Honoring Identities in the Classroom
AB 2315 takes on deadnaming and misgendering in California Community Colleges
On April 26, the California State Assembly Higher Education Committee heard public testimony in support of AB 2315, a bill that would honor the chosen names and pronouns of trans and non-binary students, staff, and faculty members in California community colleges. Our Executive Director, Pau Crego, worked on this bill along with Dr. Jesse Kolber, City College Professor and member of our Trans Advisory Committee. Pau shared the following statement at today’s hearing.
Dear Committee Members,
My name is Pau Crego, and I am the Executive Director of the San Francisco City and County’s Office of Transgender Initiatives. I am also part-time faculty at our local Community College, where I teach in the Health Education Department.
I am testifying before you today in support of AB 2315 because this bill is utterly lifesaving for transgender and non-binary Californians, as it affords genuine access to educational and employment opportunities to members of our community.
The sad reality is that today and every day across CCC campuses, students and employees are outed as transgender, deadnamed, harassed, and ultimately excluded from educational and employment opportunities. For transgender and non-binary people, systematic deadnaming is so harmful that we leave class and never return. Further, being deadnamed makes us targets of further violence: for instance, 22% of College or Vocational School students who are out or perceived as transgender in California are verbally, physically, and/or sexually harassed because of being transgender.
Being excluded from education and employment settings means being shut out from economic stability, because CCCs are often the only affordable and accessible way for Californians to gain the education needed to further our careers. It is not surprising, then, that our communities experience unemployment at more than three times the rate of the general population. This bill will change that.
AB 2315 will eliminate the pervasive deadnaming of trans and non-binary people in the CCC system, and ensure that all CCC campuses have a system in place that will honor students’ and employees’ correct name and pronouns, thus making campuses safer.
I am not exaggerating when I say that this bill will save lives: I have worked in the field of transgender advocacy for 16 years, and I have witnessed in my community the serious consequences of being excluded from educational and employment settings. I personally look forward to a day when trans and non-binary students, staff, and faculty of the CCC feel safe coming to class.