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Assemblymember Ward and LGBTQ Caucus Introduce Bill to Address Forced Outing Policies in Schools

For immediate release:
A transgender youth speaks at the press conference for AB 1955.

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Transgender, nonbinary, and other LGBTQ+ youth are at risk due to a recent growing trend of California school boards enacting forced outing policies. Since 2023, more than a dozen school districts have proposed and/or passed policies requiring teachers to notify parents if their child identifies as transgender or asks to be identified by a different name or pronouns while at school. These efforts have a measurable impact on the mental health of LGBTQ+ students, and can lead to a rise in bullying, harassment, discrimination, and more. The California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus and Assemblymember Chris Ward (D-San Diego) has introduced AB 1955: Support Academic Futures and Educators for Today’s Youth Act (SAFETY Act) to ensure all students have a safe and supportive environment to learn, regardless of their gender identity.

“Teachers should not be the gender police and violate the trust and safety of the students in their classrooms,” said Assemblymember Chris Ward. “Parents should be talking to their children, and the decision for a student to come out to their family members should be on their own terms. The SAFETY Act simply ensures that conversations about gender identity and sexuality happen at home without interference from others outside of the family unit.”

If signed into law, the SAFETY Act will do three things: Prohibit school districts from implementing forced outing policies, provide resources for parents and students to navigate conversations around gender and identity on their own terms, and ensure teachers or school staff are not retaliated against for refusing to forcibly out a student. Since 2020, six states have passed laws requiring school staff to forcibly out transgender students, while five states have passed legislation promoting the outing of transgender students in school. California would be the first state to explicitly prohibit forced outing policies in schools.

“School campuses should be safe places for students to learn and grow as their authentic selves,” said Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman, Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus. “The SAFETY Act is a critical piece of legislation that seeks to protect everyone on school campuses, especially LGBTQ+ students. When and how a person comes out is a conversation that should be reserved for a student and a parent, not arbitrarily forced on unsuspecting youth by a school administration.”

While homes may not always be a safe haven for transgender youth, schools should be. According to a 2024 Trevor Project survey, less than 40% of transgender and nonbinary youth say that their homes are LGBTQ-affirming. The survey also found that more than half of transgender and nonbinary young people found their school to be gender-affirming, and those who did reported lower rates of attempting suicide.

The SAFETY Act is anticipated to be heard in the Senate Education Committee next week. 


“Our schools should be safe havens for all students, not places where some are marginalized for simply being who they are,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Amidst the growing assault on LGBTQ+ rights in California and across the nation, it's crucial that schools take the necessary steps to create an environment where every student feels valued and affirmed for who they are. The SAFETY Act reaffirms students’ constitutional and statutory rights and makes it clear that forced outing policies and any form of retaliation against teachers, parents, and allies are a clear violation of our state’s constitution. As we continue to reinforce California’s commitment to provide safe and inclusive educational spaces that uphold the rights of all students, we urge the legislature to enact this landmark legislation into law to ensure no student is ever forcibly outed against their will, especially when such disclosure could result in serious harm.”

“All of our students deserve to be safe at school in order to learn and thrive,”
said State Superintendent Tony Thurmond. “AB 1955 protects our LGBTQ youth from increased risk of bullying and harassment, and it affirms families’ ability to handle family matters at home, without school employees being forced to intervene. The SAFETY Act will allow our teachers to focus on teaching academic skills, not on policing gender identity.”

"Every California student deserves to feel safe and supported at school,”
said Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang. “The SAFETY Act will support parents and youth working towards family acceptance on their terms, protect LGBTQ+ students from isolation and bullying, and provide critical safeguards to prevent retaliation against teachers and school staff who foster a safe and supportive school environment for all students. The SAFETY Act is essential and timely to ensure that LGBTQ+ and ALL California students are safe at school.”

“Under California law, schools are required to support and affirm LGBTQ+ students, which includes addressing students by the name and pronouns that match their identity and respecting their decisions about coming out,” said Becca Cramer-Mowder, legislative advocate at ACLU California Action. “By targeting transgender and nonbinary youth, forced outing policies violate state and federal anti-discrimination and privacy laws. The SAFETY Act strengthens existing protections that ensure that all California students are safe and treated fairly at school.”

“Had I not had a single supportive adult in my life, I never would have been able to find the strength to come out to my family, or to teach them what I had learned about who I am on my own,” said Kai, a Northern California-area LGBTQ+ youth. “Please don’t let another child endure the consequences of that support system being taken away due to forced outing policies. That’s why I support AB 1955.”

"As the Executive Director of TransFamily Support Services and parent of a transgender youth, I am proud to support AB 1955, the SAFETY Act,” said Kathie Moehlig. “This vital legislation strengthens protections for LGBTQ+ students, ensures families can work towards acceptance on their own terms, and safeguards educators fostering inclusive environments. Together, we are building safer, more supportive schools for all students."

“Educating children works best with engaged parents and caring teachers working together to create a safe space for all children to learn,” said parent, former teacher, and Our Schools USA co-founder Kristi Hirst. “Forced outing policies harm children, condemn taxpayer dollars to be wasted on attorneys, and do nothing to improve public education in our state or across the country.”