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Controversial Transgender Rights Bill Awaits Action from Gov. Brown

Max Pringle, Capital Public Radio

16-year-old Ashton Lee of Manteca speaks with a reporter after turning in a petition urging Gov. Jerry Brown to sign a transgender rights bill.

Max Pringle, Capital Public Radio

A controversial transgender student bill is awaiting action from California Governor Jerry Brown. The bill would allow transgender students to play on sports teams and use the facilities of the gender with which they identify.

Sixteen-year-old Ashton Lee says he sometimes feels isolated. His school district in Manteca views him as a girl but he identifies as male.  He says getting assigned to girls P.E. and having to use the female restrooms unfairly singles him out.

“This will help me be able to participate fully as who I am in school,” says Lee. “I wouldn’t have to hide anything and have to be uncomfortable.”

Opponents fear the measure could have unintended consequences. Carol Hogan with the California Catholic Conference says the bill doesn’t guard against some students acting in bad faith.

“It wouldn’t be a stretch to realize that mischievous or malicious students might use the law to actually intimidate other people,” says Hogan.

Both sides are heavily lobbying Governor Brown.

Max Pringle

State Government Reporter

Max covers the state capital, bringing more than a decade of experience in print and public radio, including reporting for KPFA, KQED and KALW. He traces his news roots to working on his his high school newspaper.   Read Full Bio