California law lets transgender students choose restrooms, sports teams

Calif. law allows transgender students to pic... 02:15

Parents in California have a lot of questions today about a new lawthat allows school children who identify themselves as transgender to use restrooms and join sports teams according to whichever gender they choose. The student only has to say he or she is more comfortable as a member of the opposite sex.

18-year-old Logan Henderson, who is transgender. CBS News

Eighteen-year-old Logan Henderson just graduated from Santa Monica High School. He was born female.

"It is a unisex name," he said. "I was born with that name, which I've been very fortunate to do. So I didn't have to change my name at all, which I'm really happy about. Saved some money."

He started taking male hormones and began living as a male when he entered high school. But it wasn't easy.

"I just never used the bathroom during school," he told CBS News. He said he did not feel comfortable in either the boys' or girls' bathroom.

"I wasn't sure I'd be safe," he said, "so I didn't do it."

New legislation in California will allow students who identify themselves as transgender to use restrooms and join sports teams according to the gender they choose.

Brad Dacus, founder of the Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative legal foundation, said it was a mistake.

"This legislation is so extreme and unbalanced in that here you have girls in the locker room taking their showers and yet you have a boy who could come in there, undress, be naked at the same time," he said.

Added Dacus: "This allows a large male to play on the girls' wresting team," he said. "Now this is a high touch, high impact sport. This is going to cause many girls to feel violated when you have wrestling -- a male wrestling a female."

Lawsuits are expected before the law takes effect on January 1st. Supporters say school systems in Los Angeles and San Francisco have been operating under similar rules for years with no problems and that transgender students need the help.

Logan Henderson said he had been making the best of the situation.

"I've been very fortunate," he told CBS News.

The number of transgender students is small but not insignificant. Of the 55,000 students in the San Francisco school district, about 350 identifying themselves as transgender.

  • John Blackstone
    John Blackstone

    From his base in San Francisco, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone covers breaking stories throughout the West. That often means he is on the scene of wildfires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and rumbling volcanoes. He also reports on the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley and on social and economic trends that frequently begin in the West.