LGBTQ+ groups, lawmakers rally at Capitol amid fight over rights of trans students, parents

Democratic lawmakers joined LGBTQ+ rights organizations on the steps of the Capitol for their annual advocacy day. The event coming as the battle over the rights of transgender students and parents continues to escalate. "We are on the right side of history, and we will not back down until all students feel safe and supported when they’re at school," said Assemblymember Chris Ward (D-San Diego). 

Lawmakers discussed proposed legislation to protect members of the LGBTQ community, especially transgender youth. "This community, time and time again, when we’ve been under attack," said State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco).  "We have stood up and said no, not on our watch." 

On the steps of the Capitol Monday afternoon, a group of conservative parents, calling themselves ‘Protect Kids California," and a few Republican lawmakers held their own news conference. "We’re a collection of parents and young adults protecting kids from dangerous and unproved policies and ideology," said Jay Reed. 

The group announced three proposed ballot initiatives they want to take to voters. They include: 

  • Blocking transgender girls from competing in girls’ sports programs
  • Blocking transgender minors from gender-affirming medical care
  • Requiring school officials to notify parents if their child changes their gender identity

"Who gets to raise our kids, who gets the raise the next generation of students in the state of California?" asked Assemblymember Bill Essayli (R-Riverside). "Is it the government or their parents? "

The dueling rallies follow the filing of a lawsuit by Attorney General Rob Bonta. He’s suing the Chino Valley Unified School District over its own parental notification policy. "This policy is destructive, it's discriminatory and its downright dangerous," said Bonta. 

The board recently passed the policy during a raucous hearing where State Superintendent Tony Thurmond battled with board president Sonja Shaw. This week, she blasted Bonta’s lawsuit and defended the district’s move. "This is just another thing to put a safeguard in place and bring the parent back in their picture," said Shaw. "So they’re aware of it and be there for their children." 

Bonta filed the lawsuit with the San Bernardino County Superior Court. 

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