Local student responds to overturned school bathroom mandate
CHICO, Calif. - A recent study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law found that there are nearly 150,000 transgender youths in the nation aged 13 to 17.
Many transgender youths say, at some point or another, they've struggled to be accepted by peers at school.
"I was facing weird comments in the locker room for just being who I am," said Seve Christian, who attended Red Bluff High School and identifies themself as queer.
Now a senior at Chico State University, Christian reflected on being bullied in high school.
Christian quit playing basketball in high school after feeling out of place.
"I was forced to kind of give it up just because I didn't want to be the weird person on the team."
An activist for the LGBTQ community, Christian serves as the Trans Program Coordinator for Chico State's Gender and Sexuality Equity Center (GSEC). Through GSEC, Christian helps transgender students feel comfortable on campus and fights for causes deemed important to the transgender community.
This week the Trump administration overturned guidelines from the Obama era concerning transgender students' bathroom use.
Last year the Obama administration stated that federally funded schools must allow students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity, regardless of the gender they were assigned at birth.
President Trump says this issue should be left states to decide
The national debate is polarizing. A Quinnipiac poll from 2016 shows 56 percent of Americans oppose a bathroom mandate in public schools.
Parents around the nation saying they're concerned about their children's safety and privacy.
"I do think that people of the opposition are very well intentioned," Christian said. "For those folks, I genuinely plead with them to just take a second and at least try to understand where trans people are coming from."
Christian says trans people are more likely to be bullied or harassed in bathrooms than non-trans people are.
Another study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law found that 70 percent of the transgender people surveyed said they were harassed in or denied access to a restroom.