California [US], September 26 (ANI): California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a law requiring K-12 (from kindergarten to 12th grade) schools to provide gender-neutral bathrooms by July 2026, CNN reported.
The new law, Senate Bill 760, was among a series of laws signed by Newsom on Saturday to expand protections for the state’s LGBTQ community.
Newsom said in a statement: “California is proud to have some of the most robust laws in the nation when it comes to protecting and supporting our LGBTQ+ community.”
Under the law, “each school district, county office of education, and charter school” would be required to have at least one gender-neutral bathroom on campus on or before July 1, 2026. The bathroom must be available for use during school hours and during school functions when students are present, the law states, as per CNN.
The law allows for the temporary closure of any gender-neutral bathroom only if there is a documented student safety concern, an immediate threat to student safety or for the bathroom to be repaired.
It also requires the gender-neutral bathroom to have signage identifying the space as being open to all genders and be unlocked and accessible to all students. It requires schools to designate a staff member to serve as a point of contact to ensure the bathroom is compliant with state law.
According to a recent study conducted by the Human Rights Campaign, 43% of transgender and non-binary students were never able to use a bathroom or locker room facility that matched their gender identity. 38% of said that their school didn’t have an option for them or didn’t have enough facilities to support their needs.
State Senator Josh Newman who sponsored the law, applauded the governor’s action, telling CNN it was “only fair that everybody has access to a restroom without fear of outing, bullying, or stigmatization.”
Newman said he hopes the law becomes a model for other states to help protect children.
Executive director of the LGBTQ civil rights group Equality California, Tony Hoang, said the governor’s action sends a “clear message” that California will protect the rights of the LGBTQ community.
“Hate-filled attacks will not be tolerated and we will continue protecting and ensuring the safety of all members of the LGBTQ+ community,” Hoang said, as per CNN.
California becomes the first American state to mandate gender-neutral bathrooms in schools by 2026. (ANI)
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