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Mixed reactions in Lodi over new law regarding transgender students

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Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 12:00 am

Reaction in Lodi was mixed after Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that will allow transgender students to choose what restroom to use or whether to participate on either boys’ or girls’ athletic teams.

Chris Beach, who was active with the Lodi Rainbow Coalition, was glad to hear the news. Students should participate in the gender they identify with “because that’s who they are,” he said.

Transgender people identify with the opposite gender than the one they had at birth.

Ron Heberle, a Lodi Unified School District board member, wonders how the new law will be applied.

“Just because they passed a law doesn’t mean it’s a good idea,” Heberle said. “When the Legislature passes a law, I don’t believe they’re taking into account student safety.”

Heberle said that he expects lawsuits and countersuits to be filed over the legislation. He and Lodi Unified trustee George Neely said they would like more details on what the bill requires.

According to Equality California, an advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, passage of the bill will improve schools’ graduation rates because transgender people have often faced discrimination and been excluded from physical education classes, athletic teams and other school activities.

“This exclusion negatively impacts students’ ability to succeed in school and graduate with their class,” John O’Connor, Equality California’s executive director, said in a news release. “For example, physical education credits are required to graduate, but transgender students often do not have the support they need to fully participate in the courses.”

Beach, from Lodi, added that if students are allowed to participate in activities they identify with, they’re not as likely to drop out.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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  • Ross Farrow posted at 1:51 pm on Tue, Aug 13, 2013.

    Ross Farrow Posts: 104

    Wendy Coe: I understand the confusion. Our print edition of the Lodi News-Sentinel also included an LA Times article that addressed the bill in more detail. What I wrote was local reaction to that bill. Here's the link to the LA Times article: http://tinyurl.com/mquj8jc

  • Robert Molle posted at 10:11 am on Tue, Aug 13, 2013.

    Robert Molle Posts: 42

    Alienating the 99.99% to cater to the .01% does not make sense to me.

  • wendy coe posted at 7:50 am on Tue, Aug 13, 2013.

    wendy coe Posts: 33

    Equality is one issue, student privacy is another issue. Will this require a doctor's note, or a birth certificate reissued? How will schools deal with issue? When does the law go into effect? Changing facilities and restrooms are going to change forever. I just wonder how many students will feel comfortable changing in the same room, will many drop out? What about the student that tests the waters? Then decides to go back? A wonderful follow up article on what the requirements that need to be met to address one changing their gender.



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