Gitlin resolution opposes AB 1266

Written by Jessica Cejnar, The Triplicate October 28, 2013 04:10 pm

County Supervisor Roger Gitlin’s resolution opposing a new law that applies to transgender students in California’s public schools stalled at the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

Assembly Bill 1266, which was introduced by San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano as the School Success and Opportunity Act, requires K-12 schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and participate on sports teams that match the gender they identify with. Gov. Jerry Brown signed it Aug. 12, and it takes effect Jan. 1. 

Gitlin said AB 1266 is an egregious overreach by Sacramento, which is engaged in “out of control social engineering.” 

He said he proposed the resolution to spark discussion among supervisors.

“Less than 1 percent of the population of the state is identified as transgender,” Gitlin said. “I just think it’s an overreach. I’m really surprised that the governor signed this.”

Supervisors voted 3-1-1 to table discussion of the resolution, which referred to AB 1266 as a bill rather than a law. Gitlin voted no and District 4 Supervisor Gerry Hemmingsen abstained. Gitlin said he would make sure the resolution is revised to refer to AB 1266 as a law and brought back before the Board of Supervisors.

The board’s action came after Steve Godla, Del Norte County Unified School District’s assistant superintendent of instruction and educational services, reminded supervisors that implementing AB 1266 falls to the School Board, not the county.

“I want to make sure the public knows we are going to make sure the School Board is briefed in this,” Godla said. “We are going to seek out legal counsel to make sure we are following the appropriate path. As we’re studying this we will look at school districts in the state that have already implemented the new law. Be assured we are not going to take this lightly.”

Supervisor David Finigan noted the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution about 10 years ago that it would take no action on any item that would affect another governing body. He suggested the Board of Supervisors meet with the School Board.

Gitlin’s resolution was modeled after one the Del Norte County Republican Central Committee unanimously approved at a recent meeting, according to committee chairwoman Karen Sanders. 

The new law will subject California students to an unwarranted invasion of privacy, Sanders said, reading from the resolution. There is no right to object, no provision to address the concerns of a child who doesn’t want to share his or her facility with a member of the opposite biological sex, she said. 

“It eliminates parental involvement. It is a one-size-fits-all,” Sanders said. “It is wide open to abuse and to lawsuits. It allows a student to be exposed to fully mature students of the opposite sex in showers, bathrooms and locker rooms. It’s government-mandated elimination of their privacy.”

Fort Dick resident Dale Bohling said he and his grandson collected signatures last weekend in an effort to place a statewide referendum on the 2014 ballot overturning AB 1266. He said he was able to fill up his petitions within two miles of his home.

“In my opinion, AB 1266 is the most egregious overreach by the LGBT agenda to date,” he said, adding that the folks he spoke with were startled when they learned about the new law. “Many of them said they’re not going to allow their children to go to school, especially their daughters to attend public school. They will pull them out, homeschool them, whatever it takes. They will not allow their daughters to be subjected to this.”

Crescent City resident Brook Aguilar spoke in favor of the new law, saying that people with gender dysphoria — the scientific term for a person who is transgender — have to deal with discrimination.

“The bathroom of all places is the most terrifying place for a person with gender dysphoria to enter,” Aguilar said. “With the way our politics go in this county and how conservative this county is, this (resolution) also opens up the door to macho young men harassing young transgendered women, and that is a hate crime and it’s just not acceptable. Their rights need to be protected so that they may use the facilities they identify with.”

Aguilar cited the growing practice among health professionals to use hormone therapy to delay puberty until a transgender child is old enough to decide whether he or she wants to participate in gender reassignment. 

“Their bodies don’t develop until about 16 years of age, when they typically take hormone therapies that match the gender they identify with,” she said. “Because of this nervousness, this need to fit in, they also pay a lot of attention to their appearance. I don’t know that everyone understands that a transgender child or teenager appears as the gender they identify with. And many of them are straight, meaning that they are attracted to the gender opposite of the gender they identify with.”

Before the Board’s decision to table the resolution, Supervisor Martha McClure said as a teacher she has had transgendered children in her classroom. 

“They get bullied and they get outed and it is heartbreaking,” she said. “I believe this resolution that has been brought forward has inaccuracies in it, starting with calling it a bill as opposed to a law. ... I think it is partial hysteria, and if we have not fully vetted this resolution, I would move the Board of Supervisors table (it) at this time.”

Board Chairman Mike Sullivan also voted to table the resolution, although he said he is opposed to AB 1266. He encouraged residents to contact the School Board.

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