During September of this year, the state of California passed Assembly Bill 1266, which was designed to allow students to use restroom facilities associated with the gender with which they identify and not the one they were necessarily born with. Within a month of it passing, a conservative religious group called “Privacy for All Students” announced that they intend to repeal the law with the help of the local Republican Party and other conservative organizations like the Capitol Resources Group and the Watchmen Ministry.
“Clearly the California Republican Party understands that AB 1266 is a threat to the privacy and safety of public school students throughout California,” said Gina Gleason of Christian group The Watchmen Ministry. “Forcing boys and girls to share bathrooms, showers and locker rooms will not decrease bullying. It is bullying.”
Yeah, yeah, it’s “bullying” as soon as you don’t get your way anymore.
Now, I admit that when it comes to exactly how to handle transgender / generic LGBT issues in the context of sharing restrooms, dorm rooms, etc., I’m a little lost. Speaking as a heterosexual cisgender male, I can’t say I speak from any useful frame of reference. This means that when issues like these come up, I tend to leave the solution to the discretion of psychologists, sociologists, and LGBT advocates. If it’s one way I know I’m taking the sane and rational approach, it’s when evangelical groups with a history of homophobia and bigotry start complaining about it.
Helping this process along is the fact that the president of Privacy for All Students is Frank Schubert, the mouthpiece for the National Organization for Marriage. ‘Nuff said.
Speaking of people complaining, it would seem that Jelly Belly chairman Herman Roland Sr. has a strong enough opinion on this issue that he donated $5,000 to help fund the repeal of AB1266 as well. For the record, I think this entire situation is newsworthy, not just the fact that the Jelly Belly chairman jumped on the bandwagon. It’s just the first I heard about it all, so I thought I’d add it in for good measure. I also wonder if this going public will make his company go the way of Chik-fil-A and Barilla and end up being put in the crosshairs of progressive organizations for its views on LGBT rights. That $5,000 investment might end up losing him a lot more in the long term.