School bathroom concerns brought to light

Posted at 3:07 PM, May 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-13 20:45:34-04

Friday Cal State Bakersfield hosted their 8th Annual Gender Matters Symposium, just hours after the Department of Education and Justice issued guidelines to ensure transgender students have a non-discriminatory environment.

Here in California, legislation has been in effect since August of 2013 that explicitly states, "A pupil shall be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records."

23ABC reached out to the Bakersfield City School District, the Kern HIgh School District and both CSUB and Bakersfield College.

Bakersfield City School District issued this reply:

"BCSD is in compliance with California state law  under AB 1266, which went into effect in 2014 and mandates that students in public K-12 schools have the right to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities based on their self-perception, regardless of their birth gender.”

Kern High School District said they were also in accordance with the law, saying, "The Kern High School District has not had any issues regarding the transgender bathroom or locker room law."

Technically schools only have to be supportive.

Jai Bornstein transitioned from a man to a woman and is a freshman at CSUB. "I would prefer a gender neutral or gender inclusive bathroom. I feel like that's less segregating than you have to go in this box or that box," Bornstein said.

Bornstein is studying Child, Adolescent and Family Studies and wants to help children going through transition.

Bornstein said she knew at a young age which gender she identified with and waited to transition until high school, because of her support system. 

"I couldn't have done it without my sisters and my closest friends. They're my rock," Bornstein said.

Some parents of local elementary school students spoke with 23 ABC off camera and said they felt private parts should determine what bathroom a child goes into.  Those parents said they didn't want to speak on camera because they feared a backlash.

Bornstein said that puts people like her in a dangerous situation, and wants people to be more open and loving toward the transgender community.