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Del Campo Roar

The Student News Site of Del Campo High School

Del Campo Roar

The Student News Site of Del Campo High School

Del Campo Roar

Protecting parents rights or attacking the children they hate?

Transphobic laws have spread thought out the United States

Since 2015 there has been an  outreach of love and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community in America. Stores from Target to World Market decorated sections of their store with rainbows and glitter during Pride Month.

While stores still show their support during Pride, there has been a discriminatory political movement that aims to do direct harm to the LGBTQ+ community. States such as Florida, Texas, Alabama, Tennessee and many other Republican states  started to produce laws such as the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill proposed by Ron Desantis in Florida stating that “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

The laws proposed by law makers all have one cause in mind. To reduce the visibility of trans and queer people in their states. By criminalizing the discussion of them and their existence it is a hard stance against the communities they are policing. 

While I do have the privilege of being a transgender student in the very left leaning state of California, there is one law introduced to the California legislation according to this law tracker

The bill introduced in California is AB-1314, known more commonly as “Gender Identity: Parent Notification.” The bill states that any California public school teachers must tell the parents or guardians of a student that the student has asked them to refer to them by a different name or different pronouns than what the student was assigned at birth. 

The law pulls on a pre existing law that allows parents the right to know what a student is being taught in public schools and to have access to their students’ school records if they desire to see them. This bill uses that prenotion to argue that a students gender identity they chose to present with at school should fall under the category of what the curriculum they are learning is and school transcript viewing.

This law argues parents’ right to a child’s information and fails to recognize the nuance that some students may have held back from telling their parents for a multitude of reasons, ranging from not being ready to inform their parents or for their own safety. 

This law is vague though, just stating the teacher must report when a student isn’t using the name or pronouns assigned to them on their birth certificate. This by all means could target the girl named “Elizabeth” who goes by “Lizzie” or “Beth”, or the boy named “Joseph” who goes by “Joe” or “Joey”. The transphobic intention behind the law is still present but its outreach can hit more than just the trans students its targeting. 

Cisgendered students could very well be hit by these laws as well. Teachers dedicated to keeping their jobs, and possibly threatened by the laws plan to take action against teachers who neglect the policies. The parents who will receive the time wasting phone call, and the students who have to be the subject of a drama that never needed to happen. 

Hate crimes have been on the rise in the United states and there is a strong  link between  bills like AB 1314 and hate crimes. . According to the FBI Hate Crime Statistics, gender based hate crimes have jumped 32.9% from last year alone. In addition, one in five hate crimes are against people in the LGBTQ+ community. 

 The rate of suicide among queer and transgender youth in America is also on a disturbing rise amidst the multitude of hateful laws being passed. According to the 2020 trevor project survey about 45% of LGBTQ+ youth has seriously considered suicide. 

It is blatantly apparent that bills like AB 1314 do more harm than good. This bill that is meant to focus on parents rights, outwardly supports outing trans youth to their parents or guardians while the student may not even be ready for anyone besides the teacher they have entrusted with the knowledge. 

The argument for parents’ rights is an inadequate one at best. The calling on past laws about open class curriculum is a vastly different topic than a student’s gender identity and pronoun usage. 

In 2023 alone we’ve seen the categorization, symbolism, dehumanization, discrimination, polarization, and persecution of us is increase faster than we ever had before. For example, there is an  “anti-drag” law banning the public performance of “male or female performers.” The loose wording in this law is intentionally confusing to where anyone not abiding to strict gender norms may be punished. There are also  overt  laws that state trans people may be arrested for being in the bathroom they identify with. Many laws also target children directly, Bill OK SB129 from Oklahoma makes it a felony to provide gender affirming healthcare to anyone under 26 years of age. 

All these laws target the trans community out right in America. The amount of Americans that identify as trans is approximately 1.03% of the adult population or about 2.6 million Americans. This information is from the 2021 US Census Bureau. For less than 2% of the American adult population, the American lawmakers in 49 states have chosen to make 583 bills attacking us. The number itself is alarming but we can be thankful that out of the 583 laws on 85 have passed compared to the 125 laws that have failed. 

Many of these laws target trans kids in the public school system, like the one introduced  in California. This law hits very close to home for me, both as a transgender minor living in California and as a student who was outed by a teacher at one point during my middle school time.

 I was  outed as trans non binary to my mother during the seventh grade. I am forever thankful that my teacher’s unprofessional handling of what she had only heard me and my friends discuss, and that I had yet to approach her about it, was handled with some grace in my household.

Neither of my parents were angry with me, their outrage was more focused on the teacher herself who questioned me on the topic with my mom sitting next to me at a school meeting. I am also eternally grateful that my parents are by no means transphobic and that even with this knowledge of my gender Identity I was by no means endangered in my household. 

Despite that positive ending it still wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. The subject wasn’t broached by my family until two years later in a painful conversation that resolved the issue and had my identity be more respected in my household than before. I am very lucky to have the only negative outcome of my outing be an awkward conversation. 

Any other trans kid in my place could have had the same outcome or worse, could have dealt with a nasty, transphobic reaction by their parents. This teacher in later conversations with my mom seemed to have not seen the issue in her actions. Brushing it off as okay due to her husband having legally changed his name. 

She very well could have talked to just me at a later date on the topic. During school hours she could have pulled me aside or, if she didn’t want to interrupt either of our work, she could have emailed me about the subject. She chose not to and instead handled the situation in an unprofessional manner and with the grace and poise of a newborn. To the point where in later years when she was a teacher for my younger siblings she couldn’t fathom the disdain my family held for her.

Due to my past with the possibility of a teacher outing students I harbor an extreme fear for what may happen if this law gets passed state wide. 

So far in California  six school districts have chosen to support this law even before it is passed. They have created their own institutional policies enacting the parental notification rules of their own. Orange Unified School District, Rocklin Unified School District, Temecula Valley Unified school district, Anderson Union High School District, Murrieta Valley Unified school district, and Chino Valley Unified School District have passed almost identical policies to deal with the proposed law. 

 However, they are getting push back. The policies of the Chino Valley Unified  have been investigated by California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta for violation of civil rights under California’s long standing anti discrimination laws and a students right to privacy. This investigation followed a letter sent by the Attorney General to the Superintendent Norman Enfield and the board on July 20, the day of the school board vote on the policy. The letter expressed Bonta’s concerns over the school board policy. Bonta’s letter also warns of the mental harm that outing can place on the youth who are subjected to the actions. 

“Chino Valley Unified’s new forced outing policy threatens the safety and well-being of LGBTQ+ students vulnerable to harassment and potential abuse from peers and family members unaccepting of their gender identity. Today’s announcement stresses our commitment to challenging school policies that target and seek to discriminate against California’s most vulnerable communities. California will not stand for violations of our students’ civil rights.” Bonta says in a press release regarding the civil investigation. This investigation has halted the Chino Valley policy from being implemented in their schools.

The Chino Unified school policy required the school’s principal to be informed if a student is experiencing gender dysphoria. This part of the policy is weird and invasive. Many trans students may have no relation to their principal outside of seeing them around campus. The principal has no need to know this about their student under normal circumstances, so why does this school district feel the need to have this as a required policy within their schools.

We just want to feel safe in their schools. We want to worry about their grades and upcoming math tests over the threat of being outed to our parents. To mandate the outing of trans students, rips the right of a student to come out when, and to whom, they choose.

Coming out is meant to be an intimate moment between child and parent, not something that happens through the school district. To have the level of delusion some people have to believe that any teacher has the right to bypass a student’s well being and tell the parents of a student’s actions in school are obscene . Especially when these actions don’t break any school rules or harm fellow students it is out of line. 

As a student who had the right to come out stripped from them, I hope that no other trans student who is still in the closet has to go through the pain that I did. No student deserves to have their privacy violated by the teachers whose job is to teach them and nurture them as they grow into the next generation to lead the world. It is not their job to be the canary in a coal mine for the students’ identity. 

Living in America, we have the right to petition the government under the First Amendment. This means that we can give direct input on laws or bills to the people in power. We can contact our local representatives and talk to them. Please use this ability to contact your local representative and ask them to fight against AB-1314. Together we can all influence the swing of our politicians and keep the classrooms safe for trans students.

 To find your California Representative you can use this government website and find who represents you based on your address, city, and zip code. This website will give you your district representative for both state assembly and senate. From here you can go to their website and use the “contact me” section to email them. Use this power we have in our government. Using this as a political output to respectfully voice your opinions and wants to your representatives can keep out American Democracy healthy and in check. 

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About the Contributor
Maxx Zander, Writer
Maxx Zander is a Junior at Del Campo in their first year on The DC Roar staff. They love writing with a passion, which lead them to become a part of the writing department. They love to write when they can, whatever genre it may be. When they graduate with the class of 2025, Maxx plans to study Children's Physiology and English Literature. They want to write books for young kids to enjoy and grow with, like they did with so many book series of their own.