California Governor Jerry Brown [official website] signed a bill into law on Monday intended to protect transgender public school students throughout the state. AB 1266 [text] amends the state's education code to specifically prohibit public schools from discriminating on the basis of gender identity and gender expression and allow students to participate in sex-segregated activities consistent with their own gender identity and regardless of the gender listed on their records. The law will have the effect of granting transgender students the ability to choose whether to use the boy's or girl's bathroom at school and whether to join a boy's or girl's sports team. California is the first state in the US [AP report] to incorporate protections for transgender students into its laws. While opponents of the bill argue that allowing transgender students to choose which facilities to use violates the privacy rights [CBS report] of other students, supporters feel the protections are necessary to reduce bullying and discrimination.
Rights for transgender individuals remains a contentious issue throughout the world. Last month the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) [official website] ruled [JURIST report] in favor of a transgender woman who endured physical and verbal harassment during her employment as a federal contractor in Maryland. In May a number of human rights groups urged Cameroon to drop charges [JURIST report] against two transgender youths who were arrested for engaging in homosexual conduct. Earlier that month, Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal ruled [JURIST report] that a law prohibiting a transgender woman from marrying her boyfriend was invalid under the Chinese constitution. In March Canadian lawmakers approved a bill [JURIST report] that would outlaw discrimination against transgender individuals.