, arguing that protections against 'perceived or actual' sexual orientation and/or gender identity are too vague.
“This lawsuit argues that the redefinition of gender should be declared unconstitutional because it is too vague,” said Jennifer Monk, a lawyer for Advocates for Faith and Freedom. “If it’s not based on physical anatomy or how they act or dress, and it’s all based on what they think they are, then how is a teacher to know how a student identifies?”
Well, Ms. Monk, you could ask them. Fortunately, we have smart people on our side. I guess if we didn't, there would be no progress.
“The same concocted concerns could theoretically apply to any of the categories,” said Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, who filed the motion to intervene on behalf of the two groups. “A student could identify as African-American or Muslim or Jewish, even if others do not perceive that student as such.”
What this issue comes down to is securing the basic right to public education in an environment free from discrimination. Fortunately for LBGTQ students in CA, the law is now on their side. Hopefully, it will stay that way.

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