In 2018, California passed legislation allowing students to use the bathrooms that correspond with their biological sex.
At the time, the state Senate passed SB 1582, which required public schools to allow transgender students to choose the gender they identify with, and to provide services to students with gender identity disorder and gender dysphoria.
But the legislation wasn’t signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.
It was eventually signed into federal law in 2020 by President Donald Trump, and became law on January 1, 2021.
Since then, the Trump administration has expanded its use of this policy to cover transgender students in public schools, and it is also now being implemented in states across the country.
“If you go to the local schools in your area, you can use the restroom or locker room of the gender with which you identify,” said Rachelle Young, a California transgender rights activist and former school board member.
“In many of these districts, they’ve been told that if they want to use that bathroom, they must use that gender, even though it is against the law.”
At Blake High School in Oakland, the student government has a transgender girl, Jia, who is in the girls’ bathroom.
In the boys’ room, she uses the restroom that corresponds to her birth gender.
“When we were trying to get her to use our boys’ bathroom, she said, ‘I just don’t feel comfortable in there,’ ” Young said.
“She felt like it was against her dignity to be in that environment.
So we had to call the police and have them go over and escort her out of there.
She felt like she was being harassed, and she was just trying to do what she felt like was right.”
According to Young, Jiums situation isn’t unique.
“This is the most common transgender experience for students, and the most commonly experienced by our community,” she said.
The issue has also sparked a new wave of activism, with people like the Berkeley School of Law’s attorney Michael A. Stone leading the charge against California’s new law.
Stone, who works with transgender youth, told NBC News that his organization is working with other civil rights groups, law enforcement, and other organizations to make sure that students and teachers don’t face discrimination based on gender identity.
“I think the most important thing is that this law does not create an atmosphere of bullying and intimidation of transgender students,” Stone said.
In September, Stone told NBC’s Megyn Kelly that he and his law group have spoken with dozens of transgender youth and have been able to “make it clear to them that they are not a danger to themselves or others.”
“I have a lot of people who are really concerned about that.
And they’ve also said, we’re all going to die,” Stone added.
“And the more you educate people, the more people they can be reassured that the future of the world is not the future they want it to be.”
While the majority of the states’ bathroom laws have been enacted since 2016, there are several states in which the policies are still in place.
Many states, like California, do not recognize transgender people as a protected class, which means they cannot use public restrooms that match their gender identity, or have gender-confirming surgery or hormone therapy.
But others, like New York, have expanded their policies, allowing transgender students access to the facilities of their choosing.
“The issue of discrimination is real, and there are laws in place that prevent discrimination,” Stone told Kelly.
“What’s new is that the federal government has taken on this issue.”
Stone said that the group is working to pass a bill in New York that would ban discrimination based upon gender identity and gender expression.
The bill, however, has yet to make it to the state senate.
“It would be a significant step to change the law in the state of New York,” Stone explained.
“Because the law hasn’t changed, the public schools have not changed, and we have not been able at all to enforce the law, and I think that would be the wrong thing to do.”
According the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, transgender students are the fastest growing demographic in the school-based systems they serve, and have disproportionately experienced violence and harassment.
“These issues are not just occurring in public-school systems, but also in private, for-profit, for–profit and religious schools,” the ACLU said in a statement.
“Schools that discriminate based on a student’s gender identity are in violation of federal law, are in direct violation of their own federal nondiscrimination laws, and risk losing federal funding.
They are in the business of profit, not education, and students who cannot access a safe, inclusive and respectful learning environment should not have to choose between their right to attend school and their right not to be bullied.”
Stone has been a vocal opponent of the new federal law and has said that he plans to file