A California lawmaker has introduced a bill aimed at protecting transgender students from discrimination. The measure is aimed at making all students feel welcome everywhere on campus-- including restrooms. Supporters say the new measure would be another step toward acceptance. There are some concerns it could create more problems than it would solve.
For many people, a trip to the restroom doesn't require much thought, but for transgender people like Zoyer Zyndel, it's not so easy.
Zoyer Zyndel says, "If I had been allowed to use the restroom of my choice in high school, I think that would have increased my self-esteem. I think that would have reduced the level of depression I had."
Zyndel recalls his time in school as a time of isolation and humiliation. Even though he thought of himself as boy, he had to use the girl's restroom. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is pushing to change that. A proposed bill would allow transgender students the right to use restrooms of the gender they identify with.
Parent Stella Delgado says, "I think it will be fine because if they feel that that's what they are, then that's what they are."
"As a student, I think it would be okay if a guy who thinks they're a girl to go inside the girl's restroom, because if they go inside the boy's they'd probably be picked on. Half of the girls wouldn't mind. I wouldn't," says student Justice Mitchell.
But some would mind. Dutch Jenkins has three daughters. He says bathrooms are separated for a reason.
"I don't want a young man going into the bathroom behind my daughter, plain and simple," says Jenkins.
Jenkins fears the bill would give people who want to prey on the opposite sex, an excuse to do so.
"You're talking about doing things. They're disguising it is equal rights but you're actually infringing on other people's rights."
The measure would also allow transgender students the right to play on sports teams of their chosen gender. Zyndel says it's legislation that's long overdue.
"This is about people feeling comfortable in their own skin. This is about people being able to live their authentic selves."
We did reach out to both Fresno and Clovis unified about this issue. Currently, those districts do not have any bathroom policies in place for transgender students. Los Angeles Unified did put a policy in place for it's district several years ago.
The California Interscholastic Federation does have a policy in place that would allow a transgender student to play on a sports team of the opposite sex. This is determined on a case by case basis. Officials say they see about five cases a year.