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Pat Cordova-Goff made history Tuesday when she became one of the first transgender athletes ever to compete in California athletics as a girl. She played for Azusa High School in a softball game and played two innings. She had been genetically identified as a boy by the hospital; however, she had always seen herself as a girl. She was one of the first people to benefit from AB 1266, passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. It allows transgender athletes to compete without discrimination. For her, breaking barriers is nothing new.

Cordova-Goff came out as transgender as a sophomore in high school, and now she colors her lips with a deep fuchsia hue and perks her eyelashes with mascara. She listens to Alicia Keys and Beyoncé and says Princess Diana is her idol. Cordova-Goff takes pride in attending Azusa High School in California’s San Gabriel Valley, so she joined the cheer team before identifying as transgender and continued to perform after coming out. As a senior, she ran for student body president against a popular candidate — and won.
The bill came about partly as a result of a massive lawsuit filed by the US Departments of Justice and Education against another California school that denied the right for a transgender athlete to compete.
In one high-profile discrimination complaint in the San Gabriel Valley that had to be resolved by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice last year, a transgender boy had been denied the use of sex-specific facilities for male students during school and extracurricular activities and was not permitted to stay overnight in a boys’ cabin during a school-sponsored academic camp.

Unfortunately, there are certain people who wish to fight back against the tide of history, just like when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier for Major League Baseball in 1947. The Pacific Justice Institute, classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, attempted to spearhead a petition drive to overturn it.

The effort, however, fell short. The California Secretary of State threw out over 100,000 signatures, leaving the Pacific Justice Institute and their allies below the 500,000 voter threshold required to place initiatives on the ballot. Supporters of this petition claimed that it was a matter of protecting the majority against the minority. But what they don't understand is basic civics -- the whole purpose of our Constitutional system of law was to protect the minority against the tyranny of the majority. Basic human rights are not a popularity contest; they are written in our Constitution.

Dean Welliver (17), a transgender male, said in the article that it was about basic fairness.

"I lived every day of my life as a boy, and then to have to go to school and use the girl's bathroom and the girl's facilities, that's just too painful," Welliver said. "This is just making sure that all students can go to school and have the same opportunities to succeed and participate."
For Cordova-Goff, there are days when it can be overwhelming. From the Al-Jazeera article:
For Cordova-Goff, playing softball is a tradition. “This sport has kind of defined what my family is about,” she said. When her father wasn’t coaching, he would take Pat and her three sisters to a nearby field and practice drills until they were exhausted. Now the chance to compete has come at a cost.

“There are a lot of days where I’m so over everything,” she said of critical or derogatory comments in news stories and on social media. “But I try to remember the bigger picture and the reason I’m on the field.”

The local paper carried the story and notes that the school has been very supportive.
Cordova-Goff, who has identified as transgender since her sophomore year of high school, said Assembly Bill 1266’s passing allowed her to return to a sport she loves, surrounded by teammates with which she feels comfortable. The Associated Student Body president and 4.0 grade-point average student said she also has felt supported by her principal and the Azusa Unified School District, such as when she established the school’s first Gay-Straight Alliance club and when she ran for homecoming queen in September.

“We have policies about nondiscrimination based on race, religion, gender, gender identity and gender expression,” Azusa Unified Superintendent Linda Kaminski said. “We take those seriously and try to implement them faithfully, and the story here is that we did that and we have had a consistent approach of trying to be fair to all students.”

The school has extra facilities that transgender athletes use if they need privacy in changing in and out of uniforms. Many questions have been raised about whether a predatory male teen could use this as a way to use the girls bathroom in order to stalk potential victims. That is a fair concern. But every school has private bathrooms if that were an issue; all schools are required to protect the privacy of all students, transgender or not. To deny certain students a basic human right out of fear that a tiny few would abuse it is the very sort of tyranny of the minority that the Pacific Justice Institute says they're against. And in fact, there is not one such case that we know of. That is similar to Ronald Reagan's "welfare queen" claim. We all know the type of person who thinks that they should not have to work and who is gaming the system to live off the government. But such people are in the small minority as compared to people who legitimately need a social safety net.

Other barriers are being broken in California as well. The state has ordered health insurance companies to remove blanket exclusions against transgender people, allowing more and more people to get the healthcare that they need. In protecting transgender people, California is ahead of the Federal Government. On Thursday, the Palm Center released a report calling for the end of transgender discrimination in the military. And the Transgender Law Center notes that a disproportionate number of sexual abuse cases against immigrants involve transgender immigrants.

Originally posted to Stop the Police State! on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 06:44 AM PDT.

Also republished by Diversity is not Disease and TransAction.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    "The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." - W.E.B. Du Bois Be informed. Fight the Police State.

    by Eternal Hope on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 06:44:12 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for posting this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    atana, Eternal Hope, rserven, pdkesq

    One of my kids identifies as transgender, although has not started transforming at school (just a little at home). I appreciate those students paving the way. As a side note, my kid has informed me transgender people do not use "transgendered" because transgender is a noun (and sometimes an adjective), but not a verb. You transition, not transgender, so you cannot be "transgendered." I had changed it to transgendered when editing college essays, and thus had to be lectured. :)

    **Electing Republicans to the government is like hiring pyromaniacs as firemen. They all just want to see everything burn to the ground.**

    by CatM on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 09:30:49 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eternal Hope

    Thanks for sharing this important story.  In these days when progress on equal treatment seems so rare it's nice to read about some places finally getting things right. :)

  •  There are limits! (0+ / 0-)

    I'm sixty-seven years old and a 19-year post-op MtF who has taken a hell of lot of estrogen.  I also compete against genetic women in a sport.  Because of hormonal and surgical changes my physique does not afford me an advantage over my fellow competitors.  That's fairness.

    A genetic male who still has testosterone coursing through the system has no business competing with or against females.  This is the problem that the yahoos have correctly whined about.  

    I fully understand Cordova-Goff's issues.  I wish her more than the best of everything in life, but come on, girl.  If your physical stature and abilities provide you with even a minor advantage you're only making it harder for those in places other than California.  Graduate, go to college, get a career that allows you to blend into the woodwork. Then you can play softball as an adult without being the girl who's different.

    TEA PARTIES: Something little girls do with their imaginary friends.
    (-6.75 -6.51)

    by flygrrl on Sat Mar 15, 2014 at 10:34:28 PM PDT

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