Parental Rights and Gender Identity Policies in California

Protect Kids California

Let me address a political issue in California that touches on parental rights, gender identity, and the democratic process.

California’s Stance on Gender Identity

Under the leadership of Governor Gavin Newsom, California has been at the forefront of policies that endorse transgender identity. Critics like myself argue that these policies infringe upon parental rights, compromise fairness in women’s sports, and harm the long-term health of children.

Direct Democracy in Action: Ballot Initiatives

In response to these policies, a coalition named “Protect Kids California” has taken a direct approach to challenge them. They’ve filed three ballot initiatives for the November 2024 ballot. These initiatives aim to:

  • Ensure schools notify parents if their children identify as transgender.
  • Prevent biological males from participating in women’s sports and accessing women’s spaces.
  • Prohibit medical professionals from administering experimental drugs or surgeries to minors to affirm a gender identity different from their biological sex.

‘The Advocates’ Perspective

Jonathan Zachreson, a spokesperson for Protect Kids California, emphasizes the importance of parental involvement in children’s lives. He argues that the current legislative approach does not adequately represent the people’s wishes.

Polls suggest that a significant majority of Californians support parental notification in schools and restrictions on medical interventions for minors.

We have legislators and institutions taking advantage of vulnerable children and busy parents. 

Jonathan Zachreson

The Legal Landscape

Recent laws and bills in California have further ignited this debate. For instance:

  • In 2022, Newsom signed SB 107, declaring California a “trans refuge state.” This law allows California courts to reassign custody of children seeking gender-affirming care from other states.
  • The California Senate is considering AB 957, which could label parents as abusive if they don’t affirm their child’s preferred gender identity.
  • The state’s education code allows students to access facilities and programs consistent with their gender identity.

You can read more about AB 957 in this post.

The Ballot Initiatives in Detail

  • Protect Children from Reproductive Harm Act: This initiative aims to protect children from experimental medical interventions related to gender transition. It cites concerns about the FDA’s stance and practices in other countries.
  • School Transparency and Partnership Act: This initiative emphasizes the importance of parental rights, arguing that parents should be informed about significant changes related to their child’s gender identity at school.
  • Protect Girls’ Sports and Spaces Act: This initiative seeks to ensure fairness in women’s sports and maintain the privacy and safety of students in sex-segregated spaces.

The Road Ahead

While these ballot initiatives offer a direct way for Californians to voice their opinions, they face challenges. They need over half a million certified signatures to even appear on the ballot. Additionally, the state’s Democratic attorney general, Rob Bonta, who will draft the title and summary for these initiatives, might oppose them.

This issue underscores the complexities of balancing individual rights, parental rights, and societal norms. Remember, the essence of democracy lies in informed discussions and the active participation of its citizens.

I encourage you all to think critically about these issues, engage in respectful discussions, and always stay informed.

California Senator Scott Wiener, a member of the LGBTQ Caucus, weighs in on Parent’s Rights.

Colin Wright responds.

Most parents agree with Wright.


The School Choice Landscape Has Changed

In a recent episode of the 10 Blocks podcast, hosted by City Journal, Mene Ukueberuwa and Brian C. Anderson delve into the growing trend of school choice programs across the United States. These programs, which include school vouchers and education savings accounts, have been gaining traction, particularly in the last few years.

Ukueberuwa explains that the political will for such programs has been building, and since 2022, several states have passed universal school choice programs. These programs allow all students in the state to potentially pursue a private education outside of the traditional public school system. This is a significant shift in the education landscape.

The demand for these programs has been incredibly high, driven by a combination of factors. Public school enrollment was already decreasing from 2020 to 2022, largely due to school closures during the pandemic. Parents were looking for alternatives to traditional public schools, which were perceived as underperforming and slow to reopen. 

Another reason for the shift is because the pandemic exposed parents to the teaching methods and curricula used in public schools. Many parents were dissatisfied with what they perceived as radical pedagogies (gender ideology) and a lack of seriousness and expertise among teachers. This dissatisfaction, coupled with a desire to align their children’s education with their values, has driven many parents towards private schools, particularly those with a religious mission.

The way these programs work is by attaching a portion of the per-pupil public funding to the child. If parents decide to send their child to a private school, that money is subtracted from the funding that would go to the student’s public school and follows them to their new school of choice.

Ukueberuwa highlights Florida as one of the first states to make vouchers available to a wide proportion of students. Today, about 13% of all students in Florida are enrolled in private schools, an increase of about 30% from five to ten years ago. This growth can be attributed to the availability of approximately $8,700 per student for private school tuition.

The podcast also discusses the impact of these programs on traditional public schools. While some fear that the voucher programs could lead to declining funding for public schools, Ukueberuwa explains that states have tried to compensate by increasing teacher pay and substituting additional state funding for certain programs at these schools.

While school choice has become a popular cause among Republican candidates, conservatives are wary of expanding the role of the federal government in education. They fear that federal funding for private schools would come with strings attached, potentially limiting the freedom and flexibility that make school choice programs appealing in the first place. So they would prefer to keep it a local issue.

Even though there will be difficulties, in some states the educational landscape is changing for the better. Parents, through their legislators, are taking back control.

Check out the podcast for more information.


Defining Sex Precisely: Return To Normal

I just read an excellent article by Jay Richards: Why States Must Define Sex Precisely.

He argues for a return to the biological understanding of sex, rejecting the subjective notions of gender ideology. Also, he calls for precise legal definitions of sex that are rooted in biology and that can withstand the ideological pressures of the current age.

The once uncontested definitions of “male” and “female” are now under siege due to the growing influence of gender ideology. This ideology seeks to redefine sex in federal laws and regulations to include “gender identity,” a move that threatens to undermine all preexisting legal references to sex.

Among other things, this blog has pointed out that Title IX advancements in the area of Women’s Sport has been negatively impacted by this move.

Legal Matters

Richards criticizes the vague and general definitions of sex proposed by some state legislators, arguing that they fail to provide a clear distinction between males and females.

Vague legal definitions create openings for gender ideology to gain a toehold.

He highlights the need for precise definitions of sex in state law, citing the ongoing debate in Montana as an example.

As I have done on this blog, Richards criticizes the misuse of disorders of sexual development, often mislabeled as “intersex” conditions, to argue for the existence of more than two sexes or fluidity of sexes. He points out that these disorders occur in a minuscule percentage of the population and do not justify the claims of gender ideology.

The main way gender ideologues have confused the public is by falsely claiming that disorders of sexual development, often mislabeled “intersex” conditions, prove that there are more than two sexes—or that the sexes are somehow fluid or mere endpoints on a spectrum.

Rather these conditions are disorders…

For instance, we know that humans are bipeds—that they naturally have two legs. But if a child is born without one or both legs, do we conclude that the newborn isn’t human, is a member of another species, or is “interspecies”? Of course not. We recognize that the child suffers from some sort of disorder—some disruption in development involving, say, chromosomes or an event in utero. Note that we’re engaged in counterfactual reasoning. We infer that the newborn would have had two legs except for some event or abnormality that prevented this from happening.

The article concludes by advocating for precise definitions of sex that capture the central concept of biological sex, account for normal development and disorders, and accommodate different stages of development. For example:

A human female is, minimally, a member of the human species who, under normal development, produces relatively large, relatively immobile gametes—ova—at some point in her life cycle, and has a reproductive and endocrine system oriented around the production of that gamete.

For the discussions ahead, legislative or otherwise, learn these arguments!

Companion Post


Sex Matters