Center for American Progress

How California’s School Success and Opportunity Act Protects Transgender Students

How California’s School Success and Opportunity Act Protects Transgender Students

Opponents of California's School Success and Opportunity Act are not basing their arguments in fact.

Part of a Series
idea light bulb

Earlier this month California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed the landmark School Success and Opportunity Act, or SSOA, into law, making it clear that California public schools have a responsibility to ensure that all of their students—regardless of their gender identity—can access school-based resources. While several of California’s largest school districts had already adopted gender-inclusive policies prior to the bill’s passage, many of the state’s nearly 1,000 school districts unfairly separated transgender students from their peers or required them to enroll in and attend classes that conflicted with their gender identity. The SSOA clarifies the state’s existing nondiscrimination law and protects some of the most vulnerable members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, community.

Policies and practices that misidentify or segregate transgender youth from other students contribute to the already high rates of bullying, discrimination, and harassment that transgender students face nationwide. A 2010 study by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that nearly 60 percent of transgender and gender-nonconforming students reported being bullied or assaulted in school because of their gender identity. This level of harassment and violence leads to both immediate and long-term adverse outcomes for the students, including disproportionately high rates of suicide, homelessness, and illness.

For more on this topic, please see:

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.

Explore The Series