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Spotlight on Gender Identity as California Bans Public Funds Travel to 17 States

California added 5 more states to its travel ban following gender identity legislation in those states.
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CeCe Telfer

California Bans Travel to 17 States

On June 29, California Added 5 States to Its Banned Travel List.

Democratic Attorney General Rob Bonta added Florida, Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia to the list that now has 17 states where state employee travel is forbidden except under limited circumstances.

"Make no mistake: We're in the midst of an unprecedented wave of bigotry and discrimination in this country — and the State of California is not going to support it," Bonta said.

Florida, Montana, Arkansas, and West Virginia passed laws that prevent transgender women and girls from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity.

These lawmakers "would rather demonize trans youth than focus on solving real issues like tackling gun violence beating back this pandemic and rebuilding our economy," Bonta said.

Bill 1887 

These bans are authorized under California Bill 1887 which Prohibits State-Funded and State-Sponsored Travel to States With Discriminatory Laws. 

In AB 1887, the California Legislature determined that "California must take action to avoid supporting or financing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people." 

The travel prohibition applies to state agencies, departments, boards, authorities, and commissions, including an agency, department, board, authority, or commission of the University of California, the Board of Regents of the University of California, and the California State University. (Gov. Code, § 11139.8, subd. (b).)

Banned States

  1. Alabama
  2. Arkansas
  3. Florida
  4. Idaho
  5. Iowa
  6. Kansas
  7. Kentucky
  8. Mississippi
  9. Montana
  10. North Carolina
  11. North Dakota
  12. Oklahoma
  13. South Carolina
  14. South Dakota
  15. Tennessee
  16. Texas
  17. West Virginia

Every state in the list was a Red state in 2020.

Money Talks 

California did make an exception for revenue collection duties.

New York's Ban on North Carolina

Via Executive Order #155 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo banned state sponsored travel to North Carolina. 

That happened in 2016. And like California, it included loopholes for "necessary travel".

Largely Symbolic

This is largely symbolic of course. There is not that much genuine government business travel between states.

Most of state-to-state and especially international travel amounts to taxpayer paid junkets. 

To stop wasteful junkets, I suggest a simple remedy: Just ban it all.  But banning it all would not serve any political purpose. 

The pressure on other states is symbolic but important. California's real goal is to force corporations to follow suit.

Gender Identity 

What disturbs me most is "Gender Identity". Check out provisions of California Gender Identity Law

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(1) It will no longer be necessary to obtain a doctor’s certification in order to update the gender marker on a CA driver’s license or state ID.

(2) Instead, people seeking to update the gender marker on their ID will simply be able to self-select “male,” “female,” or “nonbinary” on the application form. (SB 179 Sections 16, 17, and 18)

Q. I was assigned male at birth, identify as nonbinary, and would prefer to have nonbinary documents but would also rather have documents that say “female” than “male.” Is it possible to change some of my documents to say “nonbinary” and others to say “female”?

A. It is definitely possible! Most likely, the simplest way to achieve this would be to (1) apply to change the gender marker on your California driver’s license, state ID, and/or birth certificate to “nonbinary,” and (2) find an understanding physician who is willing to write you a letter stating that you have had “appropriate clinical treatment for transition to female” to submit with your requests to update your Social Security records, passport, and other federal documents. Note that you do not have to have received any form of medical treatment to change the gender marker on your federal documents; writing this letter is entirely at your doctor’s discretion.

You Are What You Say You Are

I have a bit of a problem with "you are what you say you are, just find an understanding doctor" especially as described above, as does anyone with an ounce of common sense. 

At the grade or high school level, shouldn't gym showers require the right biological parts as opposed to on-demand declaration?

In practice, such issues may not arise much, but I am looking at what the law says. Separate but equal facilities is surely not the solution.

Sports is another issue. Let's look at both sides of the debate.

Runners World

Please consider The Fight for Transgender Athletes’ Right to Compete

For transgender runners, one of the biggest hurdles they’re facing is getting the general public and lawmakers to understand that they’re not out there sweeping the podiums of all (or even most) of the races they’re lining up for—they just want the chance to run.

In the latest challenge, Mississippi passed a new bill last week that bans transgender women and girls from competing in both youth and collegiate athletics. Idaho passed a bill in 2020, which was blocked by a federal judge, and South Dakota is nearing its own law. 

In response to the string of new laws on the political agenda, more than 500 collegiate athletes from across the country sent a letter to the NCAA last Wednesday, demanding that championships and events be pulled in states that have passed or are considering passing laws that effectively ban transgender women and girls from participating in sports. 

Lindsay Hecox, 20, is a sophomore at Boise State University who is part of the lawsuit challenging the Idaho bill and fighting for her right to compete on the school’s cross-country team.

“These laws diminish trans women to being just men pretending to be women, and these lawmakers have no idea about trans vocabulary and what it actually means,” Hecox told Runner’s World in 2020. “Their argument is that trans women have the same ability as cisgender men, which is not accurate. I’ve lost so much athletic ability (in my transition) and no one really thinks about that or understands that.”

Steroid Controversy

CeCe Telfer

On June 17, Transgender runner CeCe Telfer ruled ineligible to participate in U.S. Olympic trials.

Telfer, an NCAA Division II track and field champion in 2019, has been disqualified from the women’s 400-meter hurdles US Olympic Trials, the USA Track and Field said in a statement.

To be eligible for the trials in track and field, athletes must meet the requirements to be a member of the US Olympic Team, USATF said. The requirements for US Olympic teams are in the World Athletics “Eligibility Regulations for Transgender Athletes” guidelines, which Telfer has not met, the organization said.

The World Athletics guidelines state that one of the requirements to be eligible to participate in the female category at an international competition in events ranging in distances from 400 meters to a mile is that her testosterone levels must be less than 5 nanomoles per liter for a period of at least 12 months.

Let My Daughter Compete Fairly

You heard from Runners World. Here's the other side of the coin: Transgender athletes don't belong in girls' sports. Let my daughter compete fairly.

I am the mother of an elite track-and-field athlete in Connecticut. Through our attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom, my daughter, Selina Soule, and I filed suit in February with two other female athletes and their mothers to challenge Connecticut’s policy of allowing biological boys to compete in girls’ sports. Connecticut is one of at least 17 states that allow this.

Selina is among the best in the state. Currently finishing her senior year, she has set five school records so far — including an outdoor long-jump distance that had stood since 1976. Selina has high aspirations for track-and-field competition at the collegiate and professional levels.

Selina’s love for competitive track and field started when she was a little girl. By the time she was in 4th grade, Selina was winning events and advancing to state-level meets and races. There’s no question that competing for her school team has been the primary highlight of her high school experience, and her goal of earning her way to the next level would make the women behind Title IX of the Civil Rights Act proud.

Biology is what matters in sports. Boys will always have certain physical advantages over girls. That’s the reason we have women’s sports in the first place. Boys’ bodies are simply different on average: They’re bigger, stronger and faster, even if the male athlete receives hormones. Science and common sense tell us this. And so do the times at track events.

Boys with mediocre times can compete in the boys’ category and then completely dominate girls’ events just a few weeks later. I’ve already seen this happening in Connecticut. After a series of unremarkable finishes as a boy in the 2018 indoor season, the same athlete began competing — and winning — as a girl in the outdoor season that started just weeks later.

My daughter would have qualified for the New England regionals in the 55-meter dash in Spring 2019, but instead, the top two spots went to biological boys who identify as girls. She lost her chance to compete and instead had to watch from the stands.

Too many parents, coaches and authority figures are silent on this issue. Worse, young women like my daughter are being bullied and called “sore losers” or “transphobic” for simply seeking fairness in sports.

We are being bullied into silence. We must speak up in order to stop this takeover of women’s rights. This isn’t fair. Women and girls everywhere deserve a level playing field in sports.