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Date archive for: November 2013

Transgender Students

A new California law will allow K-12 public-school students to use restrooms and join sports teams based not on their sex — but on their gender identity. That means that starting January 1, transgender students who are biologically male will be allowed into girls’ bathrooms and those who are biologically female will be welcome on football teams and in boys’ locker rooms.

So, naturally, some folks are freaking out.

Signed by Governor Brown in August, the School Success and Opportunity Act is the first of its kind in the U.S. But a group called Privacy for All Students has gathered thousands of signatures hoping to bring the issue to a public vote — and ultimately overturn the law. They say it’s unfair to regular guy-guys and girl-girls to have to share their facilities and, I don’t know, bonding zones with someone who has differently shaped private parts.

This particular fight centers around urinals and communal showers, but the transgender rights movement neither begins nor ends at plumbing. It’s happening on Dancing with the Stars, where Chaz Bono cha-cha-cha’d; and in the U.S. Army, where Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning reinvented himself as Chelsea; and in the Girl Scouts, where a Colorado troop’s decision to allow a 7-year-old transgender child to join its ranks inspired a cookie boycott; and in the Miss Universe pageant, where a transgender Canadian contestant won the right to compete in 2012; and so on, and so on.

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Best Part of Parenting: The Music

First smile. First steps. First day of school.

Certain moments in the parenting canon are aggrandized as monumental milestones that justify all the emotional trials of ushering infants into childhood and children into adulthood. You know the ones:

Learning to read. Hitting the home run. Passing the driver’s test.

And they’re all great; don’t get me wrong. But there’s another transcendent moment that no one ever talks about — and it’s so good that if you don’t have kids, you should consider getting some just so you can experience it.

It’s the moment when you discover that your kids dig your music. Not just recognize it or tolerate it, but genuinely love some of your favorite songs. When you happen upon them listening to the Isley Brothers while doing their homework, or singing Amy Winehouse as they unload the dishwasher, or blasting Bowie from the family iPod during a road trip — and not groaning and saying that they meant to click Bowling for Soup.

Those moments flood me with joy like a garden hose filling up a plastic backyard wading pool. Only much, much faster because those things take freaking forever. Why should it matter so much to me that we hanker for the same harmonies, throb to the same rhythms?

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