California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a law requiring all schools in the state to provide gender-neutral bathrooms.
The new legislation, signed on Saturday, expands a state law that schools allow students to use bathrooms that align with their “gender identity.”
“The bill, which explicitly requires an additional gender-neutral option, was inspired by an attempt by Chino Valley Unified to restrict transgender students’ access to certain bathrooms and sports facilities,” the Los Angeles Times reports. “The law is part of a package of bills aiming to protect LGBTQ+ youths and comes amid proliferating culture wars in districts with conservative-controlled school boards, whose focus has become ‘parental rights’ and student gender identity.”
The 2021 Chino Valley district resolution, which would have required students to use the bathroom matching their biological sex, did not pass after State Supt. of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond warned them that it was “unlawful.”
Still, the unsuccessful attempt to protect the privacy of female students inspired the law that Newsom signed over the weekend.
The Times report noted, “Chino Valley Unified, in San Bernardino County, became the first district this summer to approve a controversial policy that requires schools to notify parents of students’ decisions regarding gender identity, such as the use of preferred pronouns.”
LGBTQ groups in the state applauded the new law.
“While states across the nation are passing legislation that puts LGBTQ+ people and especially youth at risk, California is sending a clear message today — hate-filled attacks will not be tolerated and we will continue protecting and ensuring the safety of all members of the LGBTQ+ community,” Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang said in a statement obtained by the newspaper.
Newsom also signed a law requiring foster parents to prove that they will support an LGBTQ child’s “sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The bill, SB 407, directs the Department of Social Services to amend the foster care vetting process to deny a family the right to foster children based on their beliefs about gender theory.
State Senator Scott Wiener introduced the legislation, which he says “ensures LGBTQ foster youth are raised in supportive environments by creating standard documentation for their needs, adding more follow-up from the Department of Social Services, and requiring LGBTQ youth’s needs be specifically considered in at-home assessments – including clarifying that conduct that poses risk to the health and safety of LGBTQ youth is a valid reason to deny a family the right to host a foster youth.”