Parents look to overturn transgender restroom law

FRESNO, California


Fresno County is just one of 17 counties an advocacy group is targeting. They want opponents to the new law to sign a petition to give voters the right to decide if transgender students will be allowed into the restroom and locker rooms they identify with.

For as long as any of us can remember school restrooms, teams and locker rooms have been assigned either boys or girls. Well, it's not that easy for 16-year-old Ashton Lee. Born a girl but identifying as a boy, Lee and his family lobbied for the change.

In July Lee told Action News he's just not comfortable with the current rules at his school in Manteca.

"I was placed in a class full of all girls for PE, which doesn't make any sense to me because I'm a boy," Lee said. "And every day, I go into the class, and it was just a reminder that I'm all by myself."

The new law requires schools to allow students the right to use whichever restroom and play on whichever sports teams based on their identified gender, not what's written on their birth certificate.

But that, for some parents, is a big mistake. "I have a daughter that's in high school and I don't think it's right that she would be sharing a restroom or a PE locker room and shower with a male student," said Fresno parent Jim Graham.

Safety is a concern for other parents who support transgender equality. But moms like Joanna Quiocho worry about those students being bullied behind closed doors.

"I'm in support of the transgenders and their… every one having their rights," Quiocho said. "But I just think there needs to be something enforced as far as everyone's safety, as far as no one being pushed around."

The effort to overturn the law signed by Governor Brown in July is running out of time. Petitions to keep restrooms segregated biologically are due by Sunday. The new law goes into effect January first.

The Fresno County clerk Brandy Orth told Action News she will be in Sunday morning to receive those petitions.

The group behind the campaign, Privacy for all Students, says it believes enough signatures will be turned in to create the ballot measure.

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