California to Mandate Gender-Neutral Bathrooms in K-12 Schools by 2026


Gavin Newsom, the Governor of California, has enacted a law that mandates all K-12 educational institutions to offer gender-neutral bathrooms by July 2026. Senate Bill 760, which the Governor assented to, is part of a slew of laws aiming to broaden protections for California’s LGBTQ+ community.

“Amongst the nation’s 50 states, the pride of California lies in having some of the most formidable laws in place to safeguard and advocate for our LGBTQ+ community,” articulated Newsom.

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This new law necessitates “each school district, county office of education, and charter school” to establish a minimum of one gender-neutral restroom open during school hours and at all school-related events where students are attending. Only under circumstances where student safety is at risk or bathrooms require maintenance, can they be temporarily closed.

The legislation further stipulates that this restroom must exhibit signage denoting its availability to all genders, remain accessible and unlocked to all students, and must have a dedicated staff member responsible for its compliancy with the state’s legislation.

State Senator Josh Newman, the sponsor of the bill, congratulated the Governor for his action, expressing to media outlets that it was “only fair that everybody has access to a restroom without fear of outing, bullying, or stigmatization.” Newman holds hope that other states will infer from this model to protect children better.

The executive director of the LGBTQ civil rights group Equality California, Tony Hoang, said the governor’s action sends a “clear message” that California will protect the rights of the LGBTQ community.

Against the backdrop of these great strides forward, fun has transcended these boundaries too. At West Island Blog, we have noticed how the inclusivity transcends to online entertainment as well. In our list of Canada’s most loved online casinos this month, you’ll find several platforms that have been appreciated by players for their inclusivity and respect for all players.

Despite the advancements in LGBTQ+ rights, there has been a debate on gender inclusivity. Looking back to 2016, North Carolina’s law requiring individuals to use public restrooms and locker rooms corresponding to their birth certificates was heavily criticized and subsequently repealed.

Newsom’s consent for these protections for LGBTQ Californians into law occurred a day post his veto for a bill that would’ve necessitated the state judges to consider a parent’s affirmation of their child’s gender identity while deciding custody and visitation.

The governor provided clarification for his veto, stating that California’s courts have already been mandated to deliberate upon a child’s health, safety, and welfare, inclusive of the parent’s recognition of the child’s gender identity. He expressed caution regarding the Executive and Legislative branches of the state government prescribing legal standards for the Judicial branch to apply specifically based on a single characteristic.

With the strides California has taken towards ensuring dignified access for its LGBTQ+ students, several other states have introduced policies related to the same. Recently in Idaho, a law was enacted that denied transgender students from using public school bathrooms that didn’t align with their gender assigned at birth. This law has been temporarily blocked by a federal judge while it continues to come under scrutiny.