California teen delivers petition to bring equality and protection to transgender students

Transgender high school student Ashton Lee of Manteca, California, delivered nearly 6,000 petition signatrues to Gov. Jerry Brown's Sacramento office, in support of a pending bill which would provide protection for transgender students in the state.

The California bill, AB 1266, was introduced by assembly member Tom Ammiano and coauthored by Senator Mark Leno and Senator Ricardo Lara. Putting this bill into law would ensure California public schools will take responsibility for the well-being of all students, including the transgender student population. As GLAAD previously reported, the bill would allow transgender students to access school accommodations (bathrooms, locker rooms, etc.) that affirm their gender identity, and participate in the same sports teams and other school activities as their peers do. As its name suggests, the bill supports transgender students' success by providing a set of essential protections in California state law.

AB 1266 was approved by both the Senate and Assembly, and will now be moving on to Gov. Brown.

“I just want to be treated the same as all the other boys, but my school forces me to take P.E. in a class of all girls and live as someone I’m not," said Lee. "I can’t learn and succeed when every day in that class leaves me feeling isolated and alone.”

This teen decided to make steps in order to advance equality in school systems by collecting 5,700 signatures in support of the bill. The signatures were then personally delivered to the office of Gov. Brown in support of AB 1266.

“I’m really hopeful that this is going to work and I’ve got faith in this,” Ashton said in response to his endeavors.

Last week, GLAAD noted that the Arcadia Unified School District in California is dealing with a case in which a transgender student was being discriminated against. These cases are proof of the dire need for this bill to be passed.

While many people are in support of the proposed bill, misconceptions and unfounded claims about the safety of students if the bill passes are also surfacing. The truth, however, is that this bill would provide protections that all students deserve to have in place. Discrimination should not hinder a student from getting an education or being involved in extracurricular activities at school.

Join GLAAD in promoting equal treatment for all students in California, including those who are transgender, by contacting Governor Brown and voicing your support.

To take action, contact the governor's office by phone at (916) 445-2841, email, or via Facebook and Twitter

Watch as Ashton Lee delivers petition to Governor Brown below: