2/13/13

California Saddleback College Breaks Laws Denying Public Accommodations Outing Transgender Student


Saddleback College (commonly referred to as Saddleback) is a community college in Mission Viejo, , California. As a part of the California Community College system Saddleback is required to abide by Callifornia Sate law The Gender Nondiscrimination Act (AB 887) which specificaly applies to secondary schools that receive public funds.

According to the Saddleback student news paper the Lariat News Natalie Smith, a transgender student, was "told by campus police that she would be arrested for using the woman's restroom in the girls locker room late January at the beginning of the semester."

"We can't have men in the women's locker room," said Interim Chief of Police Christopher S.M. Wilkinson."

"Wilkinson said that once Smith completes her therapy requirements, undergoes surgery to become a transsexual, and carries official documentation then she is more than welcome to use the woman's restroom."

The Gender Nondiscrimination Act (AB 887) [Approved by Governor October 9, 2011. Filed with Secretary of State October 9, 2011.]


Saddleback college is clearly violating the law but the damage doesn't stop there. The Lariet article by putting Natalie's name in parentheses suggests her name is less than authentic then goes on tho make public her birth name a number of times, outing her and putting her at grave risk.

Mark Daniel Snyder Communications director at the Transgender Law Center replied to my media injury by stating:

"California law prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression in any program or activity conducted by an educational institution that receives, or benefits from, state financial assistance or enrolls pupils who receive state student financial aid."

"California law says it is the responsibility of school district governing boards to ensure that school district programs and activities are free from discrimination and have policies to combat harassment and discrimination."

"California law does not distinguish between “transsexual” and "transgender” persons for the purpose of nondiscrimination law – every person is protected from discrimination based upon their gender identity and gender expression. Discrimination includes permitting some women, but not others, to use women’s restrooms on campus."

"There is no California law requiring a transgender woman to have sex reassignment surgery in order to use the women’s restroom."

"If you are denied restroom access based upon your gender identity you should call the Transgender Law center."

The California based Transgender Law Center championed AB 887 and welcomes requests for help.

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