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COMMENTARY: Decline to sign anti-transgender petitions circulating at San Diego colleges

In August, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law AB 1266, a landmark bill that extended the rights of transgender students.

The law serves to set a standard to make it clear that a student who is transgender can have equal access to the school programs and facilities that match their gender identity. For students who are transgender, this would provide them a fair chance to succeed in their crucial years of development.

Immediately after, the radical, anti-LGBT ideologue Karen England of the Capitol Resource Institute (CRI) launched her typical uneducated, hate-filled speech, now targeting transgender students. She said that this law was akin to “San Francisco values,” insinuating that giving trans students a safe space to change is some how a “moral low.”

England and her “Capital Cronies” have launched statewide petitions before such as the one to repeal SB48, the LGBT education law initiated in California. Now this same group is trying to repeal AB1266.

Recently a young student named Ashton Lee from Manteca, Calif. filed a request with the Attorney General’s Office asking them to investigate whether CRI is operating illegally, as they have been claiming to be tax-exempt even though their tax-exempt status has been revoked by the IRS.

But CRI isn’t the only group using fear to confuse and energize their base. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) joined them to create a coalition website misleadingly titled “Privacy for All Students.” And, more recently, the Tea Party convinced a fractured California Republican Party to jump aboard.

Let’s be clear - all California students have a right to privacy, and every student should be able to participate fully at school.

What is very sad and disappointing is how now CRI and NOM have made trans students out to be some sort of sexual monsters. That giving them a safe locker room and access to sports programs somehow violates “privacy.” This demonization and gross sexualization is the height of hysteria and targeted discrimination and it needs to be stopped.

Several students from San Diego City College approached me and said that there are petitioners who are trying to "stop transgender people from using public bathrooms." This is not the literal wording or intent of the petition, but it is a smoking gun that England’s religious extremism has made it to San Diego County.

It's also been noted by some that these petitions are circulating at UCSD as well.

Months ago I was in contact with the Transgender Law Center (TLC). It was requested by the organization's leadership that they be contacted whenever individuals see these petitions being circulated. Make no mistake, the LGB community cannot abandon our “T” community in this crucial time. If they are subject to a Proposition 8 style attack on their civil rights, we all will be set back.

Decline to sign and report to the TLC! The CRI has until early November to turn in their signature initiative.


The verbiage of the position is below.


PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES. If signed by the required number of registered voters and timely filed
with the Secretary of State, this petition will place on the statewide ballot a challenge to a state law previously approved by the Legislature and the Governor. The law must then be approved by a majority of voters at the next statewide election to go into effect. The law would permit elementary/secondary school students to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with the student’s gender identity. (13-0015.)