Gender Prison: Californians voting on transgender student rights seen as "unlikely"

Earlier this month, those opposed to California's new law AB1266 (who call themselves Privacy for All Students), which would provide transgender students with equal access to academic programs, submitted 613,120 petitioner signatures in an attempt to qualify repeal of the bill as a November, 2014 ballot initiative. Initiative rules stipulate that 504,760 of those signatures have to be valid for the initiative to take a place on the ballot.

Simple math shows that calls for 82.3% of the signatures to belong to registered California voters. Not so simple reasoning says unless the number of valid signatures required is actually 95% of the 504,760, which would be 479,522, the bill would fail to qualify for the ballot.

Currently the the signatures are averaging just 75% authenticity, which would only garner 459840 valid signatures, nearly 20000 short of the number necessary. Thus the appeal referendum currently appears unlikely to qualify.

The Executive Director of Equality California, John O'Connor, says that"it's unlikely, [but] not impossible" that the measure will come up for referendum.

I cannot attain the numbers Mr. O'Connor cites, even with a PhD in mathematics, but he probably knows the rules and I do not. I certainly don't get the 95% thing mentioned above.

They’re going to need an 81.41 percent validity rate to qualify for the ballot. You can see that they’re well below it currently. That 81.41 percent would be well above the average for any signature gathering activity. So, I mean there’s very real reason to hope that they’re not going to, but nothing’s conclusive itself until the process ends, and, sadly, we just have to give it it’s time to work.


So far the results of 11 counties have been examined, so 47 counties are left to be reviewed. Amador (east of Sacramento), Mono (east of Yosemite), and Mariposa (contains Yosemite and goes halfway to Modesto) are all small population counties (70K people in the three counties combined) which have yet to report their signature data.

The deadline for the random sampling to conclude is January 8.

If opponents of the law were found to have between 95 and 110 percent valid names in the random sample of the required total, the California Secretary of State would require a full check of signatures, which could mean the verification process could go into mid-March.

--Washington Blade

Personally my brain boggles at the concept of having 110% of the signatures being valid.

The law was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on August 13. It requires California's public schools to respect the gender identity of students and ensures that transgender students have access to all school activities, facilities, and sports teams in accordance with their gender identity.

As Mason Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, said at the time of Brown signing it into law…

I extend our deepest gratitude to the Governor, Assembly, and Senate for the passage and signing of this bill.

Now, every transgender student in California will be able to get up in the morning knowing that when they go to school as their authentic self they will have the same fair chance at success as their classmates.


O'Connor decries the fact that opponents of the law, which include NOM, would even attempt to block the law.

This is an attack on perhaps the most vulnerable population in our community. They’ve solidly lost on marriage, and so now they’re going to try to go after transgender kids. It’s just despicable.


The time limit for gathering signatures for the ballot initiative process is six months after the signing of the law…which appears to mean that opponents have until February to try again. Opponents could, theoretically, seek to remove gender identity from all non-discrimination laws.

The fact that the clock has been ticking and they’re losing time right now, it’s curious to me, it makes me wonder what they’re up to. It makes me uncertain whether they will or they won’t.


While we wait for the official results of the signature verification, we’re optimistic that, because of our friends in California, the ballot initiative will fail. The Transgender Law Center, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Equality California, among others, moved quickly to counter the repeal effort. And what we’ve shown is that campaigning against transgender kids won’t win in California or anywhere else.

--Mara Keisling, National Center for Transgender Equality





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Some sources…

Robyn's picture

…are interested in retribution and want the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) investigated for fraud in collection of the signatures because of the 25% error rate.

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This is a very important issue

aigeanta's picture

It is a lot more important than I thought when I first starting reading your diaries, Robyn. Thank you for enlightening me. I'm sorry if others don't find this issue as vital as food, clothing, shelter, etc, but people are dying and being persecuted because of their gender identification, and I regard human rights issues just as important as the other ones on the first hierarchy of needs. After all, you can't live if you've been deprived of your life.

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