The final results are in, and opponents of California’s new law protecting transgender students have failed to collect enough signatures to challenge the law with a ballot referendum. County election officers determined that just 487,484 of the signatures they submitted were valid, short of the 504,760 that were necessary. The coalition fighting the law, Privacy for All Students (PFAS), submitted 619,387 signatures.
The law, AB 1266, guarantees that transgender students can use the school facilities and play on the athletic teams they identify with. Many of the state’s largest schools have had such protections in place for some time. Opponents argue that it’s somehow a violation of other students’ privacy if transgender students are allowed access to restrooms and locker rooms.
This is surely not the end, however, of PFAS’ effort to fight the law. They will have the opportunity to challenge the invalidation of the signatures they submitted in hopes of getting a new count that qualifies them for the referendum. They could also start a new process of signature collecting, hoping to qualify instead for a ballot initiative — which is different from a referendum — that invalidates the law.
The groups that are part of the coalition, like the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) and National Organization for Marriage, have promised that they will continue to fight trans students’ equality. PJI, in particular, is on the hunt for “victims,” students willing to object to a trans student at their school being granted inclusive access. They exercised this tactic to target a Colorado student, accusing her of harassment, when in reality, other students were simply transphobic and hostile to her.
In the meantime, AB 1266 is the law and trans students across the state of California are enjoying full inclusion in their schools. One student at Azusa High School, Pat Cordova-Goff, is already planning to make use of this new opportunity by becoming the first trans student there to join the girls’ softball team.