All California public schools could soon be required to offer a gender-neutral bathroom on campus, should a state bill introduced by state Sen. Josh Newman pass.
The bill, introduced in February, requires that each school campus that offers kindergarten to 12th grade classes have at least one gender-neutral bathroom available to students during the school day.
All California school districts will have until Jan. 1, 2025, to have a gender-neutral bathroom on the campus should the bill become law.
“Let’s face it — at some point during a typical 8-hour school day, everyone is going to have to go. By requiring all California K-12 schools to provide gender-inclusive restroom facilities on campus, we’ll ensure the well-being of our LGBTQ+ and non-binary students and ensure safer school communities for everyone,” Newman, a Democrat from Fullerton, said in a statement.
Under the current law, California schools are required to give students access to a restroom that correlates to their gender. The lack of gender-neutral bathrooms in California public schools can be problematic for students who don’t identify with the traditional binary genders, Newman said in a news release.
“While states across the country are passing discriminatory policies attacking LGBTQ+ students, especially trans and non-binary youth, California is doubling down to ensure that schools are safe for all students to succeed,” said Tony Hoang, the executive director of Equality California, a nonprofit civil rights organization that advocates for the rights of LGBT people in California, in a statement.
Arkansas and Idaho are a few states that have introduced discriminatory policies that attack LGBTQ+ students, KQED reported.
About 43% of transgender and non-binary students have never used the bathroom or locker room at school that matches their gender identity, according to a 2018 study from the Human Rights Campaign.
“Schools should be a welcoming, safe place for all students – this includes access to bathrooms,” California State Superintendent Tony Thurmond said in a statement.