SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A new law gives transgender students more rights at state public schools.
The new law allows public school students to chose whether they want to be identified as a boy or girl. It means students will be able to choose sports teams, bathrooms and even the locker room of their choice. Many transgender students applaud the law.
"I'm transgender myself and I had to miss classes and programs because of my identity. And no student should have to lie about themselves in order to get all the credits they need to graduate," said Eli Erlick.
David Selberg, executive director of the Pacific Pride Foundation said the law is needed in our schools.
"It protects transgender youth who are so many times harassed. Suicide rates are so much higher in this community and this bill helps protect them," he said.
But opponents have been vocal about the bill. In fact, thousands of petitions were recently delivered to Gov. Jerry Brown's doorstep. And, some parents worry about what the law means for their children at school.
"(My daughter is) going to be at a K-8 school. She could potentially have a 14-year old boy walking in on her in the bathroom. I don't understand how we're protecting all the children, said Ruth Davis.
Santa Barbara Unified School District administrators just heard the bill was signed into law.
"There's a lot of conversations that still need to be had. Because that's what the bottom line is making sure students feel safe, secure and comfortable in their environments," said Santa Barbara School District Spokesperson Barbara Keyani.
The law takes effect Jan. 1.