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Racial Justice and Social Equity

Proposed state law aims to prevent schools from 'outing' LGBTQ+ students

New legislation announced Wednesday in Sacramento would prevent school districts across the state from telling parents their students identify as LGBTQ+ to avoid what supporters of the legislation describe as “forced outing.”

The California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, including Assemblymember Chris Ward (D-San Diego), introduced Assembly Bill 1955: Support Academic Futures and Educators for Today’s Youth Act (or the SAFETY Act) to "ensure all students have a safe and supportive environment to learn, regardless of their gender identity."

Why it matters

The debate over whether schools should disclose a child's transgender identity to parents has sparked heated discussions in school boards and courtrooms in the last year. The clash is between parental rights and a child's right to privacy.


Earlier this month, the Lakeside Union School District Board of Trustees approved a new parent’s bill of rights that gives parents greater access to their children’s education.

“Parents inherently possess the right to raise their children and have the authority over their decisions and lifestyles; sending children to school is a partnership with parents and schools," Trustee Ron Kasper said.

State Senator and Chairperson of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) does not see it that way.

"We’ve seen the vitriol in our local school boards," she said. "We’ve seen the chaos from that. We’re saying it’s time to step back from the chaos and focus on what’s most important and that is the safety of our kids."

Sam Moehlig (he/him) with his mother Kathie Moehlig (she/her), founder and executive director of Trans Family Support Services in this undated photo. <br/><br/>
Kathie Moehlig (she/her)
Sam Moehlig (he/him) with his mother Kathie Moehlig (she/her), founder and executive director of Trans Family Support Services in this undated photo.

Kathie Moehlig is a San Diego mother and has advocated for her transgender son, Sam since he came out to her at age 11. Sam was assigned female at birth and later transitioned. He is now 23.


His mother is the founder and executive director of the TransFamily Support Services organization, which is based in San Diego County.

 “The youth deserve the space to be able to share this information with their family in the time that is right for them, and these forced outing policies take that right away and inject school board members into families' very intimate experiences," she said.

On the other hand, the group Protect Kids California is working on a fall ballot initiative that would limit the rights of transgender students dubbed “Restricts Rights of Transgender Youth.” The bill would requires parental notification if a student identifies as transgender, bans gender-affirming care for minors, and imposes restrictions on students identifying as a gender other than what they were assigned at birth.

By the numbers

  • Protect Kids California is trying to meet a May 28 deadline to collect 550,000 signatures to qualify for the fall ballot. The group has raised just over 200,000 signatures as of April 22, organizers said.
  • A 2020 Trevor Project study found transgender and non-binary youth are 2 to 2.5 times more likely to experience depression and suicidal thoughts or attempts than their cisgender LGBTQ+ peers.

Looking ahead

At a press conference organized to announce AB1955, Kai, a student who identifies as a transgender man and uses he/they pronouns, highlighted what's at risk for students.

“Of my queer friends each one has attempted suicide at least one time before graduation from high school because of the homophobic/transphobic hate. I have too,” he said.

Next week, the SAFETY Act is expected to be heard in the State Senate Education Committee.


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