SAN FRANCISCO — California is preparing for the first state law in the U.S. spelling out the rights of transgender students, but it's possible the law could be suspended within days of its Jan. 1 launch if an effort to repeal it makes it onto voters' ballots later in the year.
The law is the nation's first requiring public schools to let transgender children use sex-segregated facilities and participate in the gender-specific activities of their choice.
California law allows transgender students to pick bathrooms and sports teams they identify with.
"We don't know what's going to happen when kids come back from their holiday vacation," said Republican state Sen. Steve Knight, who voted against the law. "Are there going to be 15-year-old girls talking in the bathroom and in walks a boy? What are they going to do? Scream? Run out?"
The possibility that the law could be overturned worries Ashton Lee, 16. Born a girl, Ashton recently told his parents and school administrators that he was transgender.
Ashton lobbied for the law and thinks his public activism helped persuade his school to acknowledge his gender identity when school resumed in August. He now is allowed to use the boy's restrooms. Similar adjustments have been made for five transgender classmates.