California schools would be required to tell parents their child is transgender, all in the name of championing parents’ rights and helping youth, under a new bill.
Critics, however, argue the legislation would threaten LGBTQ students’ safety.
AB 1314 was introduced this week by first-term Republican Assembly member Bill Essayli, who represents the 63rd District in western Riverside County.
The bill would give school districts three days to notify parents, in writing, once a school employee learns a student identifies as a gender that doesn’t align with their birth certificate or other official records. For example, asking to be identified by a different gender or participating in sports of the opposite gender.
“Public policy should never presume that a parent does not have the best interests for that child,” Essayli said during a Monday news conference to promote AB 1314.
“Concealing information from parents is not only wrong, it’s dangerous and harmful to the emotional and physical safety of trans minors,” he said.
Essayli told The Sacramento Bee that the California Family Council, which describes itself as “advancing God’s design for life, family and liberty through California’s church, capitol and culture,” approached him about sponsoring the bill.
The bill was inspired by a teacher in the Jurupa Unified School District who claims she was fired from Jurupa Valley High School after refusing to withhold information from parents that their child is transgender.
Equality California and the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus issued a joint statement condemning AB 1314.
Legislation “that aims to ‘out’ transgender and non-binary students against their will does not protect them — it puts them in potentially life-threatening danger, subjecting them to trauma and violence,” the caucus said.
While LGBTQ students should feel safe talking about their gender and sexuality, “AB 1314 ignores the reality that not all trans youth have that option,” Equality California said.
In a Feb. 2022 report on homelessness among LGBTQ young people, The Trevor Project found that “mistreatment or fear of mistreatment related to their LGBTQ identity” was a factor for 40% of LGBTQ youths who had been kicked out of their homes and 55% who said they had run away or been abandoned.
“Trans people are more likely to face family rejection and even abuse at home based on their gender identity… For many trans kids, school is the only place they feel safe to be their true, authentic selves,” Equality California said. “Forced ‘outing’ bills like AB 1314 seek to strip that sense of safety and dignity away.”